Since GAF chose to move the industry of architectural asphalt shingles towards the word “lifetime” in 2011, there seems to be misconceptions, misunderstandings and, quite simply, loose use of the term.  For many homeowners they hear from many roofing companies that they will use a lifetime shingle.  What we find in many of the homeowners we speak with have only heard the word but have not been explained just what the term means as far as their warranty is concerned.  What were once upon a time 30 yr, 40 yr and 50 yr architectural shingles have since all received the designation as Limited Lifetime and the terms of 30, 40 and 50 yr were no more.  Keep in mind, this discussion doesn’t account for any of the tripple laminate or designer shingle lines but only that of the standard architectural products.

So, what does “lifetime” mean?  It means 50 years.  Those 30, 40 and 50 year shingles are now considered Good, Better and Best but all come with a factory 50 year warranty or, Limited Lifetime Warranty.  Here is where the homeowner needs to be educated for their benefit.  If installed properly, the warranty gives you the first 10 years 100% coverage for material defects.  After the 10th year, the material only is pro-rated for the next 40 years.  The homeowner will also receive a 10 year algae and fungus protection with the newly marketed architectural products.  Most of the top manufacturers have a standard 110 mph wind warranty with this shingle with the ability for a 130 mph upgrade given the roofing contractor uses additional materials that should be standard of practice.  However, not all roofing companies are created equal.  As a homeowner looking to replace their roof, always ask questions about installation practices, materials used and check local references.  Choose wisely and you will have a long lasting roof that will give you years of protection and increased home value as well.