how long does a shingle roof last

A shingle roof’s average lifespan varies based on several factors. And, the longer your asphalt roof is in use, the more risk there will be of damage. For example, the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof can be significantly affected if low-grade roofing material is used during installation.

Let’s take a deeper look into the factors that impact the expected lifespan of a shingle roof.

How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?

There is no cut-and-dry answer for how long shingle roofing will last, as many factors determine its lifespan. The roof material, craft, and weather conditions in your area can all contribute to how long it will last. Getting a quality roof is important. And when installed by a reputable company, most roofs can last 15 years or more. Cheaper roofing materials will have shorter lifespans. 

Factors that Affect the Lifespan of Your Asphalt Shingle Roof

There are a few different roofing types with varying materials based on the building design, climate, and customer preference. From cedar shake shingles to slate roofs, metal roofs, and everything in between, the lifespan of your roof depends on many factors. In the case of shingle roofs, some of these factors are controllable, but outside influences such as weather can’t be predicted and often play a significant role in the total lifespan of a roof.

Understanding the type of roof you have is essential to understanding which factors affect the roof’s lifespan. Here are a few primary factors to consider: 

Weather Conditions

When strong winds and heavy rain enter your roof, it can become a costly and time-consuming issue to repair. All the weather issues described below can significantly damage your roof’s structural aspects. Repairing asphalt shingle roofs can be expensive but is well worth the investment. Having a quality roof protects against more damage and lets you save money in the long run.

roof under weather conditions


A little bit of wind doesn’t mean much, but strong windstorms can cause significant damage to your roof. A building will be more susceptible to pressure from wind at the corners. Negative pressure will raise the shingles on a roof and make it vulnerable to wind. After a strong windstorm, your building may need roof repairs.


Hail is a rare event, but it can be very hazardous to asphalt shingles. Chunks of ice of various sizes pelting your roof can do real damage. 


Rain can be one of the most dangerous weather conditions for your roof. Excess moisture causes rotting, mold and mildew growth. Unchecked, this can cause structural water damage that is expensive to repair. It can also result in airborne mold spores that make breathing difficult for those with allergies or respiratory problems.

Snow and Ice

In Kingston, Ontario, we know how extreme winter weather can be. A light dusting of snow does not impact a roof, but heavy snow that sits for days can be a problem. 

One of the biggest concerns regarding snow and ice is ice dams. Ice dams are ridges of ice forming along the roof’s edge, preventing melting snow (and water) from draining. This can create a build-up of water, leading to roof leaks as moisture builds up underneath your shingles. And if not dealt with, it could result in costly roof repairs.

shingled roof covered in snow


Places with a lot of sun will wear down a roof much faster than average. Living in Ontario, for example, we benefit from many sunny days; however, this can translate to hotter weather and a shorter roof lifespan. Direct sun can cause asphalt shingles to warp and wear out. And any plastic or metal roof components can be subject to cracking if exposed to too much sun. 

Adequate Attic Ventilation

The temperature will rise steadily if your attic is left without good ventilation during the hot and humid summer months. The sun, high humidity, and moisture can lead to shingle rot or a warped roof. Proper roof ventilation also means that you won’t risk compromising the structural integrity of your house, and your roof will last longer without needing to be replaced.

Quality of the Installation

Quality roof installation is the most critical factor in a roof’s lifespan. A homeowner can expect a roof to last its expected lifetime if installed correctly. With an improperly installed roof, it will fail prematurely. Hiring a professional roofing contractor is crucial to getting the most out of your roof.

Quality of Roofing Materials

One of the other most significant factors that affect a roof’s lifespan is the quality of the roofing material used. A reputable contractor will recommend the most durable brands and premium shingles and provide you with an estimated timeline for the roof life expectancy of a material.

Annual Roof Maintenance

single roof maintenance

One overlooked home maintenance task is roof maintenance. Regular maintenance and frequent inspections on your roof will prolong its life span. Often, roofing systems have minimal damages that are easily fixed but turn into significant damage when not addressed through annual roof maintenance. Regular maintenance from a roofing contractor can help discover failures or problems early on and save you money and time.

Direction the Roof Faces

The direction your home faces can impact the lifespan of your roof. South-facing homes receive more sunlight, whereas north-facing homes receive less. Therefore, south-facing dwellings are subject to more heat, especially on the roof, reducing their lifespan.

Signs You Need a New Shingle Roof

There are some signs that you can observe that indicate a worn-out roof. If your roof starts showing signs of disrepair or needs replacement, you may consider looking into hiring a roofing contractor. Here are some signs that you may need a new shingle roof: 

Shingle Edges are Curled or Cupped

Curling is typically caused by the asphalt in your shingles shrinking, making them brittle over time. High winds can cause these shingles to become unattached and blow off. You may be able to replace one or two shingles that are curled or cupped, but it can also mean a significant repair.

