How Long Does an Asphalt Roof Last?

Across the world, asphalt shingles are common roof coverings for most residential homes. When preparing for these projects, a common question we often receive is, “how long does an asphalt roof last on my home?” There are many generalizations to an asphalt roof lifespan. Most contractors will tell you a flat timeline of 12-20 years. To the average homeowner, this sounds like a very broad range. There are many factors that can influence how long an asphalt roof will last. These factors range from environment and weather to general upkeep and maintenance.

With proper care and maintenance an asphalt roof can last around 20 years. This does not consider any external factors that we will address.

Weather Factors Impacting Asphalt Lifespan


Asphalt shingled roofs are very well constructed, and meant to handle harsh weather patterns. With that being said, high winds and debris will damage your roofing system. Asphalt shingles are covered in granules that protect the shingle. Excess debris left untouched will wear away these granules. When this happens, shingles will become weakened, lessening their predicted lifespan. Also, in cases of high winds, shingles will lift and sometimes tear away from the roof deck. While these areas can be repaired, this creates watershed issues which also contributes to premature wearing of the entire system.

Finally, for homes in colder climates, ice dams hurt your roof. Newer, more modern homes do not often have this issue because they have proper roof ventilation. On older homes with poor ventilation, large pieces of ice can accumulate and impede watershed. When this happens, water seeps behind your shingles, damaging the entirety of the roofing system. It is imperative that homeowners work with quality attic ventilation contractors to prevent ice dams.

How Long an Asphalt Roof Lasts Depends on Your Environment


Similar to weather, your home’s location will also factor into your asphalt shingle lifespan. Direct sunlight can be a killer to asphalt shingles. This is not to say all sunlight negatively impacts them. Primarily, long periods of direct sun can weather and prematurely wear you shingles. On the inverse, excessive amounts of tree cover also creates issues. Much like debris from storms, trees drop sap and debris onto your roofing system. Also, in areas where the sun never dries your roof, algae will grow. Roof moss and algae are notorious killers to asphalt shingles. These two issues are also unsightly, which adds to the importance of cleaning.

There is a middle ground between too much and too little tree cover. If left uncleaned, your roof’s lifespan will decrease. Engaging in regular and proper roof cleaning and maintenance is imperative to a healthy roofing system. Homeowners should consider both fall cleanup and spring roof cleaning routines yearly to make the most out of their roofing investment.

Asphalt roofs are both convenient and functional, coming in at a much lower cost than slate. Slate roofs last much longer, but the upfront cost can be a deterrent. If you’re asking yourself, how long does an asphalt roof last, you must take many factors into account to come up with an accurate answer. Ranch Roofing has been a leader in asphalt roofing throughout the Boston area since 1996. Contact us today to set up a free estimate.