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Asphalt Shingle Aging: Different Stages of Deterioration

Oct 29, 2018

When it comes to roofs, no material can last forever, especially asphalt shingles. From manufacture to the point of functional failure, these shingles usually have a lifespan of 50 years.

Asphalt Shingle Aging: Different Stages of Deterioration

Today, Rogers Roofing talks about the deterioration pattern of top-shelf asphalt roofing shingles in three parts:

Incipient Deterioration

This phase begins right after packaging. Asphalt shingles already start aging because of oxidation, which can be accelerated by other factors like pressure or heat. This is why it’s not uncommon for different batches manufactured in the same production run to decline in quality at their own rates. This is especially true when they are not properly stored or transported.

Further deterioration happens after they’re installed. Exposure to weather causes them to lose excess granules, which will be washed away by water runoff.

For many years, they will undergo chemical changes, which will then affect their mechanical properties. Although aging never stops, this constant physical transformation is usually not visible in their critical early years. Product quality, roof pitch and sun exposure among other factors will influence the rate at which they weather.

Accelerating Deterioration

This phase begins when obvious signs of damage become more pronounced. “Craze-cracking,” the phenomenon where random surface cracks develop, will become more and more widespread. The thermal cycling is more of a concern at this stage when daily temperature swings are extreme.

Over the service lives of asphalt roofing shingles, the volatiles, which keep them flexible enough to expand and contract, slowly dissipate. When little of them are left, the bond between shingles and granules degrade significantly. In turn, uniform and localized balding is more apparent.

Also, loss of volatiles causes asphalt shingles to absorb moisture more, leading to deformation. Shingle distortion is bad news to the substrate, rendering parts of the sheathing exposed to the elements.

Decelerating Deterioration

At this point, the previously high-quality asphalt shingles are practically back to the raw materials they once were prior to production. Even if they manage to remain fastened to the roof, they’ll be worthless because of their lack of resistance to the weather.

The life cycle of asphalt shingles may be relatively fleeting, but they’re still some of the most cost-effective roofing products on the market. Work with Rogers Roofing to choose from top-of-the-line CertainTeed® shingles with superior protection. Call us at (773) 768-3022 or (219) 933-9145 now to discuss your roof replacement project, and receive a FREE estimate. We serve Tinley Park, IL, as well as Dyer, Munster and the rest of Northwest Indiana.