Missing Shingles

Watch out for missing shingles. A few missing shingles might not signify a serious problem, but replacing them is essential. If there are many missing shingles, this could indicate wind or water damage and old age.

Dark Stains on Shingles

Blue-green algae are the secret behind those stains and discolourations on your roofing system. This might, however, not mean much and is a concern in some instances only. The presence of the algae by itself is typically only an aesthetic concern but not a cause to worry unless there are other issues, such as leaks in the roof, that would indicate a need for service.

singled roof with discoloured spots

Signs of Mold or Rot

Roof rot can be a silent, deadly problem. It damages the roof, and the wood becomes musty. Prevent it with regular checks to ensure water isn’t penetrating your house. Roof rot can develop quickly with prolonged dampness, which significantly increases the chances that you’ll need a complete roof replacement.

Sagging or Cracking

When detecting even a slight sag, you should take action as soon as possible to minimize the damage and prevent the roof from collapsing. Often, a saggy roof can be repaired and reinforced. To preserve your roof, it’s worth hiring a professional to determine the exact cause of the sagging and take appropriate steps to correct it.

Missing Granules or Bald Spots

Shingles are a popular roofing material in Ontario. They can protect roofs from extreme heat with the granules on their surface. You may find an accumulation of the granules in your eavestrough or on the ground.

Damaged Flashing

Leaks from the roof due to defective flashing are so common that roofers focus on them. Once the flashing is damaged, it can allow water to leak into the house and damage the underlay. If you suspect your flashing has been damaged, consult a roofing professional before the damage becomes more serious.

Houses in the Neighbourhood are Getting Their Roofs Replaced

One good indication that your roof is nearing the end of its life is when you see several houses in your neighbourhood getting their roofs replaced. This is because most likely the homes in a neighbourhood would have been built simultaneously, and they experience the same weather patterns. This means that as one roof begins to fail, other neighbourhood roofs will also start to show wear.

new shingle roofs

How to Extend the Life of Your Roof Shingles

Don’t neglect your shingle roofing. You don’t want a leaking roof to cause significant water damage. Roof replacements cost a lot of money, so extending the life of your roof shingles gives you time to replace or repair your roof on your term and budget.

Traditional asphalt shingles naturally degrade over time but can last longer if taken care of properly. This includes regular roof inspection and maintenance. These are some ways that you can lengthen the lifespan of your roof:

Clean Eavestroughs

Ideally, water shouldn’t be collecting in your gutters (eavestroughs). When clogged, water can leak into other parts of your house. This may lead to leaky ceilings, compromised insulation, and homes more prone to flooding and leaks during inclement weather.

Clear Roof Debris

After a windy day, roofs can be littered with branches, leaves, and other debris. If you see any debris on your roof after a storm or high winds, check for any objects that may have punctured or damaged the shingles.

Remove Moss 

Moss on the roof can lead to problems in the long run, which is why it is essential to remove moss from your roof with a bucket of water and a scrubbing brush or scraper.

Keep Attic Ventilated

Keeping your attic well ventilated is crucial for comfort, energy savings, and maintaining the life expectancy of your roof. Roof vents should be installed at the top of your roof to keep the flow of air, ensuring proper ventilation and keeping your home cool and comfortable.

Trim Trees

While trees near the house might provide shade and be aesthetically pleasing, they also require maintenance. Trimming trees can save your roof from damage caused by falling limbs and debris accumulation.

Annual Inspection

It is important to have your roof regularly inspected, no matter how diligent. The annual inspection not only ensures you catch any issues before they can cause significant damage, but it also presents the opportunity for an expert to advise on maintenance and improvements.

Fix Damaged or Missing Shingles

Over time, cracks and missing shingles can form on your roof. Instead of replacing it entirely, a special sealant will help extend its life. Hiring a professional roofer is the best way to avoid future problems like leaks. They can also fix any leaks and protect your home from the elements.

Avoid Ice Dams

Snow and ice are prevalent during the winter, causing ice dams in areas prone to snowfall. Clear off any big pieces of ice or snow for a safer environment and ensure water keeps flowing off the roof rather than being left to pool.

Extend Your Roof’s Lifespan with Energy Kingston Exteriors

We know that your roof plays a vital role in your home and have provided the above tips to help you keep your roof in good shape. Energy Kingston Exteriors focuses on delivering the best quality roofing services at affordable prices. 

Our residential roofing maintenance and repair service will help rejuvenate any dried-out or aging shingles and give you years of protection you would expect from a new roof. If your roof is showing signs of aging and you require a new roof, contact us to see what we can do for you.