How Long Does a Roof Last?

how long does roof last - life time of a roof

Your roof literally keeps your house together by providing necessary structural support. Without it, you would be open to the elements and of course, electric wiring and other essentials such as lighting just couldn’t happen.

A new roof is a major expense and most homeowners are naturally curious about how long theirs might last. The strange thing is that even though most folks are aware that they can be expensive there are some crazy things that people do to their roofs.

To make a roof last as long as it should it needs to be cared for like any other part of the home. Here is how you can maximize the length of your roof’s life and know when it is time for a new one.

How long do roofs last?

Two of the determining factors that decide how long your roof will last are the materials used and the way it is looked after.

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used type of roofing due to their cost and they will last between 15 and 30 years.

Other types of roofing are as follows:

  • Architectural shingles: 25 – 30 years
  • Wood shingles: 30 years
  • Clay tiles: 50 years plus
  • Metal roofs: 70 years plus
  • Slate tiles: 100 years plus

A typical asphalt shingle roof could last up to 30 years and may come with a warranty of 20 to 25 years. To make it last that long it will need some maintenance and care though.

How to look after your roof

There are many things to watch out for when trying to prolong the length of your roof’s life. You can perform some maintenance yourself but often it is better to bring in a professional for certain roofing repairs.

When looking for signs that your roof needs repairing or a replacement you should start by checking inside the attic. Look for leaks and beams of light coming through the roof. Look for stains in the attic that might show signs of water damage and also check for pests which could mean some holes need repairing.

On the outside, it is important to check for missing shingles, especially if there have been heavy storms. Moss growing on the roof is something that needs to be addressed, and if you see any sagging then this is a sign of rot and means you need to call a professional soon.

How to find a reputable roofing company?

One way to check is to look online for Google reviews to see who is recommended locally. You can see if they are a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association. It is always a good idea to seek recommendations from your neighbors and friends too.

Look for a company that will help you with insurance claims if appropriate, is high on customer service, and gives free estimates while advising you on the best approach for repairing your roof.

A local company is often the best approach as it is easy to find out that they are reputable and usually easier to get a quick response. Simply search in Google for Roofing Company Franklin TN if you happened to live in that area or adjust it for your local neighborhood.

Can you repair your roof?

There are millions of very handy DIY enthusiasts throughout the world who would balk at the thought of hiring anyone to do a job they were already capable of. And, this is admirable in many cases.

However, some jobs should perhaps be left to the professionals. Plumbing and heating involving gas should never be touched unless by a pro, and the same may be said for roof repair.

The reasons for this are that not all roofs are the same and some have special issues with flashing or discontinued types of shingles. It can be dangerous on a roof. You could cause more damage than you already had. Lastly, you could also miss hidden damage that a professional would have spotted.

Can you repair your roof

When do you need a new roof?

One of the signs of needing a new roof might be when your neighbors start changing theirs. Houses in residential areas are often built in clusters at the same time so if you notice one or two of your neighbors changing their roofs it might mean yours is not far behind.

If you have been in the same home for twenty years then it might be coming to that time. When wondering how to know if you need a new roof you can look at certain signs. If there are bald patches on the shingles, shingles with curved edges, moss growing, or it just looks old and tired, then it may be time to get a replacement.

Fortunately, there are many professional roof maintenance and replacement companies around.


A roof will normally last a couple of decades to a century depending on what it is made from. To make the most of your roof it is important to keep it maintained and while some things can be done by yourself, a professional roofing company might help your roof last that much longer.

Three ways to expand your roof’s lifespan. Here they are!

If you’re a responsible homeowner, you know that you need to take care of many things, and the roof is just one of them. You don’t always have to call professionals and you can manage some of the maintenance that your roof needs for a longer lifespan.

Inspect& repair

Flashing, seals, and joints

Joints, seals, and flashing are the most common areas for leaks. Loose and dried sealant and punctures are signs that leaks are present. Examine the flashing around the chimney and vents—the risk of leaks is high in these areas as well!

You should seal them to reduce the risk of moisture seeping into the roof and causing damage. Manage any problem the moment it occurs and don’t forget to keep an eye on trees, snow, gutters, and debris.

Examine joints, sealing, and flashing at least once a year. Ideally, you should do it in the fall and spring to ensure that you catch any problem in its early beginning.

