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How Long Does a Roof Last on Average?

how long does a roof last getting long lasting roof

While it would be nice if every roof lasted forever, the reality is that roofing materials degrade over time. That eventually, a home will need roofing work prompts many homeowners to wonder exactly how long it will be until they have to bear the cost of an entire roof replacement.

If you are wondering how long does a roof last, or more specifically, how long your roof will last, here is a summary of factors that affect a roof’s lifespan and a rough estimate of how long specific roofing materials last on a typical residential roof.

Why Roofs Degrade

Several factors play into the longevity of a roof.

Roofing Material

how long does a roof last deciding on best materials

Whether you are using bargain basement asphalt shingles, stone-coated steel tiles, slate, clay, or metal roofing, roof materials are not created equal, even among the best quality materials.

Slate roofing, for example, has an average lifespan that exceeds just about all other types of roofing, except maybe well-kept standing seam copper panels. Clay tile roofs or a wood shingle roof will outlast three-tab asphalt shingles. 

The type of materials your existing roof has will go a long way in determining how long your type of roof lasts and when you need to have a new roof installed.

Weather

Your roofing system bears the brunt of everything our planet can throw at it. UV rays, severe weather, extreme heat, brutal cold, things falling on it, mold, mildew, and moss, all factor into the average roof’s life.

In some scenarios, constant beating by the weather and environment can lead to premature roof failure and a need to replace your roof much sooner than you anticipated.

Average Roof Lifespan

how long does a roof last deciphering roof age

Another factor in determining the average lifespan of a roof is its age. Roofs, as mentioned, do not last forever, no matter what long-lasting roofing materials get used. As a roof ages, the external pressures mentioned above take a greater toll.

For example, a tree falling on a slate roof in year one will have less of an impact than a tree falling on a slate roof in year 50. Likewise, asphalt shingle roofs withstand the high winds of a major storm much better in the final five years of their expected lifecycle.

Construction Quality

How well your roof is constructed also factors into its longevity. If you put on a new roof yourself, it is very likely it will not last as long as it would if you had used professional roofing contractors. 

All things equal, an experienced roofing contractor can ensure that you do not need a new roof until it has achieved a rational life expectancy.

Also, regular roof maintenance is critical. Ask yourself the following:

Do you make sure to have your roof inspected each year?

Do you promptly perform roof repair as soon as the damage gets discovered?

Do you ensure that roof repair professionals only use premium shingles and other materials?

The answer to each of those questions goes a long way toward determining the lifespan of your roof and when you will need your roof replaced.

General Roof Life Expectancy

Every type of roof has a general lifespan. The factors above go a long way toward determining if your roof achieves the optimum lifespan. Still, you can make certain assumptions regarding the minimum time your roof will last. Of all the

Asphalt Shingles

how long does a roof last getting best asphalt shingle

By far, an asphalt shingle roof is one of North America’s most popular roofing materials. The reason is that an asphalt shingles roof is durable, relatively low cost, and easy to maintain.

A downside to asphalt roof shingles, however, is that their lifespan is limited to 15 to 30 years. Once a roof hits 15 years, it will show its age, leading to missing shingles, ripped or broken shingles, and, eventually, asphalt roof replacement.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles, or composite shingles, are more expensive and last longer, although comparable to asphalt. An architectural shingled roof is expected to last a minimum of 25 to 30 years.

Metal Roofing

Depending on the gauge of the metal sheeting, metal roofing is one of the more durable materials you can use. The lower the gauge, the thicker the metal roof sheeting, and thus, the longer the lifespan for most metal roofs.

For example, a metal roof gauge of 22 to 24 will last you 50 years or more, while a gauge of 25 to 29 will be around for about 20 to 25 years. Metal roofs normally have a warranty that covers a minimum of 20 years.

Fiber Cement Shingles

how long does a roof last using fiber cement material

Concrete tiles are chosen as a roofing material because you can paint them to look like other tile roofs, they are extremely durable and relatively low maintenance. The lifespan of cement roofing is up to 50 years.

Wooden Shingles and

Wood shingles look great, age well, and can last you around 30 years with proper care. The downside is that maintenance costs run higher and annual inspections are necessary. If you ignore issues like roof leaks, a wood roof can quickly develop larger issues like mold and rot.

Clay Tiles

Most people choose clay tile roofs for their energy efficiency and durability. Naturally weather, wind, and fire resistant, a clay tile roof, with proper maintenance, which can be time intensive and expensive but worth it, will easily last over 50 years.

Clay tiles can also take a beating without sacrificing their look, and because a clay roof is heavier, many areas of the country that experience frequent major storms opt for clay tile roofing.

Slate Tile Roofs

Slate roofs are beautiful, expensive, and long-lasting.

Aesthetically, sloped roofs covered in slate tiles are hard to beat and will last at least 50 years if properly maintained, according to most slate tile manufacturers.

The downside to slate roofing tiles is that they are heavy and expensive. For flat roofs or commercial buildings, a rubber slate tile roof is an option that provides an equally long lifespan.

Final Thoughts

How long does a roof last? That depends on multiple factors, explained above. The key for each is regular inspections and timely maintenance and repair.

Contact Trust Roofing today to learn more about how long your roof can last on average and schedule a professional roof inspection to ensure the longevity of your roof.

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