Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Brad GordonAsphalt Shingles


Looking to fix up your current roof or build out a new one? Which roofing material do you go with? Consider asphalt shingles for your roofing material choice instead of clay, concrete, cement, slate, metal, or wood. With so many choices, why asphalt? Here are some pros and cons to help you make the best decision.


Ease of Installation

Asphalt shingles are the easiest to install of all roofing materials. They can even be installed over existing asphalt shingles, provided the roof deck is strong and there is only a single layer down.

Low cost

This includes both labor and material costs here. It is the most economically viable option for a roofing material.

Long life span

The life span of asphalt roofs varies from 15 to 50 years. The heavier the shingle, the longer the life expectancy. Additional architectural elements for styling can also increase life span. Warranties can run to as long as 50 years for higher quality materials.

Color and style selection

There are numerous colors and styles available for asphalt shingles. In many cases, they mimic the look of other styles at a fraction of the costs. Besides color and style choices, there are energy efficiency options that will help reduce heat absorption and thus roof temperature in the summer.


Requires periodic maintenance

Some tasks are as simple as keeping the roof clean of debris, but you also will need to make sure flashing doesn’t allow water to seep through, shingles haven’t gotten loose from weather, and moss or algae haven’t accumulated. Wood shingles are worse with their insect risk, and their fire resistance (or lack thereof).

Low insulation value

Attic ventilation matters here and could affect roof lifetime, but other materials are just a higher insulation value.

Environmental effect

Due to the shingles being petroleum and fiberglass based, they have a negative environmental effect. Organic options actually include more asphalt than fiberglass shingles. Some landfills offer recycling options for pavement and patching but typically include a high degree of waste material like roofing nails.

Shorter lifespan

The cheapest asphalt shingle options have the shortest lifespan. Clay/concrete/slate options can last over a hundred years. Metal to around 75 years. And wood for about 30 or so.

If considering asphalt shingles for your roofing project, be sure to look at their good and bad issues. In most cases, asphalt shingles win purely from an economic standpoint, but that isn’t the only reason to use them.