How Long Do Roof Shingles Last In Ontario?

While metal roofs can last 35-50 years, most Ontarians will install fibreglass asphalt shingles that last anywhere from 15-30 years. This type of shingle is the most cost-effective shingle that is best suited to the Canadian climate experienced in Ontario. So, how long do roof shingles last in Ontario?

The real answer is: It depends.

How can two Ontario homeowners have the same shingle but one roof lasts longer than the other?

There are many potential factors that are known to reduce the lifespan of a roof. Below we’ve listed 11 factors that are known to wear out shingles faster than their expected lifespan.

How long do roof shingles last in Ontario? Everest-42
Everest-42 Shingles

11 factors that reduce the average lifespan of a shingle roof in Ontario

Apart from the obvious answer regarding the different roofing materials, there are a number of factors that can affect how long your roof lasts. How long do roof shingles last in Ontario? Considering most homeowners in Ontario have asphalt shingles, here are a number of reasons that create variable answers.

Quality of installation

It has to be said right at the top of this list. There are so many little things that could go wrong during the installation of your roof. If you’re not in the hands of experienced and quality roofers, you could wind up with a roofing nightmare.

Bad roofing meme says" If you think it's expensive hiring a good roofer, try hiring a bad one!"

A poorly installed shingle roof will not have the same lifespan as an expert job. Trust the professionals who already have a long list of happy clients (ahem, that’s us!) so you know more or less what you’re getting.

People who cheap out on a new roof replacement or more likely to experience problems 5 or 10 years down the line as opposed to maxing out the lifespan of their roof of 15-30 years.

Quality of brand and material used

Let’s face it, you can’t expect to pay the cheapest price and get a top-of-the-line roof. If you go with an inexpensive shingle or a low-quality brand you’re going to be replacing your roof much earlier than someone who goes with a top-performing shingle.

Read our Review on BP Shingles for more insight into the industry

Vanguard shingle by BP
Vanguard Shingle by BP

Quality counts in this business and if you choose the right roofing contractor you should be getting expert advice on the type of shingle that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. 

Adequate ventilation of your roof

When your roof doesn’t have adequate ventilation the heat will rise in your attic and within the interior walls. This combined with moisture can lead to the premature degradation of your shingles by warping them or curling the edges. This eventually leads to cracks and spaces for wind and rain to get in causing leaks and other expensive roof damage.

Attic ventilation helps roof shingles last longer in Ontario

Increased exposure to heavy rainfall

Shingles last as long as the granules last. This can be impacted by how much rain and snow they’re getting during the duration of their life. The constantly running water from heavy rain can wear out the granules on your shingles much faster than if your roof were exposed to less rain on a yearly basis.

Increased exposure to heavy snowfall

If you live in the snow belt of Ontario, your roof is going to see a lot more snow than anywhere else. This will shorten the life of your roof shingles in Ontario because of the constant contact with snow and rain.

Shingles can become very brittle at freezing temperatures. They are more likely to break, crack and curl up when exposed to snow, ice and stormy weather that brings both along with high winds.

Sun exposure

Sunlight poses a variety of issues for those who have asphalt shingles. The asphalt heats up fairly quickly and is particularly vulnerable to UV rays from the sun. Sunlight will basically cause the coatings to run, deviate and deteriorate. Shingles that are in the sun for longer periods of time will dry up and deteriorate much quicker with the more sun they are exposed to.

This is a big reason why roofers will recommend a different material for a roof when it’s predominantly sunny. In Florida for example, you see mostly clay tile shingles because they will last a whole lot longer than asphalt shingles under the consistently blazing Florida sun.

Slope and pitch of your roof

Shingles in Ontario will last longer on a steeper pitch as opposed to a lower pitch. One reason is a steep slope on a roof contributes to a longer life is that the granules last longer since the sun’s rays are less direct. 

Steep pitched roofs last longer in Ontario climate

It’s a similar effect to lying out and tanning in the sun. When you’re flattened out, your body receives more direct sunlight and UV rays. In the world of shingle roofs-the flatter the slope and pitch, the faster your shingle will wear out. Unfortunately, our friends at Canadian Home Leisure will need to replace their roof well before the home in the image above.

Exterior of Canadian Home Leisure storefront in Whitby
Canadian Home Leisure in Whitby

The rain is also another factor that affects a flat roof differently than a high-pitched roof. When the rain falls on a steep slope it impacts the roof indirectly. The flatter the roof, the more direct impact the roof sustains from the rain.

Lastly, a flat roof will have more snow sitting on top of it for longer periods of time. A roof with a steep slope allows the snow to slide right off.

Extreme swings in temperature

It’s basic physics here kids. Heat makes most materials expand, while the cold causes material to contract. The swing from one end to another can wreak havoc on just about any type of material on a timeline of 15-20 years.

If you’re from the Durham Region or anywhere in southern Ontario, you already know about spring construction on roads. The winter can leave devastating holes in the asphalt/concrete from the contraction due to the cold temperatures. 

The same principles apply to your roofing material, which is why most homeowners in Ontario will choose fibreglass asphalt shingles (metal roofs are an increasingly popular option). Make sure don’t need furnace repair in Richmond Hill if the extreme cold rips off your shingles during the winter! You’ll want your furnace running in tip-top shape!

Colour of shingles

Once again, modern science steps in to remind us that darker colours attract and absorb the sun. Lighter colours have more reflective properties when it comes to sunlight. In the winter, the darker colours benefit Ontario residents because they absorb the heat from the sun.

This improves your home’s insulation (which lowers our energy bills as a result of less strain on the furnace).

The downside is that darker colours wear out faster in sunlight. Keep in mind that we only have about 4 out of 12 months of really hot weather. Everything else is moderate to oh-my-god that’s cold temperatures.

Length of shingle lifespan in Ontario climate is determined partially by the colour

Two-layered roofing

Did you know that new roofing on top of old roofing could shorten the lifespan of a roof? If you’re re-roofing over shingles that are not completely flat (have curled edges or are slightly raised) you can run into major problems. Apart from leaks and structural damage, some manufacturers will not honour their warranty on the new shingles.

Wear and tear from neighboring trees

Believe it or not, trees can cause significant damage to your roof. If branches start growing too close to your roof they end up rubbing against your roof and lifting up shingles, essentially putting a hole in your roof.

Another common occurrence is high volumes of debris that blow off the tree. Smaller branches, twigs and leaves blowing over your roof will wear away the granules of your shingles. If you have a lot of tall trees that are relatively close to your roof, you may want to consider some strategic trimming for your roof’s sake.

Let us help you max out your shingles lifespan 

Don’t leave anything to chance. If you want to know how long do roof shingles last in Ontario, we would love to help you out. We’ve been roofing homes in southern Ontario for 27 years now. No matter what situation you’re in, we’ve seen it before and we have a solution that’s right for you. If you need consultation or a quote on your roof, don’t hesitate to contact us!