The age of your roof is a great way to determine if it’s time for a roof replacement. Image source: Greenco Construction Services
Whether you’re buying a new home or you’re planning on staying put in your current house, you probably have an idea of the condition of your roof. But, it can be hard for homeowners to gauge exactly when they should get a roof replacement.
In this article, we discuss 5 different types of roofs, how long each different roof type lasts, and what signs to look out for when your roof needs to be replaced.
On This Page
- How Long Does a Roof Last?
- What Factors Impact How Long Your Roof Lasts?
- Different Roof Types and How Long They Last
- Asphalt Shingles
- Metal Roofing
- Wood Shakes and Shingles
- Clay Tile Roof
- Slate Tile Roof
- Increase Your Roof Lifespan With Regular Roof Maintenance
How Long Does a Roof Last?
One of the key factors that determine if you need a new roof is age. Now, we all know roofs don’t last forever, but homeowners may be asking themselves: how long does a roof last?
Generally, you can expect your roof to last about 20 years. But, the actual lifespan of your roof depends on a number of things, including the type of roofing materials that were used as well as the environment.
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What Factors Impact How Long Your Roof Lasts?
- Quality of the installation workmanship - A poor quality installation will shorten your roof’s lifespan.
- Environmental conditions - Exposure to high winds, extreme temperatures, and falling debris can decrease how long your roof lasts.
- The quality of materials used - Cheaper materials won’t cost as much upfront but will have to be replaced more often than other expensive roofing materials.
- The type of roofing material used - Each roofing material has different durability, making them last longer or shorter in different conditions.
While there are several factors that impact how long your roof lasts, your roof's lifespan most heavily depends on the materials used. Let's take a closer look at the various roof types and how long each of them lasts.
Different Roof Types and How Long They Last
Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in the United States because they are affordable, durable, and include warranties of up to 25 years. Made of fiberglass and asphalt sealant, asphalt shingles can effectively protect your roof structure from snow, wind, rain, and harsh UV rays.
Most asphalt shingle roofs will last between 15 and 30 years. However, this can vary based on the climate and weather conditions of where you live. For example, asphalt shingles won’t last as long in Arizona, because the dramatic temperature changes will cause the shingles to crack.
Curling is a tell-tale sign that an asphalt shingle roof is approaching the end of its lifetime. Image source: Vertex Roofing Contractors
The type of asphalt shingle roof will also influence how long your roof will last.
- 3-tab shingles typically last between 15 and 20 years. They are the cheapest asphalt shingle option.
- Architectural shingles, or dimensional shingles, have a longer lifespan of 20 to 30 years. However, architectural shingles do come at a higher price tag.
- Premium shingles can last between 25 and 40 years and have the highest price.
When your asphalt shingles start to reach between 15 and 20 years in age, or if your roof has experienced storm damage, you should consider a roof inspection to determine if you need a replacement.
Signs you need an asphalt roof replacement: Cracked shingles, curling, and/or mineral granules from the shingles in your gutters.
A metal roof can last anywhere between 40 and 70 years with warranties from 20 years to a lifetime, depending on the type of metal and the design of the roof. Metal roofs made of premium metals like copper and zinc can sometimes last for over 100 years!
Metal roofing is extremely durable, especially when premium metals are used. Image source: Powell’s Roofing & Siding
There are a few different types of metal roofing, and each one offers a different lifespan.
- Stand seam metal roofing, the most common type of residential metal roof, has a lifespan of 50 years and can withstand winds over 100 miles per hour.
- Ribbed metal panels are cheaper to install than standing seam roofing, but they only last between 25 and 50 years.
- Stone-coated steel tiles are popular in areas prone to hurricanes, like Florida. This type of metal roof lasts between 30 and 50 years and can withstand wind speeds up to 155 miles per hour.
Signs you need a metal roof replacement: Widespread rust, discoloration, roof leak damage, water staining in the attic, and/or mold.
Wood Shakes and Shingles
Usually, a wooden shingle roof lasts for about 30 years with warranties that run up to 40 years. In order for wood shingles and shake roofs to last, however, you need to perform regular maintenance. Wooden roof upkeep includes yearly cleanings, as well as repainting or staining every 5 years.
Wooden shakes can last for decades if properly maintained. Image source: Westshore Roofing
The type of wood that you use will also determine how long the roof will last. Cedar shakes, for example, last longer than other types of wooden shingles because cedar is rot and insect-resistant. Cedar shakes are also able to withstand winds up to 245 miles per hour, which makes them a popular type of roofing material for coastal homes.
