People often wonder, how long do roofs last on average? The reason is that they don’t want to invest in a new roof before it’s absolutely necessary, and they certainly don’t want to delay for too long lest it results in roof leaks and major deterioration.

A well-maintained roof is extremely crucial to the integrity of your home – incessantly saving you and your home from the elements. 

So, how long do roofs last? More often than not, the type of roof you have determines its life expectancy. However, there are many other factors that impact a roof’s lifespan – all of which we’ll discuss here.

Your roof’s life will be influenced by its material, the weather conditions of your location, and the way the roof installation was done in the first place. You’ll also realize the importance of hiring a reputable roof contractor who uses high-quality materials. All these will help you get the most out of your roof.

Factors that affect your roof’s average lifespan 

Signs of roof replacement

If you want to know whether you’re making a smart decision at the time of a roof replacement, you need to consider a few factors that impact the lifespan of your roof. You can then look for replacement options accordingly.

  • Type of roofing materials: The construction material, and its specific durability, impact the average lifespan of a roof. In many cases, the higher the cost, the more longevity you can expect.
  • Material quality and color: There are always lower and higher quality versions of each material on the market. We won’t be wrong when we say that low-quality roofing materials generally mean more frequent roof repairs and lower roof life expectancy. Since a roof is an important part of your home, it’s best to choose a superior product. Also, a dark-colored roof will absorb more heat from the sun – causing the roof shingles to overheat and experience wear and tear. In such a case, roof ventilation becomes more difficult. 
  • Roofing underlayment: The underlayment, or the layer of waterproofing protection, is one of the most crucial components of a roof. This additional layer acts as a line of defense – preventing moisture buildup, mold problems, and rotting. 
  • Installation workmanship: Make sure your roofing contractor is qualified, has contractor insurance and liability coverage, and online reviews or testimonials. A good installation by a roofing expert could help increase the lifespan of your roof. 
  • The elements: The local climate and sun exposure impact a roof’s longevity to a large extent. Drastic temperatures, storms, hails, and harsh winds can cause roof damage such as splits and cracks in shingles. Also, tree branches near your roof need to be pruned lest the leaves or debris build up in the rain gutters.
  • Roof slope: Your roof’s pitch affects drainage. Better drainage translates to fewer repairs or replacements. For example, flat roofs may easily accumulate stagnant water – leading to mold, fungus growth, and roof leaks.
  • Regular roof maintenance: The typical lifespan of a roof can be increased by routine maintenance. Annual roof inspections aid in spotting any early warning signs and avoid substantial repairs.

Planning for a roof replacement? Get the best estimate with our roof estimator tool.

How long do roofs last, based on types of roofs?

Different roof types have different lifespans. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular roofing materials.

  • Three-tab asphalt shingles: This budget-friendly roof option is generally used for DIY roofing projects. Unfortunately, it has one of the lowest life spans owing to low wind resistance and low durability. It lasts 15 to 20 years. 
  • Wood shingles: Depending on the wood species (cedar, spruce, or pine), a wooden roof looks beautiful, natural, and rustic. However, it can be susceptible to termites, fires, mold, and mildew. That’s why it needs regular maintenance and inspections. The average lifespan of most wood roofs is 30 years.
  • Metal roof: The lifespan and the roof cost will depend on the thickness of the metal. For example, thinner metal roofs last about 20 to 25 years, while a thick, quality metal roof will last over 50 years. 
  • Architectural asphalt shingles: These architectural shingles come in a variety of colors – giving your home a beautiful layered look. Typically, these last 30 to 50 years. 
  • Composite shingles: Mimicking wood or slate roofs, these shingles are made of polymer, rubber, or plastic. Compared to wood tiles, they withstand the elements better. And, easily last 40 to 50 years.
  • Slate tiles: These durable tiles come with one of the longest average lifespans for a roof; they can last well over 50 years. Sometimes, up to 100 years! However, due to their heavy weight and difficult installation, homeowners should consult a structural engineer before the installation.
  • Concrete tiles or clay tiles: These are yet another durable roof types that can withstand high heat, remaining strong for over 50 years.
  • PVC: This vinyl membrane roof is mostly used in commercial buildings. It provides the most energy efficiency as it’s UV ray resistant and reflects the sun well. Generally, it will last more than 20 years.

How do I make my roof last longer?

roof ventilation

The first step is to check on the general condition of your roof frequently. Especially, after your area has witnessed hail, strong wind, or severe storms. An annual inspection and preventative maintenance can increase the lifespan of your roof. And, they help to identify minor issues before they develop into larger ones.

Clear away any fallen leaves and debris out of your rain gutters for better drainage. Make sure there’s no buildup on the roof. Ensure good ventilation or else you’ll spot ice dams or experience roof leaks in the attic.

Read more: How to insulate an attic

When should you plan roof replacement?

You need to continue to keep an eye on the condition of your roof in order to determine how frequently to repair or replace parts of it.

There are some warning signs that you may need a new roof. These include:

  • A visibly damaged exterior roof
  • Moisture damage and leaks
  • Roof discoloration
  • Infiltration of pests

If your roof is nearing the end of its life expectancy, and you see these signs, it might be time for a roof replacement. Start saving money and planning ahead for the home remodeling project. Keep in mind that you’ll need a roof warranty too. It will protect your investment against costly roof repairs in the future. This becomes even more necessary if the roof is damaged by a major storm, a fallen tree branch, or any other incident.

So, how long do roofs last?

You’d want to get a good idea of the state of your roof – whether you’re buying a new home or intend to remain in your current home for years to come. 

It can be challenging for homeowners to predict the precise time of a roof replacement. But, generally speaking, a roof can last between 25 and 50 years if maintained well. Of course, it also depends on the durability and quality of the material used. Just make sure to get the best roof possible. It will save you a lot of money and headache. 

How long do roofs last, on average? was last modified: January 17th, 2023 by Ramona Sinha
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