How Long Do Shingle Roofs Last and How Can You Prolong Its Useful Life?

wooden roof shingles

Various factors may influence your roof’s longevity, including its design and installation, frequency of maintenance, and the climate in your area. But perhaps the most influential of all is your roof’s material.  

There’s a wide range of roofing materials available on the market, and each has a unique lifespan. While you can try various ways to extend the useful life of your Chicago roofing, it pays to know when it will be due for a replacement. The last thing you want is to start planning and saving for a new roof when the old one is already leaky and crumbling.

Shingle roofing is arguably the most popular residential roof type in the United States. In this article, you will learn why this roof type is so appealing to homeowners, what the average shingle roof life is, and what you can do to extend its useful life. 

Common Types of Roof Shingles and Their Lifespan

When you think of shingle roofing, the first thing you imagine is asphalt shingles. That’s most likely because you’ve never seen a shingle roofing made of a different material. The truth is, there are various types of roof shingles you can explore if you want to have a shingle roof. 


Also called laminated shingle, an architectural shingle has an unusual composition. It is essentially asphalt like the 3-tab shingle because it has a water-resistant asphalt layer, but it consists of other materials that add durability to it as well. These include ceramic-coated mineral granules embedded in the asphalt and a fiberglass mat base. Here is the architectural shingle lifespan: 30 to 50 years.

3-Tab Asphalt

While there’s a significant difference in composition between architectural shingles and 3-tab asphalt shingles, they are more distinguishable by their structure. A 3-tab shingle consists of three cutouts that look like separate pieces, while an architectural shingle consists of a dimensional piece formed by laminating two shingle strips together. Here is the 3 tab shingle lifespan: 15 to 25 years.

Cedar Shake

Like a typical wooden shingle, cedar shake is a split log, but without the smooth, finished surface that a wooden shingle has. Each piece has a unique thickness and length, which gives the entire roof a distinctive appearance. Here is the cedar shingles lifespan: 15 to 20 years. 

Benefits of Roof Shingles

Each type of roof shingle has a unique set of valuable qualities. Roofing experts such as Muller Exteriors suggest that you explore these qualities first before you make a choice. Find out which one matches your home architecture, is tough enough to handle extreme weather conditions, and provides the best protection against everyday elements. 

When it comes to durability, architectural shingle takes the lead. After all, it has a much better composition than other types of roof shingles. It also looks more luxurious than typical asphalt shingle and can be manufactured to imitate other roof materials, specifically wood shake. And it’s the reason why an architectural shingle roof can be a little pricier. 

If you are looking for something less expensive, consider a 3-tab asphalt shingle. It’s the most popular of all the roof shingle types, so it’s highly likely that other houses in your neighborhood also have it. Meaning, you can easily find someone to ask if you need repair or upkeep suggestions. 

Modern roofs often look too stylish to give off that relaxing vibe you’re looking for in a home exterior. If you want roofing that boasts a countryside appeal, cedar shake is a perfect choice. It also offers excellent insulation. Should you lose a piece or two after a storm, you can find a regular wood chip with sufficient dimensions to replace them.

How to Extend the Useful Life of a Shingle Roof

Just as each shingle roofing type has its unique lifespan and perks, they also require different maintenance techniques to stay in shape for a long time. Proper maintenance helps you maximize, if not extend, the functional life of your shingle roof.

When you’re taking care of an architectural or 3-tab asphalt shingle roof, always remember that you have one of the shortest lasting roof types. With that in mind, you know that it needs more TLC than slate and tile, which are highly durable. Always make sure that your roof is free of organic debris that can rot or encourage infestation.

During each trip to the roof for inspection and maintenance, check the gutter for granules. Depending on your asphalt shingles’ quality, rainwater can wash them away quite fast. Massive accumulation of granules in your gutter could indicate that your roof is deteriorating rapidly.

In case you have cedar shake, you have a big responsibility on your shoulder. While cedar is naturally insect-repellent, it is still organic. Like any other organic material, it is at the mercy of nature. If you don’t coat and seal cedar shake properly, it will deteriorate faster than expected. Soon you’ll see molds and plants growing on it, and that’s not a good sign.

The best way to ensure that your shingle roof lasts long is to hire the right contractor. Well-seasoned roofing companies in Chicago, such as Muller Exteriors, can play a big part in your roof’s longevity. Not only will they help you choose the most durable material and get it from the country’s leading brand, but they will also install it properly and help you maintain it throughout its functional lifespan.


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