What is your average roof life expectancy? How long does a roof last?
Homeowners much like yourself ask the aforementioned questions as their roof ages or if they notice their asphalt shingle roof looks like it needs a roof replacement.
You see, a house comprises many different parts, which play a significant role in ensuring it’s in good condition overall. Your home’s roof protects it from the elements and keeps your family dry.
However, all good things end, and your roof is no different. Asphalt shingles, clay tile roofs, wooden shingles, and other roofing materials have life expectancies. Today, we will help you answer the “How long does a roof last?” question and a few more!
Be sure to check out some of our other we-answer articles:
- We Answer: What are my single color options?
- We Answer: What is better, a metal or shingle roof?
- We Answer: What are the parts of a roof?
- We Answer: What are roofing labor costs like?
What’s your roof life expectancy?
A new roof should have a life expectancy of 15 to 100 years. Now, that range is a bit misleading – we get it. The factors determining the lifespan of your roof (which we are about to cover) are why some roofs might need to be replaced in a few years, while others will never need to be replaced.
For example, asphalt shingle roofs are designed to average 15-30 years. On the other hand, a metal roof has a longer life expectancy approaching the 45+ year range. A roof replacement is more common for materials like asphalt shingles than metal roofs.
Let’s look at the top factors impacting your roof’s lifespan!
Factors that impact your roof’s lifespan:
The top two factors that will determine how long you can expect your asphalt shingle roof (or other roofing material) to list include:
- Mother nature
- The type of roofing material you have
And while many variables can determine the lifespan and overall health and wellness of your roof, such as regional climate and the quality of the installation, the upside is roofs usually last a long time! While being one of the most expensive home improvement projects you’ll ever have done, if not the most, chances are you won’t repair or replace them often.
Note: You can read this article here to learn more about our roofing warranty. Below you will find national averages and information that may not pertain to your roof in the Boise, Idaho, area!
1. Roof Materials
The type of roofing material will determine how long your roof will last the most. Asphalt shingles generally last longer than wood shingles, but a metal roof lasts longer than both. Later in this article, we will discuss how long each type of roofing material lasts, but this is the number one determining factor for now.
2. Mother Nature
You could have the best roofer, roofing materials, and a brand new roof, but if mother nature decides to bring a storm your way – roofing system, watch out!
In most cases, an operational roof will handle a significant storm or weather episode well. One sign you need a new roof is when rainstorms, snow, and even normal wind speeds cause issues. Because brand-new roofs often come with manufacturer warranties for up to 130 MPH wind speeds, your roof lifespan should last longer.
However, if your roof is easily impacted by average storms – your roof’s lifespan could be coming to an end.
3. Quality of Installation
Incorrect Nail Patterns & Spacing^
The quality of your roof’s initial installation can make or break the lifespan expectancy of your home’s roof. Regardless of the roofing material, a quality installation will make your roof last longer.
In the photos below, you will see roofs from the Boise, Idaho, area that were incorrectly installed. The roof replacement was conducted after a major wind storm, and the roofing contractors who did this will be held responsible. Hiring the right roofing contractor is vital!
See and learn more about the Legacy Roofing roof replacement process!
Learn about the pricing model and cost guide for a new roof!
Get to know more about the most frequently asked roofing questions!
Similar to the quality of the roof replacement installation, the underlayment is a vital component of your roof system. If not installed correctly by the roofing contractor, the underlayment can actually decrease the roof’s lifespan.
Your roof actually “breathes.” The ridge of your roof and the overhang of your trusses allow air flow to enter and exit your roof. When roof leaks occur, it is often not in these areas, but instead where ventilation pipes, missing shingles, and flashing are installed. Ventilation is vital for your roof, so when done properly, it can increase the life expectancy of it!
Proper roofing maintenance can prevent the need for a roof replacement. Most people do not have to get on their roof and clean it, but the occasional professional roof wash can prevent build-up and grime from latching to your shingles. Over time, build-up can actually decrease the lifespan of your shingles.
Another common issue that can decrease a roof’s life expectancy is the condition of your home’s gutters. Clogged gutters can flood and saturate your roof’s edge causing numerous issues. New gutters are inexpensive, but cleaning them will help prevent major issues!
Lifespan By Material:
Below is the life expectancy of roofs based on the roofing materials themselves. The order is in the most commonly used materials to the least commonly used.
The Lifespan of a Roof with Asphalt Shingles:
Asphalt Shingles: Roofs with this material are generally complemented with a 15 to 30-year warranty and can last between 30 – 40 years.
Asphalt shingles are among the most common roofs that most people have and come in all different colors depending on your preference. However, they are not very dense and more susceptible to natural elements that could wear them down.