Signs you need a wooden roof replacement: Splitting shingles, rotting shingles, pest damage, mold, and/or algae growth.
Clay Tile Roof
Clay tile roofs are extremely durable and can last anywhere between 50 to 100 years, and manufacturers offer warranties anywhere from 30 years to a lifetime! The life expectancy of clay tile roofs is so long because tiles are weather, rot, and fire-resistant.
To ensure that your clay tile roof lasts as long as possible, it’s important to properly clean your roof. If a clay tile roof isn’t regularly cleaned, algae, moss, and mold can accumulate. Moss is the most dangerous, as its roots can penetrate the tiles, ultimately causing roof leaks.
Clay tile roofing looks great and could last a lifetime! Image source: RoofClaim
Clay tile roofs won’t last as long in colder climates, as constant freezing and thawing can easily damage the tiles. However, you can have your clay tiles sealed to help prevent cold weather impacts.
Signs you need a clay tile roof replacement: Cracked tiles, chipped tiles, pieces of tile in gutters, roof leaks, and/or water staining in the attic.
Slate Tile Roof
Slate roofs have one of the longest life expectancies of any roofing material, ranging from 75 to 200 years. Slate tile manufacturers offer warranties ranging anywhere from 50 years to a lifetime. Slate holds up great to extreme weather conditions, like high winds or changing temperatures. It also doesn’t require much maintenance, as slate retains almost no moisture.
Slate is one of the longest-lasting roofing materials and it requires very little maintenance. Image source: Black Diamond Slate
Keep in mind that slate is extremely heavy - 100 square feet of slate will weigh around 1,000 pounds. Before installing a slate roof, you need to have your roofing system inspected to make sure it can withstand that weight.
Signs you need a slate tile roof replacement: Missing shingles, cracked shingles, and/or water damage in the attic.
Increase Your Roof Lifespan With Regular Roof Maintenance
The key to having a long-lasting roof is to schedule regular roof maintenance and inspections performed by roofing contractors. By identifying issues early and performing roof repairs, you can extend your roof’s lifespan with these small home improvements.
If it is time for you to consider a new roof, get in contact with local roofing contractors to receive multiple quotes on the cost of a replacement. With a trusted roofer on your side, you’re sure to have a long-lasting roof that will shelter you for years to come.
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What is the lifespan of a roof? ›
Slate, copper and tile roofs, which are on the upper end of the price spectrum, can last more than 50 years. Homeowners with wood shake roofs should expect them to last about 30 years, while fiber cement shingles last about 25 years and asphalt shingle/composition roofs last about 20 years, the NAHB found.Which type of roof has a longer life? ›
The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) rates slate as by far the longest lasting roofing material, with a life expectancy of 150+ years, followed closely by clay and concrete at roughly 100 years.What is the lifespan of roof tiles? ›
While clay roof tiles have been used on roofs for centuries, concrete tiles have become more widespread over the last half a century. Manufacturers of both clay and concrete roof tiles typically guarantee their products for 30 years but often suggest that 60 years is a reasonable expectation of their service life.What is the lifespan of 3 tab shingles? ›
They stand up better to weather conditions such as heat, snow, ice, rain, and strong winds. Their average lifespan is about 18 to 20 years. However, they may last up to 30 years under optimal conditions. When 3-tab shingles are exposed regularly to severe weather, they may last about 7 to 10 years.What's the lifespan of a metal roof? ›
Metal roofs offer many benefits, including: Longevity. Metal roofs can last 40-70 years, depending on the material.How long does a flat roof last? ›
A properly maintained flat roof can last for decades, depending on the materials. A built-up roof or layers of modified bitumen can last for up to 20 years. Lightweight thermoplastic polyolefin or spray-on coatings of polyurethane foam, acrylic or silicon have a similar lifespan.What is the lifespan of a clay tile roof? ›
Grade 1 clay roof tiles have the potential to last 100 years or more. Ludowici Clay Roof tiles are commonly known to go well beyond 100 years.Which is best tiles for roof? ›
Clay and concrete are by far two of the longest lasting roof tile materials available to buy. With a potential life expectancy of over 100 years, many clay and concrete roof tiles even outlive the property they've been installed on. Slate tiles are another top-level choice in terms of longevity.How often do tile roofs need to be replaced? ›
Tile roofs installed with base flashings only, where gaps exist or cement was used to fill them, can expect to be replaced between years 15 and 25. Roofs with top flashings only will likely last 40-50 years.What color roof lasts the longest? ›
Both light-colored and dark-colored shingles can last longer if given the necessary maintenance. The only thing tested and proven about light-colored shingles is that they help us keep the indoor temperature cooler in the hot summer season.
