How Long Does a Roof Last? [Timeline]
December 27, 2022
6 minutes read
The roof of your home will not last forever, unfortunately. Each type of material will have its lifecycle, requiring replacement eventually. But how long does a roof last? Knowing that timeline will help indicate when it’s time to replace it before it starts causing problems like mold or water damage.
The average roof will last between 15 and 25 years with some standard roofing materials, while more luxury choices can provide a lifecycle that reaches 75 to 100 years or more.
In addition, there are ways you can help extend the life of your roof and make it more energy-efficient. This guide covers various roofing materials and their lifespan, along with several factors that impact durability and longevity, to find a more cost-effective solution.
Elements That Affect How Long a Roof Lasts
Although many manufacturers boast their materials will last for extended periods, you will be looking at a shorter lifespan if you don’t properly care for them. Here are some elements that directly affect your roof’s lifecycle.
- Clogged gutters
- Overgrown trees and vegetation
- A buildup of moss or debris
- Improper roof ventilation
- Inadequate insulation
- The underlay materials
- The color of the roofing material
- Ice dams
- Annual roofing inspections
- Damaged or missing pieces
No matter what roofing system you have, it’s vital that you perform routine maintenance to keep it functional and prevent problems. For example, clogged gutters can force water over the edges and seep into the roof and foundation, causing water damage, rot, mold, and mildew in the home.
If you have nearby trees or vegetation, trimming them back will keep leaves, sap, or twigs from collecting on the roof or clogging the gutters. In addition, large trees can snap during extreme weather and fall on your roof, causing damage.
Improper Installation Methods and Materials
Roofs that aren’t installed properly or use substandard materials will not last as long as they should. For example, poor attic ventilation can create excessive moisture, causing rot or mildew, while sub-par underlay materials will not adequately protect your home from rain, snow, or hail.
Another consideration is the color of your roofing materials. Some regions that experience high temperatures will find dark-colored roofs to break down quicker than lighter options. Therefore, your roof color can also determine how long it lasts.
Annual inspections are critical in keeping your roof in shape and functioning. Many homeowners hire a professional contractor to come in once a year to look for any potential problems like broken or missing shingles and flashing or gutter issues.
However, if you live in an area that experiences severe hail or other damaging weather, these inspections should follow a storm and know how long does a roof last. The sooner you find and tackle issues, the less likely they will become serious, and you can keep your roof lasting for years.
The Lifespan Of a Roof: By Material
Because not all roofing materials are equal, this guide dives into the many popular roofing types for a more accurate lifespan.
Asphalt shingles are some of the most affordable roofing choices for homeowners. They are easy to install, lightweight, and suit many styles of houses. However, this material has a short life since they are vulnerable to high winds, hail, and extreme weather and temperatures.
Consequently, asphalt shingles will come in basic and luxury models, providing homeowners with options for longer-lasting materials. Even so, you should expect a shingled roof to last between 12 and 20 years before it needs replacement.
Unfortunately, synthetic materials will vary significantly, depending on the manufacturer. Therefore, determining how long a synthetic roof will last widely depends on if they use fiberglass, rubber, composite recycled materials, or a combination of these.
On average, a synthetic roof can last as little as ten years or extend up to 25 years. So, it’s important to explore exactly what makes up your synthetic shingles to determine their longevity more accurately.
Wood shingles and shakes can be a terrific alternative to asphalt materials. They are attractive and will withstand the elements better. However, wood shingles and shakes are susceptible to water damage and rot if they don’t have regular waterproofing.
The average wood shingle or cedar shake roof will last between 20 and 25 years. Of course, shingles are thinner than shakes, so they will land on the lower end of the scale. Consequently, shakes are thicker and ensure higher longevity.
A terrific choice for a long-lasting roofing material is metal. Consequently, there are several metal roofing style options, including metal shingles, sheets, and corrugated panels. Each type will have its advantages and will be suitable for different structures.
While metal shingles are durable enough to last between 30 and 50 years, metal sheets and panels will be functional for slightly longer. In addition, selecting metals like zinc or copper will extend their lifespan by up to 100 years when you choose these premium materials.
Concrete and clay roofing tiles tend to be a more durable material that also lasts longer than others. These options provide superior resistance to extreme weather and UV rays but have drawbacks.
Clay and concrete tiles are heavy and require a unique support structure to ensure it includes a proper installation that will protect the home and not cause damage. Even so, professionally installed clay or concrete tiles can last 100 years or more, making them the only roof material you will put on your home.
So, how long does a roof last? The answer lies within its materials, installation process, environment, and routine maintenance. So naturally, the less-expensive roofing materials are, the less likely they will last since you are paying for quality.
While standard asphalt shingles roofs will last around 12 to 20 years, high-quality metals and clay or concrete tiles can provide a functional roof from 50 to 100 years or more.
However, no matter what roofing material you choose for your home, it will require regular maintenance and care to ensure it will last as long as intended. Without it, you risk decreasing the life of your roof.