Thankfully, they are easier to remove, repair, and replace when the time comes for that! Lower upfront cost, shorter-term solution. Asphalt shingle roofs can be replaced daily and are the most common roofing material found on homes.
Asphalt shingles have come a long way regarding technological advancements and durability. Architectural asphalt shingles offer curb appeal and durability, and because of the heavy design, they often come with a 30-year manufacturer’s warranty!
Primary Asphalt shingle roof types;
- Three-tab asphalt shingles
- Architectural shingles
- Premium asphalt shingles
The cost of asphalt shingles is significantly less than any of the other materials we will discuss. An asphalt roof replacement can range from $5,000 on the low end to $15,000+ all dependent of the size of your home. That said, on average, metal roofs start in the $20,000 price range and go up from there.
Metal Roof Life Expectancy
Metal Roofs: Can last 40 to 70 years and generally come with a 45-60-year warranty.
Metal roofing generally comprises more than one metal, such as zinc, copper, and so forth. This gives it a durability edge that stabilizes it to withstand pressure from the elements efficiently. However, abrasive precipitation over time may leave dents and/or scuffs to the outer exterior, which is rare and more so a cosmetic issue. Metal roofs have also been known to “Fade” in color.
Metal roofs are more specialized than asphalt varieties, requiring professional help to remove, repair, or replace. Higher cost, but a solid long-term solution.
Wood Shingles (Cedar Shake)
The life expectancy of wood shingles is 30-50 years, depending on the style/manufacturer of the singles.
Wood shingles are often found in areas like ski towns or mountain homes. They were once a very popular roof replacement option but maintenance concerns and durability issues have resulted in them being used less frequently. The advancement of architectural shingles has also made the curb appeal wood shingles offered easily duplicatable.
Clay Tile Roofs
Clay tile roofs are often found in desert or coastal-type regions around the United States and can last for up to 100 years. Another very pricey roofing material, clay tiles are seen as a luxury component to a home’s exterior.
A clay tile roof is often used for flat roofs/roofs with a smaller slope.
One of the most expensive roofing materials, slate, is designed to last 100+ years. Yes, you read that correctly. When constructed and installed correctly, a slate roof should outlive you. Most people will use slate roofs for their durability but also for the elegant class it offers for a homeowner. It is very uncommon to see a slate roof unless in a neighborhood with costly homes.
Slate roofing often comes as a “Slate Tile Roof.”
Signs Your Roof Needs to be Repaired or Replaced
When diagnosing whether your roof needs to be repaired or replaced, here is a quick checklist to follow to play it safe! If you experience any of these symptoms, it is recommended to contact your roofing company to assess the extent of your concerns. At the very least, a roof inspection can go a long way in helping you determine the best course of action.
- Shingles that are ripped, cracked, or missing
- Shingles that are dirty, dark in color (contrast with original color), or trapped moisture between shingles.
- Outer edge wear and tear
- Roof unevenness
- Stained and/or discoloration of interior ceilings/walls
Note: Please keep in mind that roofing work is a health hazard in every way, shape, or form and can result in serious bodily harm or death. Do-it-yourself approaches are extremely discouraged unless you have expertise in roofing repair and installation. Always play it safe, and contact a professional to get the job done that fits your needs! The risk outweighs the benefit.
What’s the Verdict?
Roofing Life expectancy is one of those things you may or may not have to worry about, perhaps in a whole lifetime, but having the right knowledge on hand will allow you to deal effectively with roofing concerns. Roof concerns are sometimes relatively easier to spot, whereas others require expertise.
In the marketplace, there are two common forms of roofing material: Metal and Asphalt varieties that span decades in lifespan; however, both differ with added perks and weaknesses. If you are looking to have a roof last longer, choose metal! If you want to save money, choose Asphalt! However, above all else, what may make sense for you may not make sense for everyone.
Chances are you’re not the most experienced when working on the exterior of your house, maybe not at all; therefore, when in doubt, call it out! Contact your local roofing company to see just what’s the right fit for you!
Don’t gamble. Always play it safe.
What are the most durable materials for a roof?
Anything metal or slate will be considered the most expensive roofing material and most durable.
What type of roof lasts the longest?
The most resilient roof is anything metal. Fiber cement shingles are very durable and have a longer average lifespan than an asphalt shingle roof, but remember, roof shingles last long when maintained. Standing seam copper panels or metal roofs look great and last forever, but those, along with slate tile roofs, are very expensive.
What does regular roof maintenance look like?
Roofing maintenance is more of an observation game than anything else. The occasional roof wash every few years will keep your roof clean, and be sure to watch for cracked shingles, missing shingles, and other issues on your existing roof.