Shingle Deterioration in Chicago

Stages of Asphalt Shingle Deterioration


The lifespan of asphalt shingles depends on the type you choose, the manufacturer, and where you live. Some shingles last longer than others; for example, those made with a higher percentage of granules tend to last longer than those made with fewer granules. The first thing to do when trying to determine whether your roof has reached its end-of-life is take a look at it yourself or hire someone who knows how to inspect roofs professionally. If you’re not sure what signs of wear and tear mean that it’s time for replacement—or if your roofer isn’t telling you—then read on!


As asphalt shingles age, the effects of weather can become more pronounced. The shingles will become discolored and may develop cracks or ripples. The granules that comprise your roof’s surface may also begin to separate from the asphalt backing as they come apart over time.

The lifespan of a typical residential asphalt shingle is about 20 years, but this is dependent on many factors: where you live, how heavily it rains in your area and what kind of environment you have around your house (e.g., trees, other buildings). Shingles typically deteriorate faster in areas with heavy rainfall due to their exposure to moisture and sunlight—especially if they’re not covered by other structures like roofs or eaves.

Loss of mineral granules

Asphalt shingles are covered with a layer of mineral granules that give them their color. These tiny rocks are made of natural resources like quartz or feldspar, and can be washed away by rainwater or sun rays. When this happens, the shingles lose their appearance and color, leaving only the asphalt underneath.

Cracking and cupping

When asphalt shingles crack and cup, it’s an indication of their age. Cracking is normal, but if the cracks are too large or have spidered out to cover a large portion of the roof, it needs to be fixed before water can get in. Cupping is caused by uneven exposure to weather, which can result in problems like mold growth or algae growth.

Some roofers believe that cracking and cupping are not an immediate threat to your roof; others believe that they are causes for concern because they allow moisture into the attic space where it could damage other components of your home (such as insulation).

Blistering and splitting

Asphalt shingles are prone to splitting and blistering, both caused by different factors. Blistering occurs when water gets trapped under the shingle during installation or precipitation events. Splitting is caused by temperature changes that cause the asphalt in your roof to expand and contract, which causes it to crack.

The best way to prevent these issues is by making sure you apply enough granular material at the time of installation and by choosing a high-quality brand of asphalt shingle that has been properly designed for your climate zone. If you’ve already discovered this problem on one section of your roof, then calling a professional contractor can help fix it before it spreads across other areas as well

Curling and buckling

Buckling shingles can occur when the shingle is exposed to heat. This can be caused by improper ventilation, improper installation or poor quality asphalt.

Incorrect ventilation causes buckling by locking moisture in between the shingles and preventing it from drying out properly. If your roof does not have proper ventilation, this may cause buckling to occur sooner than expected.

Algae growth

Algae growth is also a common problem, especially in coastal areas. While algae can be removed by scrubbing the shingles with a stiff brush and bleach, preventing algae growth will save you time and money in the long run. One way to prevent algae from growing is by keeping your roof clean. You should clean your roof every three months with a pressure washer.

Older shingles are more susceptible to damage than newer ones.

The age of your roof is a factor in whether or not you will experience damage. Shingles are made from asphalt and mineral granules, which are bound together by resins. Asphalt gets brittle with age, while the minerals break down. This aging process is accelerated in high heat and humidity, so if your house has been sitting in the sun for years on end, it’s likely that its shingles need to be replaced before they become dangerous to walk on.


Asphalt shingles are a popular choice for residential roofs, and they can last a long time if they’re properly installed and maintained. But as weather conditions change, so do the needs of your roof. If you have older asphalt shingles that need replacing or repairing, don’t hesitate to call us at 773-251-9422 for an estimate.

Quincy Sizemore

Third Coast Exteriors

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