How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last
Can Asphalt Shingles Last 50 Years or More? Heck Yes!
A week ago I made a decision to ratchet up my ability to save you as much money as possible in these very challenging financial times. Inflation is raging. In my opinion, it’s going to get worse. Each day I’m receiving more and more emails at my website like the one I got from Beryl about the roofs in her giant condo complex. opens in a new windowGo here to tell me what issue you’re having. I’m going to address as many as I can in future columns.
Beryl’s email was deeply troubling for a number of reasons. First, I could sense the fear in her cry for help. She said she lives in a community of seventeen free-standing two-story duplexes from what I can tell from her photos. The development was built in 1985 and the roofs were replaced in 2005 after twenty years. The current shingles on the condos have a 30-year warranty. They’re now 17 years old.
Beryl said they’re experiencing some leaks and failures not related to ice and snow. The worst part is she said the condo board is budgeting the staggering sum of $1,000,000 to replace the roofs eight years from now. Doing the math, that’s over $58,000 per building.
I only knew the city where Beryl lived and she had sent me a low-resolution photo of the buildings taken from her deck or patio. Using Google Maps in the satellite mode I was able to locate her development in less than a minute. I then used parked cars for scale and determined that each of the roofs on the buildings averaged about 85 squares or 8,500 square feet of roof area.
Taking inflation into account and what it might be eight years from now, it turns out the board’s estimate could be very accurate. It’s a mind-numbing number and imagine what kind of special assessment each condo owner will have to cough up like a bad hairball to pay for the new roofs!
How does this affect you? The odds are you have an asphalt shingle roof on your home. The vast majority of homes and small businesses in the USA use this disposable roofing material. You might wonder if it’s possible to have an asphalt shingle roof last fifty or even sixty years like the one on my friend’s house in Los Angeles. It is possible.
Beryl and her fellow condo owners may not have to spend all that money in eight years if their current roof is in great shape. They can add copper strips at the top of all the ridges on the roofs and dormers that will arrest the aging process of the shingles. While writing my opens in a new windowRoofing Ripoff exposé book five years ago, believe it or not, I was the first person in the world to discover that copper ions bond with asphalt molecules. When this happens, it prevents the asphalt molecules from cross linking using oxygen.
Cross linking makes the asphalt more brittle. When the asphalt becomes brittle, shingles start to curl and lose the granules. The colored granules are incorporated into shingles to prevent them from failing in a few years. Think of them as sunscreen like you use on your skin to prevent sunburn.
I cover all this in great detail in my short easy-to-read book. What’s more, I have the photographic proof that copper works and the feedback from three physical chemists who subscribe to my newsletter.
If you have a new asphalt shingle roof or one that’s older but in fantastic shape, you can extend its life by decades if you simply opens in a new windowinstall thin rolls of copper at the top of the roof ridges. The copper should be blind nailed as you see in the following photo so it doesn’t get destroyed by wind storms. Each time it rains, copper ions wash off the strips and bond with the asphalt that you can see in between the colored ceramic granules.
If you NEED HELP understanding how to install the copper, I do affordable phone consult calls. You can even order a transcribed and recorded call so you don't have to take notes! opens in a new windowGo here to set up a call.
The best part is the bright new copper turns a deep nut brown in about eighteen months. On low-slope roofs you can barely see the copper when standing on the ground. It’s easy to install the copper as part of a new roof installation. It’s a bit more work to install it on existing roofs in good shape where the shingles are still flexible when heated up by the sun.
You may wonder if zinc strips will do the same thing. I can’t tell you as I didn’t test zinc and the test takes about 20 or 30 years to complete. To get the maximum benefit from the copper you need at least six to ten inches of it exposed for every 25 feet of shingles that are below the copper. I had ten inches of copper exposed on each side of my daughter’s roof.
Keep in mind the copper must be exposed to direct sunlight during the day for this to work. The sun launches photons at your roof constantly and when they hit the copper at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, they dislodge the copper ions. These then get washed down the roof the next time it rains. Your roof is very important so it’s vital you do all you can to extend its life.
What can I help you with? What issues around your home worry you? What do you want me to discuss in my upcoming columns? opens in a new windowGo here and tell me.