People expect their home’s roof to last a lifetime, which can be true in many cases. However, even the strongest roofing materials can still become damaged during a storm or deteriorate with age and wear. That leaves many homeowners wondering, how long does a roof last?
Knowing when you need a roof replacement is often challenging since many different factors and circumstances can affect your roof’s lifespan. This article explains everything you need to know about when you need a new roof, the average life expectancy of various roofing materials, and tips to improve a roof’s longevity. Keep reading to learn more.
Is It Time to Replace Your Roof? ⏰
Even the most expensive roofing materials are prone to damage at some point in their life. However, to the untrained eye, it can often be challenging to discern whether the extent of your roof damage means you need a new roof or not.
Whether you just moved into a newly purchased home or lived at the same address for years, you might feel like a roof replacement is in your future. And you’re likely right if you’re experiencing any of these common signs it’s time for a roof replacement:
- Your roof leaks or has gaps
- There is interior water damage and stains
- Shingles are curling, cracked, dented, or completely missing
- Your roof is discolored
- Algae and moss are growing on the roofing materials
- Monthly energy costs and usage are rising in your home
- Asphalt shingles are shedding excessive granules
- Moisture and mold are present in your attic
- It’s outlasted the average life expectancy
If you’re tired of performing roof repairs constantly or dealing with any of the issues listed above, it’s time to get in touch with an experienced roofing contractor.
Professional roofing contractors can assess your existing roof with a thorough roof inspection and complete a full roof replacement quickly and correctly. They can even make suggestions to help you select a roofing material that’s most suitable for where you live!
How Long Does a Roof Last By Roofing Material ⏳
Every roofing material is different, and we don’t just mean in terms of the way they look. Explore a breakdown of average life expectancy by roofing material below:
Due to their affordability and relative durability, asphalt shingle roofs are some of the most prevalent roofing systems nationwide. There are three primary types of asphalt shingles to select from, all with varying lifespans:
- Three-tab asphalt shingles – 15 to 25 years
- Architectural shingles/dimensional shingles – 30 to 50 years
- Luxury or premium shingles – 40+ years
Three-tab asphalt shingles are the cheapest option but offer the shortest average lifespan. More expensive architectural shingles or luxury asphalt shingles will have a higher cost but will also keep you protected for far longer, thanks to the premier materials.
Metal Roof Systems
Metal roofing is also gaining traction across the country because metal roof systems are strong, stylish, and super-efficient. A high-quality metal roof replacement should last between 40 and 70 years with proper maintenance. Pick from a variety of metal roofing styles, such as:
- Metal roof shingles
- Standing seam roofing
- Ribbed metal panels
- Corrugated metal roofs
Roofing tiles are some of the strongest and longest-lasting roofing systems. You can expect an average lifespan of at least 50 years or even upwards of 100+ years for roofing tiles like:
- Clay tiles
- Slate tiles
- Stone-coated steel tiles
- Concrete tiles
Wood Roof Materials
Many homeowners love the classic countryside look of wood shingles, all the while forgetting about the considerable maintenance that comes along with them, as well as the steeper price tag.
You can install a wood shingle roof or select wood shakes, which resemble wooden shingles but are actually split by hand to offer a more rustic, rough-cut aesthetic for about $8-$15 per square foot. And with the right care and upkeep, a wood shingle roof can last 25 to 30 years — but wood shingles will require the most maintenance out of all the materials listed here.
When installed properly, a flat roof should last about 20 years. The good thing about flat roofs is that they can be easily coated and sealed for further longevity, and minor repairs or maintenance is simple since you have much easier access to the roof’s surface.
Another newer option is rubber roofing, lasting between 40 and 50 years. You might also hear rubber roofs referred to as composite shingles or roofing. These shingles are manufactured with durability, making them a stronger material than an asphalt roof, and they are available at a similar cost.
Factors That Can Affect How Long a Roof Lasts 🔨
Although most modern systems are manufactured to last decades, it’s clear that no two roof materials are exactly alike when it comes to their life expectancy. Several factors can come into play, impacting your roof’s lifespan. Let’s take a look:
- Roofing materials – Of course, the type of roofing material you select will determine how long your roof replacement lasts. Metal roofing and clay or slate roofing tiles will far outlast roofing materials like asphalt shingles or flat modified bitumen.
