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How Long Should My Roof Last Before I Need to Replace it?

Roof Longevity by Material

No matter what type of roof you have, there's a good chance that eventually you'll need to replace it. Some roofing materials are built to withstand harsh weather conditions, while others are more suited for more temperate climates.

It's good to know how long your roof should last under normal conditions and under different types of roofing materials. To get an idea of how long a certain type of roof will typically last, here's a breakdown of the most common types:

Asphalt Shingles

The most popular roofing material on the market today is asphalt shingles. Three-tab shingles are the most common asphalt shingles. The lower edge of each strip is cut into three tabs, giving the illusion of three separate shingles. These shingles usually come with a 25-year manufacturer's warranty.

An asphalt roof should last between 80 and 85 percent of its expected life when properly installed and vented. As a result, asphalt shingle roofs should last 20 to 22 years.

Architectural Shingles

The thickness of architectural shingles equals or exceeds three times that of ordinary asphalt shingles, providing a denser, more rugged roof. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, and have a more appealing design. The average lifespan of architectural shingles is 25 to 30 years.

Clay/Cement Tile Roofing

Despite some "clay" tiles being made of clay, most are made from pigmented concrete molded into shapes, flat surfaces, or interlocking designs. These long-lasting, low-maintenance tiles last 30 to 50 years and come with a lifetime warranty. But expert installation is needed to keep the roof in good condition. Clay tiles can weigh up to 950 pounds per square, so replacing an asphalt roof with clay tiles may require strengthening a home's roof structure.

Composite Shingles

Composite shingles are made of polymer, rubber, or plastic and appear to be wood or slate tiles. In some cases, they are more durable and provide better protection from heat, hail, and fire than the wood tiles they are modeled after. Typically, they last for 40 to 50 years, and are available in a wide range of colors.

Slate Roofing

When properly installed and flashed, slate roofing can last a century or less. How long it lasts depends on the type of slate used. The lifespan of a hard slate, such as a purple slate or a grayish-black Buckingham slate, is 150-200 years. A soft slate, on the other hand, can last between 75 and 90 years.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingle roofs can last longer than asphalt because they are made from natural materials that do not contain any chemicals or additives that may break down over time. The life expectancy of a wood shingle roof that is well-maintained should range between 15 and 30 years, depending on the quality of the shingles used. However, wood shingle roofs may also need replacing if they begin to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance or water damage.

Wood Shakes

Cedar is an excellent choice for wood shakes because of its ability to resist rot and insects. Over time, wood shingles will turn a silvery gray color and can complement just about any style of building. They may be an ideal choice for those who wish to have a more natural look on their homes.

The average longevity of a cedar shake roof system is between 40 and 50 years. Although, the better shape they are kept in, the more likely they will live a long, happy life. There are various factors that can negatively affect the effectiveness and protection of your shakes. These factors include clogged gutters, damaged roofs, and decayed cedar.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a durable option for any house, especially in coastal areas that are prone to hurricanes and tropical storms. These roofs are incredibly long-lasting and should last for 50 years or more before needing replacement.

However, the lifespan of your roof depends on the thickness of the metal. Common roofing materials, such as steel and aluminum, should endure for 50 years before needing to be replaced. Zinc and copper roofs, for example, can survive for 100 years or more.

Make the Right Choice for Your Roofing Project

Quality roofs can last anywhere from 20 to 100 years, depending on the materials used, the quality of the craftsmanship, and the environment. There are a variety of colors and patterns to match any house style, but picking a new roof takes more than just picking a color. The most durable and expensive roofing materials require regular maintenance and professional installation, so ‌consider those factors when choosing a roof.

Are you wondering if it's time to consider replacing your roof? Give us a call for a free analysis and estimate, if a new roof is warranted.


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