A few decades ago, if you had a new shingle roof put on your home, you could expect that roof to last for 20 years — maybe 30 years if you lived in a mild climate and bought the absolute top-of-the-line shingles. These days, though, 30 years is about the minimum length of the warranty you'll find on roofing shingles, and it's not at all uncommon for shingles to be warranted for 40 or 50 years. So what has changed? Why do today's roofing shingles last so much longer? Well, it all comes down to some very effective innovations in the shingle industry.
Three-tab shingles were the norm for a very long time. Each big shingle slab had three tabs on its bottom. These shingles are still available, but the vast majority of the longer-lasting shingles on the market are instead architectural shingles. Architectural shingles have more tabs, and those tabs are all different sizes and are layered. This variation in sizes and positions causes water to slide more easily off the roof. It also deters ice from working its way under the shingle tabs. As a result, the architectural shingles suffer less damage over their lifespan and ultimately last a lot longer.
The adhesives and asphalt used in modern shingles are more pliable, or in other words, it bends more readily. While you might initially think you would not want your shingles to bend, this actually helps the roof last longer. Shingles that bend a little bit more are less likely to crack and break when hit with high winds. They "go with the flow" so to speak. These more pliable shingles also stand up better to branches falling on the roof and other similar impacts.
The flat base of the shingle is known as the mat. Years ago, this mat was often made from organic materials, like wood fibers mixed with recycled paper. Today, however, shingle mats are almost always made from fiberglass. Fiberglass is a waterproof material, so shingle makers do not have to put as much asphalt on top of it as they had to place on top of the organic mats. This results in lighter shingles, and lighter shingles are easier to install properly. A better installation means a longer-lasting roof. Also, if the outer layer of the fiberglass shingle wears away, you're less likely to get leaks — so you can put off that roof replacement a little longer.
Modern shingles really last, thanks to the innovations discussed above. Keep this in mind if you're going to replace your roof soon.
To learn more information, reach out to a residential roofing service near you.