The Difference Between Asphalt Shingle Cracking and Splitting

March 18, 2024

Homeowners love asphalt shingles because they're highly durable and dependable. Majority use high-quality shingles from local manufacturers. However, even the best-made asphalt shingles could crack and split over time. Trained roofers can easily spot the difference between cracking and splitting, and so can you after reading this post.


Cracking in asphalt shingles typically occurs as a result of age, weathering, or physical damage. It often appears as small, linear breaks in the shingle surface, resembling a series of connected lines. Cracking can be caused by trapped air inside your attic overheating the materials underneath the asphalt shingles. In turn, the asphalt shingles would start expanding and have blisters as the moisture inside the shingles try to escape as vapor. Your guess is right – once there's enough blisters, the asphalt shingles can lose its granularity, weakening it as it cracks.

Other factors that could cause cracking are the local weather, your roof's durability and age, and physical damage such as hail or falling branches – an event that usually happens during windstorms or strong hurricanes.

Related: Energy-Saving Capabilities of a Well-Done Attic Ventilation


Splitting is a more severe form of damage than cracking and occurs when a shingle breaks apart along its length. It's unmissable, even if observed from the ground – if you can see a huge gap between a few shingles, they've already split. Splitting can occur because the material holding the asphalt that forms the shingles will stretch or shrink depending on the temperature. As you can imagine, the repeated changes in temperatures may pull or push the asphalt shingles enough to cause a split.

Repairing cracked or splitted asphalt shingles is relatively straightforward and can help extend the life of your roof. To fix cracked shingles, inspect the roof, replace damaged shingles, and secure the new shingles in place with roofing cement. Of course, it's always best to trust renowned local roofers to do this the right way (and save your time for more important things).

How Much Cracking or Splitting Until You Need Replacements?

The amount of cracking or splitting that warrants a full roof replacement depends on the extent of the damage, the age of the roof, and the quality of the shingles. In general, if more than 20% of the shingles on your roof are cracked or split, it may be time to consider replacing the entire roof – it's just not worth it to repair a roof where the majority of the materials are already cracked, splitted, or blistered.

Widely Affected Areas

Certain areas of the roof are more prone to cracking and splitting than others. These include areas with high sun exposure, valleys and ridges, and areas near trees where falling branches and debris can damage shingles. If there is a wide swathe of cracked or split asphalt shingles on your roof, it's time to have it replaced.

Roof Age

Asphalt shingles typically last between 20 and 30 years. As they age, they become more susceptible to cracking and splitting. If you're unsure about your roof's age, you can have a professional roofer inspect and assess its overall age to give you a clue.

Material Quality

The quality of the asphalt shingles used on your roof can impact their durability and resistance to cracking and splitting. Higher-quality shingles are less likely to develop these issues prematurely. We highly recommend consulting with your local roofer to help you find the best, long-lasting, and highly durable and weather-resistant shingles.

Installation Reliability

Proper installation is crucial to the long-term performance of asphalt shingles. Poorly installed shingles are more likely to crack and split, so it's important to hire a reputable roofing contractor for installation. If you did hire one who did a poor job installing your roof – despite the quality of materials you used – it's not too late to hire a dependable one and minimize the damage and maximize your roof's protective capability.

Related: The Traits of Dependable Roofers in Douglasville, GA

Number of Repairs

The more repairs a roof has undergone, the more likely it is to develop issues like cracking and splitting. If you've already repaired your roof twice per year or even more, it's time to move on and save cash to buy a new roof.

Need a reliable roofer to help replace your roof and improve your home's protection? Count on us at Paramount Roofing for exceptional professional roofing. As a widely-recognized and renowned roofing company, we guarantee only the best results for all your roofing needs. Call us today or visit our social media to reach us and we'll get right back to you!.