How Long Does an Asphalt Roof Last In Illinois?

Aaron holding a ladder with his Global Exterior Experts gear on.
Aaron Venegaz
min read
Home with an asphalt roof in the color "Sand Dune".

Are you wondering how long an asphalt roof can last in Illinois? In this blog, we'll dive deeper into the average life lifespan of an asphalt roof, types of asphalt roofs and factors that affect the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof in Illinois.

Plus, as a bonus, we'll also discuss signs that your roof may be nearing the end of its life and share tips for extending its lifespan, so you can protect your investment and keep your home safe.

Average Lifespan of Asphalt Shingles In Illinois

The longevity of your asphalt shingle roof depends heavily on the quality of both the materials and the installation. With the right combination, you can expect your asphalt roof to last around 20 years or more in Illinois.

Factors That Affect The Lifespan of An Asphalt Roof:

  • Climate: Let's face it, Illinois weather can be brutal in both the summer and winter. The constant expansion and contraction from extreme temperature swings can cause shingles to crack and deteriorate. Heavy rain, snow, and those dreaded ice dams on your roof add to the wear and tear, which can lead to potential roof leaks and water damage if left unchecked.
  • Materials: Asphalt shingles aren't one-size-fits-all. The type of asphalt roof you choose plays a big role in how long your roof will last. Basic 3-tab shingles might be more budget-friendly, but they're not the most durable option. Architectural shingles, on the other hand, are thicker and sturdier, offering better protection against the elements and typically lasting several years longer than 3-tab shingles.
  • Installation Quality: Even the best shingles won't hold up if they're not installed correctly. That's why it's very important to hire a reputable, experienced roofer who knows the ins and outs of proper roof installation. Experienced roofing contractors will make sure your roof has the right flashing, underlayment, and ventilation to prevent leaks and ensure it stands the test of time.
  • Maintenance: Think of your roof like a car – it needs regular maintenance (aka inspections) to stay in top shape. That means getting your roof inspected by a pro 1-2 times a year and after any major storms, fixing any problems right away, and keeping it clean and free of debris, moss, and algae. Don't forget about your gutters, either! Keeping your gutters clean and clear is crucial for preventing water damage and ensuring your roof can do its job.

With all that being said the key takeaway here is to make sure you don't cheap out on your roof with 3-tab shingles and instead go with Architectural shingles.

To add, hiring an experienced roofing contractor and getting your roof inspected annually also plays a vital role in making sure your asphalt roof lasts longer than 20 years.

2 Important Signs You Need a New Roof

As discussed earlier, regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your asphalt shingle roof. However, there comes a time when repairs are no longer enough.

Here are two key signs that your roof might be nearing the end of its life:

Gray asphalt shingles missing on roof due to wind damage.

Visible Damage

  • Missing, cracked, or curled shingles: These are all signs of significant wear and tear. Missing, cracked, or curled shingles leave your roof vulnerable. They expose the underlying layers to rain, snow, and sun, leading to leaks, rot, and costly damage.
  • Granule loss: Those tiny granules on your shingles aren't just for looks. Roof granules protect the underlying material from UV rays and the elements. If you notice bare spots on your shingles or a buildup of granules in your gutters, it's a clear sign that your roof's protective layer is wearing thin, leaving it vulnerable to roof damage.
  • Moss or algae growth: While not always a cause for immediate concern, moss and algae can trap moisture and accelerate the deterioration of your shingles. If left unchecked, they can also lead to more serious problems like leaks and rot.
  • Water stains on ceilings or walls: This is a clear indicator that water is seeping through your roof. While the water stain could be a minor leak, it's important to have it inspected as soon as possible because even small leaks can cause significant damage over time.
Old asphalt 3-tab shingles that are worn out due to age.


Architectural asphalt shingles typically last between 20-30 years. If your roof is approaching or exceeding 20 years, it's crucial to have it professionally inspected to ensure it's in good condition.

Even if your roof appears to be in good condition, age can take its toll. Hidden issues like deteriorating underlayment, weakened flashing, or rotting can develop over time, potentially leading to costly roof repairs.


How often should I have my asphalt roof inspected?

We recommend having your roof inspected by a professional roofer at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Additionally, we recommend scheduling an inspection after any major storms or if you notice any signs of damage. Getting your roof inspected regularly will help you avoid costly repairs down the road.

What is an asphalt roof?

Asphalt roofs are made of overlapping shingles composed of a fiberglass base, asphalt coating, and mineral granules for protection.

Asphalt roofs come in two main styles: 3-tab shingles, the most basic and affordable option, and architectural shingles, which are thicker, more durable, and offer a dimensional look.

How do you clean asphalt shingles?

Cleaning asphalt shingles helps maintain their condition, integrity and appearance. A gentle wash with a water-vinegar solution or specialized roof cleaner, applied with a garden sprayer and scrubbed with a soft-bristled brush, can remove dirt, grime, and moss.

Don't forget to rinse the roof thoroughly with a hose and avoid harsh chemicals or high-pressure washing. You can also hire a professional roof cleaner to do it for you!

Can I extend the lifespan of my asphalt roof?

Yes! Annual roof inspections, prompt repairs, and keeping your roof clean and debris-free can significantly extend its lifespan. Proper attic ventilation and gutter maintenance also play a crucial role in preventing roof damage.

What are the most durable asphalt shingles?

Architectural shingles are generally considered the most durable option for Illinois residents, as they are thicker and more resistant to wind and impact damage than standard 3-tab shingles.

Asphalt shingles also tend to last several years longer than 3-tab roofs.


Understanding the lifespan of your asphalt shingle roof and the factors that influence it is crucial for any Illinois homeowner. By choosing high-quality materials, investing in professional installation, and committing to regular maintenance and inspections, you can maximize your asphalt roof's lifespan to more than 20+ years.

If you have concerns about the condition of your roof or suspect it may be nearing the end of its life, don't hesitate to reach out to a reputable Illinois roofing contractor. They can assess your roof's health, provide expert advice, and help you make informed decisions about roof repairs or replacement.

Just remember, a well-maintained roof is not just an aesthetic asset, it's a critical component of your home's structural integrity and protection.