- Quality of installation – It’s important to work with professional roofing contractors who have the proper tools, skills, and knowledge to ensure your roof replacement is completed the right way the first time and continues to function correctly for years to come.
- Underlayment – If the sub-structure of your roof is unstable, it’s not smart to install a new roof over the damaged areas. It’s crucial to ensure that your roof’s underlayment is intact before starting a roof replacement because if it’s not, you could be looking at more costly repairs or another whole roof replacement within a much shorter period of time.
- Ventilation – You’re also going to need adequate ventilation both on the roof’s surface and in your attic to help prolong the lifespan of a roof. Without attic and roof vents, you’re at risk of excess moisture build-up, ice dams, roof leaks, and other frustrating issues. Your roofing contractor can help determine what types of vents are best for your roofing system (because there are a lot to choose from).
- Roof slope – You might not think about it, but the slope of your roof can really make a difference in how long it will last as well. Sloped roofs allow rainwater and melting snow to run off much faster than flatter roof systems, leaving you more susceptible to wear and tear. Keep this in mind, as it can affect the overall length of your roof’s lifespan.
- Climate – Where you live also plays a major role in roof longevity. Homeowners who live in areas where heavy snow and regular rain or hail storms are common should expect a shorter lifespan out of their roofs. Dry, sunny environments also need to worry about UV exposure, discoloration, and other common roofing issues. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with maintenance to ensure your home and roof are equipped to protect you no matter what the weather is like outside.
- Poorly done DIY roof repairs – Roofing is a tough job, and even the most seasoned and knowledgeable homeowners can still make mistakes when attempting to repair their roofs alone. Not only can this void your roofing warranty, but it will also leave you with an even more expensive roof repair in the future. Find a roofing contractor you trust to get the job done right, so you can relax knowing that your roof will last.
- Regular roof maintenance – One of the top reasons homeowners experience premature roof failure is a lack of roof maintenance. Regular roof maintenance can keep your roofing system in tip-top shape and extend its lifespan tenfold. Talk with your roofing company about the best course of action when it comes to maintaining your specific roofing material after a roof replacement.
You can prolong your roof lifespan tenfold with the right materials, proper installation, and regular maintenance. All it takes is a little care and attention to ensure your entire roof remains intact for years to come.
Tips to Prolong Your Roof’s Lifespan ✅
Replacing your roof is no small undertaking. This is a significant investment that you don’t want to see going to waste in just a few short years when there are plenty of ways to prolong the lifespan of a roof.
Here are some helpful tips to guarantee that you get your money’s worth after a roof replacement:
- Hire an experienced roofing company with specific expertise in your chosen material — an asphalt shingle roof is much simpler to install than heavy clay tile roofs or slate roofs, so true specialists should only do these jobs.
- Complete regular maintenance throughout each season to ensure your roof lasts
- Take a look at your roof after every storm to assess any damage and remove large debris from the surface as soon as it’s safe to do so
- Clean your gutters regularly (and install gutter guards when possible)
- Assess the existing ventilation on your roof and in the attic, and install additional vents as necessary
- Remove snow, ice, and ice dams as soon as they arise using a roof rake, chemical de-icer, or with professional snow removal and ice dam steaming services
- Make minor repairs immediately (i.e., replacing loose, cracked, or missing shingles, filling in attic insulation, patching small roof leaks) before issues become extensive
- Use roof sealant or a professional coating to decrease the effects of heavy rain, UV rays, and other weathering agents
- Schedule an annual roof inspection with a professional roofer
Whether you want to install wood shingles or are considering installing a slate tile or clay tile roof, many reliable ways exist to extend a roof lifespan. Talk more with your roofer to determine the best methods for you to utilize specifically to make your roof last based on where you live and the type of material you select.
When to Have Your Roof Replaced by the Pros 👷🏻
Are you worried that your home’s roof has finally reached the end of its lifespan? Now is probably the best time to reach out to a profession to make sure the job gets done right. Not only can they educate you on the roofing materials to best suit your needs, but they will ensure that your roof is installed correctly.
Get in touch with the dedicated team at Northface Construction today to ensure your next roof replacement goes smoothly and that you get the most out of your roof’s lifespan in the coming decades (or more!).