how long does roofs last
Posted on: May 26, 2022

Whether you’re a brand new homeowner or you’ve had the same street address since the 70s, understanding the ins and outs of your home’s essential systems and various exterior elements is a vital skill.

Roofing, windows, doors, and more can all fail even when built with the best, most durable materials. Replacing these systems is never cheap or easy, and unexpected emergency repairs can really break the bank. That’s why every homeowner needs to know how long a roof lasts.

Below, we dive into every detail of roof life expectancy so you can have the best chance of ensuring that your new or existing roof is ready for anything thrown its way.

old roof shingle on the roof of house needs replacing.

What Impacts a Roof Lifespan?

So, you’ve come here wondering how long your roof will last. Although this is a critical question for any homeowner, unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple number or range of years.

As we already mentioned above, a lot of individual factors and attributes can impact how long a roof will last. Anything from harsh weather conditions to missed roof maintenance and poor handiwork can put your home’s roof at risk of a shortened life expectancy.

Get a better idea of how to guarantee the longest lifespan for your roof by learning more about what impacts roofing materials most below:

Regular Roof Maintenance

Perhaps the most critical part of ensuring that your roof reaches the end of its life expectancy is regular roof maintenance. Performing regular maintenance throughout each season helps you spot issues immediately and start smaller repairs before any damage becomes too extensive.

Having your roof inspected is another essential piece of the roof maintenance puzzle. Receiving a roof inspection from a reliable roofing contractor is a great way to assess where your roof is currently at in its lifespan, or if there are any necessary repairs or a roof replacement to be made.

Quality of Contracting Work

Another major aspect of making your roof last is the level of expertise and quality of work that comes from your chosen roofing company. It’s always best to work with an experienced roofing contractor that you trust for performing roof repairs and having your roof replaced.

Ask around your neighborhood, office, or within a group of friends to find professional roofing contractors in your area that can get the job done right. Then, you won’t have to worry about any extreme issues down the line, like premature roof failure or replacing your entire roof.

Local Weather Conditions

The environment where your home is located can also have an impact on your roof’s longevity. Daily weather patterns, as well as significant storm events, can create problems like cracked shingles, roof leaks, water damage, or worse.

Common types of weather to watch out for when it comes to your roofing system include:

  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Sleet
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • High winds

Talk with your roofing contractor to determine the material best suited for your home’s environment to ensure your new roof lasts. For example, metal roofing might make more sense for houses in rainy, humid locales, while clay tile roofs are more common in arid environments. That’s why working with a knowledgeable professional is so important.

Sloped Roofs vs. Flat Roofs

Your home’s roof shape might also impact the life expectancy of your roof. While flat roofs look sleek and modern, they might not be the best roofing option for every environment.

Flat roofing without built-in heating mechanisms makes it more likely for snow and ice to pile up. Heated roof systems for a flat roof can get expensive, and might not fit into your new roof replacement budget.

Fortunately, you still have another option. Sloped roofing makes it much easier to avoid structural issues and water damage since snow can melt right off of the shingles.

Roofing Material

Just like unique roof types, different roofing materials typically have varying lifespans. The life expectancy of a slate roof or asphalt roof may differ greatly from that of a wood roof or metal roof. Consulting with experienced roofing contractors can help you determine the most durable materials to replace your roof with moving forward.

Material Quality

The quality of your roof shingles also comes into play concerning their lifespan. Low-quality roof materials can make all the difference, often cutting your roof’s life short. Purchasing premium shingles from a trusted manufacturer helps guarantee you’ll get the longest lifespan out of your home’s roof.

Attic skylight. Asphalt Shingles House Roofing Construction with Attic Roof windows, skylights waterproofing.

Which Roofing Materials Last Longest?

Many factors contribute to the life expectancy of different roofing systems, but roofing materials play a major role. Modern roof materials come in all kinds of shapes, colors, and textures, with high levels of durability. Explore everything from metal roofing and architectural shingles to tile roof and more to make an informed decision:

Asphalt Shingles

As you likely already know, asphalt shingles are some of the most prevalent roof styles across the United States. Asphalt shingle roofs are an affordable and accessible type of roofing that will reliably last between 15 and 30 years with the right care. Replacing shingles is easy, and asphalt shingle roofs come in several appealing, long-lasting styles, like:

  • Three-tab asphalt shingles – 15 to 20 years
  • Dimensional shingles or architectural shingles – 20 to 30 years
  • Premium or luxury shingles – 25 to 40 years

As you can see, the more you’re willing to spend on asphalt shingles, the longer your roof is likely to last before requiring an asphalt roof replacement.

