When and How to Replace an Asphalt Shingle Roof

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

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.


  1. I wish I would have had one of those roof monkeys a couple of years ago. I was supposed to get a new roof last year after worrying for two years and after more inspection(s)and waiting 6 months for them to start — and on the day they started on the roof — the roofers pulled out at the last minute because they said the deck was slipping and left me with a mess. Within 1 month my roof started sliding and now the corners are popped up and the brick walls are coming down. I cannot get anyone to help me now. The City gave the company $10,000 and they needed $3,000 more and without trying to do anything, they pulled out after all the materials were delivered and saying their insurance would not cover it if something happened — they just took all the materials back and they put it all on another project within a week. Another company got involved and said they would do the roof if the first one would do the foundation. Had an appointment and then never heard from either since last October. Now instead of $10 to $15 thousand — I have been told it would be over $50,000 to replace the whole roof and foundation work. I have no money up front. On disability. Can’t get a loan until insured and can’t get insured until I get a roof. I am probably the only person that is praying for no rain or high wind and certainly no earth quakes. I have no place to go. No family, friends or neighbors that could take me in. If the house goes, I guess I go with it — and my little dog too!


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