How-To Videos

When and How to Replace an Asphalt Shingle Roof

By: Danny Lipford
Bending back asphalt roof shingle until it breaks.

Brittle asphalt shingles mean the roof probably needs to be replaced.

Asphalt shingle roofs are both inexpensive and durable, but they can become brittle over time and will need to be replaced every 15-30 years, depending on your climate and the quality of the roofing used.

To tell whether your asphalt roof needs to be replaced, use a flat pry bar to break the seal holding the shingle down, then slowly bend one of the shingles back.

If the shingle is brittle and breaks, it’s probably time to replace the roof. Only perform this test when the weather is warm, but not too hot, since cold temperatures make asphalt shingles more brittle and hot weather makes them too soft.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: People who have asphalt shingle roofs, often want to how to tell when the roof needs to be replaced. Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing in the U.S. because they are effective and relatively inexpensive, but they do have a finite lifespan.

When these shingles become brittle the chances of the roof failing go way up. To test this, bend one of the tabs back with your hand. If it bends with a gentle curve, it still has some flexibility and probably lots of life left. If it creases or breaks, it is brittle and could easily snap off in a stiff wind.

If the problem is confined to just a few shingles, you can replace them yourself without replacing the entire roof. Simply pry up the damaged shingles with a flat-bar to remove the nails near each of the slots between tabs. You have to do the same with the row above it as well, since those nails go through both shingles.

Replace the damaged shingle with the new one of similar color and style before you drive new nails in the same location. Finally apply some roofing cement between the rows to hold the bottom of each tab in place.


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