Shingles: How Long Do They Last?

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Homeowners care about how shingles look – but they also care about how long they last! If you want the shingle products with the best warranties and life expectancy, you need to pick the right type. Let’s talk about the most important factors to consider when choosing a shingle.

Materials

  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass shingles are a common, traditional type of shingle. The coat is created from a woven fiberglass mat, and then covered with a waterproof asphalt layer that is finally sheltered by protective granules (usually made from ceramic materials). Fiberglass shingle products remain popular because they are the most durable and tend to have the best warranties. Most homeowners can expect at least fifteen to twenty years out of these materials, depending on other factors.
  • “Organic”: Despite the name, organic shingle products aren’t exactly environmentally friendly – instead, they’re made from recycled felt paper and extra asphalt. These shingle products tend to be heavier, but they have fallen out of favor over time. Not only do they tend to cost more, but that felt core isn’t good at dealing with moisture, and it can warp or rot over time. That gives these materials a lower life expectancy than the fiberglass versions.

Common Shingles

Style

  • 3-tab: 3-tab shingle products are more traditional roofing materials defined by the tabs cut out on the bottom of each shingle. These shingles tend to all be the same shape, and lie very flat on the roof with little “overlapping” visible. They have their benefits, including a low cost for smaller budgets. However, they are also thin and have a lower life spans and lower warranty than other styles, typically lasting fifteen to eighteen years.
  • Laminate or Architectural: These shingles have a dimensional aspect and are laminated with a thicker asphalt layer. They can come in a variety of styles and tend to give rooftops a richer, more interesting appearance. They are also much thicker than 3-tab options, and are notably more durable. These shingles frequently come with 30-year warranties.

Shingle Work

Other Factors

  • Manufacturer: Warranties and life expectancy numbers will vary by manufacturer as well, so remember to compare brands if you want to learn more about shingle life spans. Finding a brand with excellent warranties and quality work is usually worth it, even if the products are more expensive.
  • Climate: The climate has a tremendous impact on how long shingles last. Hot sun in a dry climate can quickly bleach and wear out shingle products. Rooftops in particularly windy or stormy areas will also wear out more quickly. Without proper protection, seaside rooftops will degrade quickly due to salt and ocean winds. Every climate is different, and comes with its own pros and cons. In Georgia we see a lot of moisture and sub-tropical weather, which is particularly bad for organic shingles.

Photo Source: Flickr

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