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How Often Should You Replace Your Roof (By Material)

January 31, 2023

6 minutes read

The roof of your home is a significant investment for the property that can cost thousands of dollars to replace when it’s damaged or begins to break down due to age. So, how often should roofs be replaced

The timeline for replacing a roof will depend on the materials, the environment, the installation process, and if the homeowner followed regular maintenance and care. Generally, a typical roof will require replacement between 15 and 50 years, giving you a loose guideline. Therefore, determining the replacement time based on materials will be more accurate. 

Average Lifespan of Roofing Materials To Require a Replacement 

How often should roofs be replaced? It will depend on the life cycles of the roofing materials to better understand when you need to replace your roofing system. This way, you have a more accurate timeline to plan for your next roofing installation. Here is a breakdown of each material and its life cycle. 

Asphalt Shingles 

Standard asphalt shingles are a common less-expensive roofing material option for homes. However, asphalt shingles are less durable than other roofing materials because they are cheaper to manufacture and install. Therefore, you can plan on replacing an asphalt roofing system after 15 to 20 years. 

Consequently, asphalt shingles come in basic 3-tab and luxury architectural models. Although they are both considered asphalt, the latter uses thicker materials and will last up to 10 years longer than 3-tab choices, making them an affordable option that will last 25 to 30 years. 

Fiberglass Shingles 

how often should roofs be replaced fiberglass shingles

Fiberglass shingles use woven fiberglass materials that include an asphalt coating. This choice is a terrific alternative to standard asphalt shingles because the fiberglass is more durable, does not absorb moisture, doesn’t dry out, and won’t change shape over time. 

In the right conditions, a fiberglass roof will need replacing between 25 to 50 years. However, despite their longevity, fiberglass shingles are not ideal for homes that experience extremely high or low temperatures. Therefore, this roofing material won’t last nearly as long if it is on a home that often sustains below-freezing or incredibly high temperatures. 

Composite Shingles 

Composite shingles are roofing choices consisting of synthetic, recycled materials. These roofs carry the same look as a slate or wood shake roof but provide a less expensive and easier-to-install alternative. In addition, this material is lightweight and still as attractive as other roofing styles and doesn’t require as much maintenance and care.  

Depending on the type of composite shingles you choose for a home, some models offer hail resistance, while others are durable enough to withstand 110 mph winds. A typical composite shingle roofing system will need replacing after 30 to 50 years. 

Wood Shingles/Shakes 

Many locations use wood shingles and shake for standard roofing materials. Wood is a natural and beautiful option for many homes and can last decades with regular maintenance and care. However, when comparing these two choices, the shingles are thinner and less durable than wood shakes. 

On average, a wood shingle roof will require replacing after 25 to 30 years, with proper maintenance and care. In contrast, wood shakes will last slightly longer and need replacement between 35 and 40 years. 

Even with this longevity, wood roofing materials require routine waterproofing to keep them from rotting due to moisture. Without this protective coating, wood roofing materials can begin to break down and rot within five years. 

Standing-Seam Metal/Metal Shingles or Shakes 

A long-term roofing solution uses metal materials. There are several ways to incorporate metal as part of your roofing option. 

Standing-seam metal panels lock together, allowing them to contract and expand slightly with weather changes. This metal choice can last between 30 and 50 years with proper maintenance. 

Metal shingles or shakes resemble standard shingles and come in various forms, including steel, aluminum, zinc, and copper. Depending on the material, you can plan to replace your metal shingle roof between 50 and 100 years or more. Steel and aluminum are popular choices that can last between 50 and 75 years, while zinc and copper are more durable, lasting 100 years or more. 

Clay/Concrete Tiles

how often should roofs be replaced clay and concrete tiles

Clay and concrete building materials are not just for ground-level applications. Many homes sport beautiful tiles made of clay and concrete for a durable alternative to other roofing options. In addition, they are resistant to insects, rot, and fire. 

Clay tiles are baked molded clay formed into S-shapes to provide an aesthetically pleasing roofing system that won’t need replacing for at least 50 to 100 years. However, clay material is extremely heavy, making the installation challenging for roofers, and requires additional support from beams in the home. 

Concrete tiles are similar to clay. They weigh a considerable amount, are impressively durable, and can withstand intense weather conditions, rot, fire, and insects. Homeowners with a concrete roofing system will not replace it for at least 50 to 100 years or more. 

Slate Shingles 

Slate shingles are one of the most durable, long-lasting roofing materials available. 

Slate is a natural stone resource that can withstand extreme weather conditions exceptionally well. This attribute makes them a terrific choice for homeowners who don’t want to replace their roofing system while they own the house. However, slate shingles are extremely heavy, which might not be the best option for every home. 

Homes with slate stone shingles or slabs will only need to worry about a replacement once 100 years or more have passed. Even in locations with typical adverse weather, slate is durable enough to stand up for a century at least. 

So, How Often Should Roofs Be Replaced?

Homeowners should plan to replace their roofing system before it begins to cause problems like rotting, mold, mildew, or leaks. Knowing how often should roofs be replaced and understanding the lifespan of each roofing material can help you budget for a timely roof replacement when necessary.

Depending on the existing materials on your home’s roof, you could be looking at a replacement after 15 years with asphalt shingles or 50 years with composite or metal options. In contrast, homes with slate, concrete, or clay roofing systems will last as long as 100 years or more.

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