Although asphalt shingles are seen across all 50 states, a shingle roof might not always be the right choice for you. For example, an asphalt shingle roof often cracks and deteriorates more quickly in climates with extreme temperature fluctuations from hot to cold.

Talk with your contractor before settling on asphalt shingles, since this affordable roofing option could turn out to be more expensive for you in the long run if it’s not the right fit.

Metal Roofs

Another great option that can last anywhere from 40 to 80 years is a metal roof. Metal roofs are extremely durable and effective at protecting your home’s interior from harsh weather and the elements. Many homeowners in areas where hurricanes and high winds are common opt for a metal roof since they can typically withstand winds of up to 100 mph.

Several kinds of metal roofs are available, such as:

  • Stone-coated steel tiles
  • Standing seam roofing
  • Ribbed metal panels

Standing seam roofs are the most commonly found (and cost-effective) metal design on the market. This style also often comes with an impressive warranty, guaranteeing a lengthy roof lifespan.

Tile Roofs

You might recognize the clay tile roof style from tv shows or movies, depicting the streets of the American Southwest lined with homes with clay tiles on top. Believe it or not, a clay tile roof can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years with the right care and maintenance.

  • Clay tiles
  • Slate tiles
  • Concrete tiles

Just like a clay tile roof, concrete and slate roofs are reliable choices of roofing. Slate roof tiles typically last anywhere from 75 to 200 – yes, 200 – years, while concrete can last about 50 years before requiring a replacement. Slate tile manufacturers often boast slate roofing as the best and longest-lasting type of roofing around.

Wood Shingles or Shakes

When it comes to a long-lasting roof, one of the worst roofing material options available is a wood shingle roof. Although wooden shingles were all the rage in the past, more durable materials have been discovered in recent years, rendering these rotting roof types obsolete.

Wooden shingles are significantly more susceptible to pest problems and severe wear and tear over shorter periods. Issues such as rotting, sagging, mold, and other structural damage are all too common with wood shingles, making other roof types a much smarter choice in the long run.

Other Roofing Material Options

While the materials listed above are certainly the most common, other options exist as well, offering efficiency and longevity. These alternative roofing types and their projected lifespans are listed below:

  • Composite shingles – 20 to 50 years
  • Fiber cement shingles – 20 to 30 years
  • Zinc roofing – 80 to 100 years
  • Copper roofing – 60 to 100 years
  • Thatched roof – 10 to 15 years up to 40

When Is It Time for a Roof Replacement?

Replacing your roofing system is no simple feat, which is why you want to work hard to avoid any premature failures. However, roof replacements are ultimately inevitable, especially when the following are involved:

  1. Age/time – Your roof has simply reached the end of its lifespan; this is typical of older homes that haven’t been updated.
  2. Improper maintenance – Failing to keep up with proper roof maintenance may shorten the length of your roof’s lifespan, leading to a premature replacement.
  3. Energy efficiency issues – Older roofing systems made with outdated materials can impact your home’s efficiency; installing a new roof will help save money and energy.

Sometimes a massive storm hits your home, forcing you to replace your roof. Other times, your home’s roof is just genuinely due for an upgrade after many solid years. Whatever the reason for your roof replacement, there are several key indicators to keep an eye out for over the years.

Some of the most surefire signs you need a roof replacement include:

  • Cracked shingles
  • Curling shingles
  • Mineral granules in gutters
  • Roof leaks
  • Water damage in attics
  • Rotting
  • Staining
  • Rust or discoloration
  • Mold or algae growth
  • Missing shingles

Roof Replacement Pros You Can Trust

If you’re experiencing any of the issues listed above, it’s time to consider replacing your roof. Consult with an experienced roof repair company like WISA to get the job done right at a competitive rate. Contact our team of trusted roofing experts today.