What are the longest lasting roof shingles? ›
Of the 3 types of asphalt shingles, the longest lasting are luxury (or premium) asphalt shingles. Luxury asphalt shingles are larger and thicker than 3-tab or architectural shingles, which makes them more durable.Are 3-tab shingles being phased out? ›
They're getting phased out.
Due to being outdated and of lower quality, most reputable roofing contractors will only install 3-tab shingles when that's the only way to match other shingles or when Homeowners' Associations specifically require them.
The most durable types of roofing are slate and clay tiles but they're more expensive than materials like metal or wood. Functional roofing alternatives like green roofs and solar shingles are among the most expensive types. Replacing an old roof is one of the best and most profitable ways to invest in a home.How long will a wood roof last? ›
The typical life of a wood shingle roof is 30-40 years. Similarly, a good quality, properly-installed wood shake roof has a life expectancy of 20-40 years.Can a metal roof last 100 years? ›
Metal roofs are the most durable of all types of residential and commercial roofs. The life expectancy of a metal roof is between 50 and 100 years, and some manufacturers claim they can last almost indefinitely.What is the life expectancy of a copper roof? ›
How Long Do Copper Roofs Last? A copper roof lasts much longer than traditional roofs such as a replacement asphalt shingle roof. New copper roofs can last from 60 to 100 years with little maintenance needed throughout their lifespan.What is the lifespan of steel? ›
Steel buildings face fewer issues with deterioration and corrosion than concrete or wood, and can out live other structures when properly built and maintained. Most steel buildings last anywhere from 50 to 100 years.Can a flat roof last 30 years? ›
A flat membrane roof lasts 25-30 years, depending on the type you choose. To be a little more specific, you should get around 25 years out of a TPO membrane or PVC membrane flat roof. On the other hand, an EPDM roofing membrane is more durable than the other two and should last around 25 to 30 years.What is a flat roof called? ›
Flat roofs, or "low-slope" roofs, are also commonly found on commercial buildings throughout the world. The National Roofing Contractors Association defines a low-slope roof as having a slope of 3 in 12 (1:4) or less.How long does a white rubber roof last? ›
A well-installed rubber roof is incredibly durable, lasting between 40 and 50 years if properly maintained. Of course, rubber roofs will last much longer if installed with proper drainage in mind.
How often do clay roofs need to be replaced? ›
Generally, your roof's average service life depends on the type of material it's constructed from—clay or concrete tiles can usually last 20 to 30+ years, and potentially even longer as long as they're well-maintained and small problems aren't allowed to sit and grow.What is the life expectancy of a roof in Florida? ›
While asphalt shingles come with warranties of 20 to 30 years, their lifespan in Florida is much shorter. High-quality architectural shingles have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. Conversely, 3-tab shingles are expected to last 10 to 12 years. Tile roofs in Florida last from 25 years to 50 years.How long does concrete tile last? ›
Concrete. Concrete tiles are heavier than clay and are more durable. The expected lifespan of concrete tiles is, on average, about 50 years.Can you walk on a tile roof? ›
To avoid a serious fall, only walk on completely dry tiles. For steep roofs, use a safety harness that will anchor you to the roof in case you slip. Soft-rubber-soled shoes, like sneakers, will limit breakage and give you better traction on the slippery tiles, compared to heavy shoes or boats.What is a Sri tile? ›
SRI tiles for weather proof
Patented in design with a reasonable choice of colours and designs, SRI tiles are glazed to achieve maximum whiteness and scratch resistance. The glossy matt finish is embossed and delivers an anti-skid surface as well. The grooves are also glossy and this facilitates easy cleaning.
Asphalt Shingles: 15-30 years. Wood Shingles: 20-25 years. Rubber Roofs: 30-50 years. Metal Roofs: 50-75 years.Does a cracked roof tile need to be replaced? ›
Do Cracked Roof Tiles Need to Be Replaced? Cracked roof tiles absolutely need to be replaced. Having broken tiles, even just one or two, can cause major issues with your roof and your home.Do tile roofs leak? ›
Roof tiles can be susceptible to leaks caused by various problems depending on the installation workmanship, the quality of the tile itself, top flashing, maintenance, and age. Typically, the way the leak is repaired will differ depending on the actual cause of the issue.What type of roof is most expensive? ›
The most expensive type of roofing material is slate.
For labor and materials, you can expect the cost of a slate roof to start around $15.00 per square foot and has the potential to get up to around $30.00 or more per square foot.
