A close up of a shingled roof with the words, "the lifespan of shingles."

While most of us are thankful for the blessing of having a roof over our heads, we don’t usually think about what exactly that roof is composed of. It might be time to change that, though. Knowing how to pick the best shingles for your roof can help you keep it in the best shape possible. Below is an overview of the 4 most common types of shingles, as well as the qualities to keep in mind when choosing the best shingles for your needs.

1. Standard 3-Tab Shingles

When you imagine what a roof shingle looks like, you’re probably thinking of a standard 3-tab shingle. These are the most common type of shingles, likely because they are affordable and easy to install. They have an average lifespan of 15 to 18 years, depending on the climate in the area, which is an important factor to consider. While they are easy and affordable to repair and replace, they are not as resistant to the elements as architectural shingles, which means you might have to think about replacing them more often than you’d like.

2. Architectural Shingles

Like standard 3-tab shingles, architectural shingles are a type of asphalt shingle. Their lifespan is significantly longer though, ranging from 24 to 30 years. The longer lifespan can be attributed to their higher quality. They also have a strong seal between the shingles themselves, making them more weather resistant.

3. Organic/ Fiberglass Shingles

Organic and fiberglass shingles can be customized to look like other materials, such as shake or ceramic, thanks to modern manufacturing. These shingles also have a relatively long lifespan of 24 to 30 years. If you are living in an area with weather that is not kind to roofing, these shingles might be a good fit for you. They have excellent durability because they are mixed with asphalt to create a more wind-resistant and inclement weather-resistant shingle overall. However, it is important to keep in mind that they do have a higher installation cost.

4. Metal Shingles

Metal shingles are extremely temperature resistant and incredibly durable. They are mold, moss, and fire-resistant, which is perfect for withstanding pretty much any natural disaster you can think of. They have the longest average lifespan, ranging from 30 to 45 years. If you are looking for a shingle that can handle any situation and last for a long time, metal shingles are probably for you.

What Factors Affect the Life of a Shingle?

There are many different things to consider when it comes to the lifespan of a shingle.


Severe fluctuations in temperature can cause shingles to crack, buckle, or the adhesive to fail. This occurs because shingles expand in warm temperatures and contract in cooler temperatures.


Darker colors absorb light, which can result in fading over time. Brighter roof colors are better for sunnier climates as they better reflect solar energy that could affect your air conditioning expenses.

Angle of the Roof

A steeper roof angle better deflects wind and protects the shingles from direct sunlight. A steeper angle also takes better advantage of gravity to help snow and ice fall quickly to prevent too much weight from collecting.

Roof Orientation

The direction the roof faces can affect the amount of sunlight received. South-facing roofs get more sunlight than their north-facing counterparts.

Material and Installation

Understandably, cheaper materials result in a weaker roof. Poor installation can lead to significant issues down the road and can even cause the premature breaking down of materials, no matter their quality. This leaves your home susceptible to costly roof leaks that can cause significant property damage.

Ventilation of the Attic

Improper ventilation can result in heat building up underneath the roof of your home, causing larger thermal problems.

Trees Growing Nearby

Branches of trees can scrape and rub at roof shingles; they also encourage moss and mold growth. Keep trees cut back to ensure that the roof is well protected.

Shingle and Roofing Experts

It is common knowledge that replacing your roof is no easy feat. That’s why it’s important to get the job done right the first time. At Acme Roof Systems, we take pride in our work and make each of our customers our top priority. We will guide you every step of the way, making sure to answer all of your questions. Call us today to ensure your roof will stand the test of time, come rain or shine.