Shingle Lifespan 101: When to Replace vs. Repair

Your roof is more than just a hat for your house; it is the ultimate protector against the elements of your home. Unfortunately, roofs cannot last forever; eventually, they will fall against the tides of time. In this case, as a homeowner, you have an essential decision to make – shingle replacement or roof repair. Today, we will walk you through the concept of shingle lifespan and the best way to navigate the decision-making process between shingle replacement and roof repair. 

shingle types and lifespans RoofMaxx of Tri-Cities

Common Shingle Types and Lifespans

While there are a variety of roofing materials, like clay and metal, today, we are focusing on the types and lifespans of asphalt shingles. With asphalt shingles, there are three primary types. 

#1: 3-Tab Asphalt Shingles

 3-tab shingles get their names from the three tabs on each strip that allow the shingle to lay flat. They used to be the most commonly used shingle until architectural shingles came along. Today, 3-tab shingles are the cheapest option, with a lifespan of 20 years at the most. 

#2: Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are the most common shingles on the market today. They are affordable, easy to repair, and available in various colors. These shingles typically last 22-25 years, less so if your region is prone to frequent hailstorms. 

#3: Premium Shingles

Also known as luxury or designer shingles, these are the high-end shingle options designed to look more like a slate roof. Given their extra durability, they typically last 30 years or longer. 

Factors Affecting Shingle Lifespan

As with anything related to the home, various factors can affect how long your roof will last. The big three are the roof itself, the region’s climate, and weather events. 

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#1: Quality of Materials and Installation

The first aspect that will determine the longevity of your roof is the quality of the materials and the installation. Of course, cheap shingles will not last as long as premium shingles. They are simply not as thick and sturdy. As you can see in the difference between 3-tab shingles and premium shingles, the difference can mean at least a decade of lifespan. 

In addition to the material quality is how well the installation was performed. If the roof isn’t installed properly, it could lead to your shingles deteriorating quickly, along with other roof issues. 

#2: Regional Climate

Where you live will affect the lifespan of your roof. For instance, here in the Tri-Cities, we experience hot summers and cold, wet winters. These extreme temperature fluctuations force the shingles to expand and contract, leading to cracking and brittleness over time. Plus, heavy rain and snow can lead to trapped moisture, causing leaks and mold growth.

#3: Weather Events

Storms can severely impact roofing, particularly those bringing hail and high winds. Hail can dent or crack shingles, compromising the roof’s integrity, while strong winds may lift or even rip shingles from the roof, exposing the underlying structures to further damage. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the regional climate and weather events from affecting your roof. Plus, most homeowners buy a home with an installed roof, so they typically can’t control the materials without a complete replacement. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and wait for problems. The first step is to be aware of the signs. 

Signs You Need Shingle Replacement or Roof Repair

The first sign that a roof repair is coming is the age of your roof. If your roof is at or close to 20 years old, it’s time to start keeping an eye out. It may take years for there to be an issue, but it’s good to be aware. 

The next sign is if your roof has multiple layers of shingles. While it used to be standard practice to layer up the shingles of your roof, up to three layers, until you got a roof replacement, it is now recommended to keep it as two or less due to fire concerns. So, if you just bought a home with two or more layers, it’s likely time for a roof repair. 

For the subsequent warning signs, it’s time to get on the roof. As a homeowner, you likely have a maintenance checklist you go through throughout the year to keep your home in top condition. If you don’t already have a roof inspection on that list, now is the time to add it. We suggest performing quarterly inspections yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. In addition, you should get a roof inspection performed by a professional once a year. During your inspections, here are the signs to be aware of. 

missing roof shingle RoofMaxx of Tri-Cities
  • Missing or loose shingles
  • Cracked or curling shingles
  • Granule loss on shingles, noticeable in gutters and downspouts
  • Visible signs of sagging or uneven roof lines
  • Water stains or leaks in the attic or ceiling
  • Damaged or missing flashing around chimneys, vents, and skylights
  • Moss, algae, or mold growth indicating moisture retention
  • Punctures or holes from storm damage or wildlife
  • Exposed or rusted nail heads
  • Clogged or damaged gutters and downspouts affecting water drainage

When to Replace vs. Repair?

If you notice any of these signs, it is time to decide between shingle replacement and roof repair

Shingle replacement is typically the best option for minor damage, such as missing, curled, or damaged shingles. If you have just a few patches where your roof needs a little TLC, this can fix the problem without high costs. 

On the flip side, if your roof has experienced extensive damage or is beyond repair, a roof repair and replacement may be the only viable option. As a homeowner, you can expect to do this about every 20 to 30 years. 

However, there is a middle-ground option. If your shingles are starting to show signs of aging but still have some life left in them, and your roofing structure hasn’t sustained extensive damage, opting for a roof repair combined with the RoofMaxx Treatment could be your ideal solution.

The RoofMaxx Treatment is a revolutionary, eco-friendly application designed to rejuvenate aging shingles. By deeply penetrating the shingles with all-natural bio-oil, this treatment restores their flexibility, enhances their waterproofing capabilities, and extends their life by up to five years per treatment. It’s a cost-effective way to maximize the lifespan of your roof without the need for a complete replacement, bridging the gap between simple repairs and full-scale renovations.

Why Regular Maintenance is Vital for Every Homeowner

roofmaxx treatment performed by RoofMaxx of TTri-Cities professional

Being diligent about performing regular maintenance on your roof is essential to giving yourself the most significant advantage and cost savings as a homeowner. For more information on staying current with maintenance, we encourage you to check out our guide on How Can I Increase the Lifetime of My Roof Shingles.

Why Choose RoofMaxx of the Tri-Cities

If you are unsure whether you need shingle replacement, roof repair, or roof replacement, we are here to help! RoofMaxx of Tri-Cities can help you ensure that your roof stays in top condition all year long for decades to come. 

Contact us today for a free roof assessment and discover how we can extend the life of your shingles with our innovative treatment!