Best of all, green roofs are considered energy-efficient and naturally reduce the heat island effect. They also add oxygen back into the air, making them particularly important for large urban sprawls and areas that experience high traffic congestion.
What color roof is the coolest? ›
White roofing products stay coolest in the sun, reflecting about 60 – 90% of sunlight.Do solar panels make roof last longer? ›
Can solar panels make your roof last longer? Actually, yes! When you install solar panels, , they act as a stellar protectant for your roof, which can actually extend its life.What are discontinued shingles? ›
They may discontinue a specific color or an entire line of shingles for a variety of reasons, including changes in the manufacturing process, a lack of sales or the need to free up production for a more lucrative product.Do they still make 20 year shingles? ›
20-year shingles or 3-tab shingles, aren't recommended often. Because of this, they are used less frequently, and therefore they are generally special order only.Which is better asphalt or architectural shingles? ›
Traditional asphalt shingles offer great durability, especially in mild climates. But if you live in an area that is particularly windy or prone to extreme winter weather, architectural shingles provide superior protection against these elements.How often does a roof need replacing? ›
According to most roofing experts, a standard roof should last between 20-25 years, depending on the initial installation and upkeep. If your roof is reaching the end of its life expectancy or is in a bad state of repair, you must arrange to have it replaced to avoid any damage to the interior of your home.How do you know when roof needs replacing? ›
- Cracked shingles.
- Damaged or curled shingles.
- Loose or missing shingles.
- Damage or discoloration around vents.
- Missing granules.
- Moss or algae growth.
- Damage around chimneys or skylights.
Concrete, clay, and slate tiles have an average lifespan of 100 or more years. They are without a doubt the materials that last the longest but are also, bar none, some of the most expensive. Slate roofs are often called the “forever roof” because they can last seemingly forever.How long will a 50 year roof last? ›
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding how long a 50-year roofing shingle could last. Sure, the product label says it will last you for 50 years, but in reality, installing these shingles in roof systems would last you between 30 to 40 years at best (if you are lucky enough for you're flashing to ask that long).How long should a new roof last without leaking? ›
For a standard 3-tab asphalt shingle roof, that's 25-years. As long as your roof has been properly ventilated and installed you should get pretty close to that 25 years of roof life. So obviously you want to replace your roof before it starts leaking or fails completely.
Can you replace a roof tile from inside? ›
Many customers ask us this question, but unfortunately, it's not possible to remove or replace a broken roof tile from underneath. If you're not comfortable with working at height and replacing your roof tile from the outside, we'd recommend hiring a qualified professional to do the job.How do you know if your roof is leaking? ›
Drips. Water dripping from the ceiling might be the most obvious sign that your roof has a leak. However, you may not always be able to see it clearly; if you hear dripping sounds but can not pinpoint exactly where they come from, it is likely that you have a leak inside the walls of your home.How do I know if my roof is bad? ›
- Sunken Roof. If your roof begins to sink and buckle in, you should contact a roofer immediately, as this is a sure sign of rotting. ...
- Water Spots. ...
- Moss & Algae Growth. ...
- Missing & Cracked Shingles. ...
- Defective Construction Materials.
Do your gutters need to be removed during a roof replacement? Most customers usually replace their gutters when they replace their roof. However, if your gutters are fairly new or the material's integrity is holding strong, you probably aren't replacing them during your roof replacement.What type of roof is best? ›
The most durable types of roofing are slate and clay tiles but they're more expensive than materials like metal or wood. Functional roofing alternatives like green roofs and solar shingles are among the most expensive types. Replacing an old roof is one of the best and most profitable ways to invest in a home.What color roof lasts the longest? ›
Both light-colored and dark-colored shingles can last longer if given the necessary maintenance. The only thing tested and proven about light-colored shingles is that they help us keep the indoor temperature cooler in the hot summer season.Do 30 year shingles actually last 30 years? ›
Shingles Do Not Have a Guarantee
The truth is, a 30-year shingle will not really last 30 years. The expected service life of a 30-year product, if properly cared for, is approximately 25 years. If it's not cared for properly, that 30 year shingle will only last 12 to 15 years.
The average lifespan of different types of roofs include: 15-30 years for asphalt shingles. 20-50 years for composite shingles. 30 years for modified rubber shingles.Is there a 40-year roof? ›
There are many kinds of shingles out there with an array of colors to select. Shingles also come in different sizes and weights. Yet, one thing seems to be common between all shingle brands—that there are 30-year, 40-year, 50-year, and limited lifetime warranties available.