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How Long Does a Roof Last? (2024 Guide)

Different types of roofs last for different periods of time. Learn how long your roof will last in our guide.

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Author Icon By Angela Bunt Updated 01/14/2024

Whether you’re a new or long-time homeowner, you’ve probably wondered how long your roof will remain in good condition. It largely depends on the type of roof you have, but many other factors impact a roof’s life span. This guide details how long various types of roofs last and provides tips for making them last longer.

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How Long a Roof Lasts by Type

An average roof lasts 25–50 years, depending on the quality, durability, and type of roofing material. You typically get what you pay for, so keep in mind that the cheapest option will require replacement sooner. For example, metal roofs cost much more than asphalt ones but last three times longer.

Here’s a breakdown of the average life spans of each roofing material:

  • Architectural shingles: 30–50 years
  • Three-tab asphalt shingles: 10–15 years 
  • Clay tiles: 50+ years 
  • Composite shingles: 40–50 years
  • Concrete tiles: 50+ years
  • Metal roofing: 20–50 years
  • Slate tiles: 50+ years
  • Wood shakes: 40–50 years
  • Wood shingles: 25–30 years

Beyond the type of roofing material, several other factors influence the life span of a roof.

Your local climate and roof’s sun exposure significantly affect its life span. Less durable roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, will deteriorate faster in regions with fluctuating temperatures and extreme storms. Wind, hail, tornadoes, and other stormy weather conditions can also leave divots in the roof, remove protective granules from shingles, and cause moisture buildup that leads to mildew and roof leaks. 

You should also pay attention to the trees near your roof. Make sure branches aren’t rubbing against shingles during high winds and storms. Regularly dispose of any leaves or debris in your gutters as the seasons change, and consider installing gutter guards for routine roof maintenance. 

A roof’s color can also affect its life expectancy. We recommend light-colored roofs in sunnier climates because dark colors absorb more heat from the sun. Overheated shingles are more likely to experience wear and tear, and they make ventilating your roof more difficult.

Underlayment is a waterproof layer that helps protect your roof’s interior if the exterior gets damaged. It prevents moisture buildup and mold issues and is essential so your materials don’t start to rot. 

Poor installation is a common reason roofs don’t last as long as they should. Look for the following signs for a bad roofing job to determine if your roof needs repair:

  • Bad nailing techniques
  • Damaged or missing shingles
  • Mismatched shingles
  • Missing underlayment 
  • No drip edge 
  • Reused flashing
  • Roof stains 
  • Sagging rooflines
  • Water leaks

Your roof’s angle influences its drainage. A roof with poor drainage may require more frequent repairs or replacements. If you have a flat roof or a roof with a low slant, be more diligent about checking for water accumulation that could lead to mold and fungus or cause more severe damage and roof leaks.

Your roof requires proper ventilation to maintain its life expectancy. The roof must remain at a consistent temperature to prevent materials from cracking under pressure. Proper ventilation also reduces the risk of overheating or freezing, making your home’s air conditioning, heating, and other major systems and appliances run efficiently. It’s essential to look for signs of poor roof ventilation and take precautions to control it. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Visible moisture damage inside your home, such as sagging ceilings or peeling paint
  • Visible moisture damage to your home’s exterior, such as deteriorating shingles, decking, soffit, or fascia
  • Extreme temperatures inside your home
  • Moisture in the attic
  • Ice dams in winter

How To Make Your Roof Last Longer

To make your roof last longer before paying for a new roof, schedule annual inspections and check the roof condition yourself each season.

Spotting minor problems, such as damaged shingles, early can help you prevent them from turning into bigger, more expensive issues. If you notice any concerns while checking your roof, call a professional who can further evaluate the problem and provide solutions.

Do Warranties Help With a Roof’s Life Expectancy?

A roof’s life expectancy is typically longer than its warranty. Still, warranties help protect your investment and cover costly roof repairs due to unforeseen circumstances, such as storm damage. Reputable roofing companies and high-quality roofing materials typically have longer warranties.

Our Conclusion

Different roofing materials last for different periods of time. Various factors, such as local weather conditions and how well you keep up roof maintenance, can increase or decrease your roof’s projected life span. Knowing how long your roof is meant to last will help you plan for the expensive process of roof replacement when it arrives. If you think your roof needs repairs or replacement, use our tool below to contact roofing contractors that service your home’s address.

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FAQ About How Long a Roof Lasts

What roof has the longest life span?

Slate roofs and concrete roofs have the longest life spans These two types of roofs last anywhere from 50–100 years, so you may not need to pay for a new roof during your lifetime.

What color roof lasts the longest?

The color roof that lasts the longest depends on your local climate. For example, light-colored roofs last longer in sunny climates because the heat and UV rays are reflected off the roof.

What is the cheapest longest-lasting roof?

Asphalt shingle roofs are one of the cheapest options and last 15–20 years. You can make these roofs last longer by ensuring proper ventilation. Check with a professional roofer to see how the roof should be ventilated, what kind of vent caps it requires, and if it needs ventilation holes.

Keep in mind that some roofs, such as slate and concrete roofs, are more expensive up-front but can last up to 100 years. This may save you money long-term, as roof replacement is costly, and you won’t need it as frequently, if ever.

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