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7 Common Problems With An Asphalt Shingle Roof
Lauren Risotto

By: Lauren Risotto on June 5th, 2020

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7 Common Problems With An Asphalt Shingle Roof

Homeowner | Roofing | Homeowner Education | Problems

If you’re in the middle of deciding if you should put an asphalt shingle roof on your home, you’re not alone. Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing residential material in the United States. This is largely due to their low cost and ease of installation. However, there are some issues with this type of roofing that you should consider prior to moving forward with a purchase.

At Western States Metal Roofing, we are experts in metal roofing and are not manufacturers of asphalt shingles. So why listen to us?

Many of our customers are either switching from asphalt to metal, or are heavily debating between the two roofing types. This has resulted in us becoming well versed in asphalt shingles so we can help our customers understand the differences between metal and shingles.

Watch this video on how one of our customers ultimately decided on a metal roof:

Don’t worry, we don’t only focus on the negatives of our competition. We’ve also discussed the advantages of asphalt shingles, which you can read about here:

The Top 5 Advantages Of An Asphalt Shingle Roof

In this article, we’re going to discuss the 5 biggest problems with asphalt shingles.


What Are The Common Problems With An Asphalt Shingle Roof?

  • Short lifespan
  • Frequent repairs: granule loss, buckling, curling, missing
  • Mildew issues: gloeocapsa magma
  • Limited color selection
  • Short aesthetic life
  • Blistering
  • Confusing Warranties

1. Asphalt Shingle Roof Life Expectancy

An asphalt shingle roof lasts for a considerably shorter time period than almost any other type of roofing. Generally, asphalt roofs will last you an average of 10-20 years before needing to be replaced.

By comparison, here are the lifespans of other roofing types:

Metal: 40-60 years

Slate or Clay: 50-100 years

Cedar shake: 30-40 years


If the longevity of your roof is a primary concern, then asphalt shingles are not the best roofing choice for you.

Metal vs. Shingle Guide Download

2. Asphalt Shingle Roof Repairs

Asphalt shingle roofs are not known as being the most durable roofing material. Severe weather and general aging will cause issues with the shingles that have to be repaired or replaced.

Repair Or Replace Roof Shingles

The most common issues with asphalt shingles are:

  • Granule loss
  • Buckling shingles
  • Curling shingles
  • Missing shingles

Depending on the severity of the problem, issues where a shingle is buckled, cracked, or curled can potentially be repaired. However, shingle replacement is fairly simple and is a better solution for the upkeep of the roof.

If you have an excessive amount of these issues, that can be a sign that there is a bigger problem with your roof. Any repairs should just be a temporary fix until you are able to have the roof professional inspected.

Granule Loss

Granule loss occurs when shingles have become worn down usually due to exposure to extreme weather. While some granule loss is normal overtime, excessive granule loss leaves your roof less weatherproof and fire resistant.


Buckling Shingles

Over time, some shingles may no longer lay flat on the roof. They may appear to be lifting or buckling. This can be caused by movement of the wood deck or wrinkling of roof underlayment. Buckling shingles leaves your home not protected from the elements and can result in leaks from rain.


Curling Shingles

Shingles can start to curl upwards. This can be from poor attic ventilation or improper installation. Aside from negatively affecting the aesthetic of your roof, curling shingles also leave your home more vulnerable to leaks as it's less protected from the elements.


Missing Shingles

If a big storm has high winds that are strong enough, the shingles will blow right off. This leaves your home less protected from rain and other elements until the shingles can be replaced.

Repair Or Replace: This one is pretty obvious. If the shingle is missing, it must be replaced.


3.Gloeocapsa Magma

You may not be able to say it, but you’ve probably seen it. Gloeocapsa magma is a type of bacteria that has a green-blue algae looking appearance. It can result in unappealing black streaks going down your asphalt shingle roof.

This bacteria tends to thrive in hot and humid climates and unfortunately, preventing damage from it is hard to avoid. The bacteria originates in rivers and ponds and can be transported onto the roof by either birds or the wind.

While also taking away from a roof’s curb appeal, gloeocapsa magma can cause problems to the durability of the shingles.

Asphalt shingles contain limestone that the bacteria will eat away at that makes the shingles weaker overtime. Having weak shingles increases the chances of your roof needing repairs from shingles either breaking or blowing away.


4. Asphalt Shingle Roof Colors

Think about the type of look you want your roof to have. Limited color options may not actually be a problem for you if you’re looking for a roof in a neutral color.

Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Asphalt shingles are commonly used in modest tones such as grays and browns. While a green asphalt shingle roof is not impossible to find, there are limited color options for asphalt shingles. If you are looking for a unique roof in a bold color, it will be difficult to do with this roofing material.

When compared to the large color availability for metal roofing, you are going to have significantly fewer design options when using asphalt shingles.


5. How Long Do Asphalt Shingle Roofs Last?

While the functional life of a shingle roof is in the 10-20 year range, the aesthetic life is much shorter. After roughly 5-7 years, the asphalt shingle roof will begin to look aged with some of the problems we mentioned earlier like staining and curling shingles. While the roof can still function, the appearance of the roof begins to fail and negatively affects the curb appeal of the roof.


6. Blistering 

When a shingle roof is poorly ventilated and becomes overheated, blistering will occur on the shingles. The excessive heat causes any trapped moisture inside the shingle to expand and form blisters. Once shingles blister, the protective granules on the shingles will start to loosen which causes shingles to not be as effective as a protective barrier. Shingles with excessive blistering should be replaced as they can ultimately decrease the lifespan of your roof. 


7. Shingle Warranties

If you're looking into architectural shingles, you'll find that they come with a minimum 30 year limited warranty and some may even have a lifetime warranty. While this sounds like a great value, It’s important to note that shingle warranties cover manufacturer defects and are meant to protect you only if your product is detective.

The warranties do not cover standard wear and tear or damage caused by weather. This is why you’ll see the warranty length is generally longer than the lifespan of the shingles.


Asphalt Shingle Roof Alternative

Before deciding on what kind of roof you’re going to use, think of what is most important to you in a roofing system. The problems we mentioned in this article might be deal breakers for some, and non-urgent issues for others.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, customers are often torn between asphalt shingles and metal. Besides being another popular type of roofing, metal can solve some of the issues in areas where shingles fall short.

If you’re open to learning about how the two roofing types compare, continue on as we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of metal and asphalt shingles:

Metal Roofing v. Asphalt Shingles: The Advantages and Disadvantages


Watch our video on the cost and value differences between metal and shingles:

Metal Roofing Learning Cener

About Lauren Risotto

Lauren is the Content Manager at Western States Metal Roofing and provides insight on content creation and product promotions.