Roofing material

You need to see if the shakes, shingles, and metal decking aren’t lifted or cracked. Should you discover damage to the roofing material, you should make repairs so that the damage doesn’t extend to the interior of your home.


Examine the easy-to-see underside of the roof in the attic. See if there’s staining or damage on the plywood, as they signal leakage in the roof. Investigate any watermarks and try to identify the source of the water leak. Needless to say, fix it before the damage worsens.


Go ahead and observe the seals around the skylight. Sometimes, debris collects around the skylight’s edge and alters the seal. If you notice signs of wear and cracking, you have to reapply sealant to reduce the risk of leaks. You must stop water from penetrating altered seals; moisture can seriously damage the roof and roof deck.



You have to remove leaves, sticks, and debris from the gutters to lower the risk of disruption of water drainage in the roof. When the gutters are clogged, rainwater will spill over the gutter’s top and onto the lower parts of the roof. The roof below isn’t made to withstand the high water flow so that the roofing material will wear and develop leaks after some time.


Extend the lifespan of your roof by cleaning it of debris. Debris can trap moisture which damages the roofing material after some time. Moreover, debris will alter efficient water flow off the roof and lead to damage to the roof. Soon enough, the gutters will overflow and the roof will age prematurely.

Algae and fungus

Algae and fungus growth on the roof are more common than you think. Use a bleach solution to clean the roofs of algae and fungus and avoid damage and premature aging. Additionally, algae and fungus produce black streaking on the roof, which alters its appearance.



When big heavy snow hits your home, you have to remove it to help your roof last for the longest time. Removing the snow stops the roof from buckling from the high weight of the snow. It also maintains the roof material in good condition and reduces the risk of damage from long-time exposure to moisture (snow will melt when the weather warms up).

Tree branches

It’s pretty often that tree branches grow over the roof and need removal. In a storm, the tree branches could break and damage the roof, and removing them is the best way to avoid that. Also, tree branches cause shade and collect moisture, which wears out the roofing material faster than dry material.

What factors affect the durability of roofs?

Regular maintenance, repairs, and cleaning play their part in expanding the roofs’ lifespan. However, many factors weigh in, so keep reading for the details:

What factors affect the durability of roofs


Some materials will last longer than others. Many homeowners opt for asphalt shingle as it’s attractive, durable, cheap, and energy-efficient. However, it’s not able to handle use for the longest time. It fades by comparison to concrete and slate.


Poor workmanship constitutes one of the most frequent causes of premature aging of the roof. Even if you buy the best quality roofing material, poor installation can still cause early damage and premature roof replacement.

The elements

All roofs will have to withstand nature. Even if the roofing systems can withstand corrosive elements, heavy rains, strong winds, and hailstone, they will still require maintenance, repair, and replacement at some point.

Sun exposure

Heat speeds up wear and tear, especially if the roofing material has dark colors—they absorb more energy. Excess ultraviolet radiation speeds up roof degradation. Luckily, some roofing products are made with resistance to UV rays; they’re attractive as well.


Ineffective ventilation in the attic alters the roofing materials from the inside, asphalt shingles especially. Additionally, poor ventilation in the attic generates condensation and increases the risk of moisture damage on a wooden roof.


Improper insulation can make the temperatures in the attic rise uncontrollably. Add the poor ventilation and you get to understand why it’s difficult to control the temperature in the attic. Excessive heat/moisture in the attic affects the durability of the roof.


The slope of a roof refers to its ability to shed water. Even the most durable roofing system has limitations on how much ponding it can take before it gives in. For low-slope roofs, the flat roofing systems make for the better option.


Even the toughest and most durable roofing materials require regular maintenance to withstand the test of time. If you don’t keep up with proper and regular maintenance work for your roof, you shouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t last as expected. Keep in mind that skipping the specific maintenance duties can void the warranty for the roof.


Despite all the maintenance, cleaning, repairs, all roofs come to the end of their lifespan. Always take in the age factor of your roof when deciding if you should replace or repair it. Sometimes, it’s not worth repairing a roof that is at the end of its lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the most common cause of roof problems?

Damage from falling branches makes or the most common cause of roof problems. Regardless of what you may think, it’s not only the large branches that can damage the roof, but smaller branches can damage it as well. They come in contact with the roof and rub against it for a long time, eroding the roof’s top layer.

What roofing material has the shortest lifespan?

Asphalt roll roofs are easy to install and represent the no.1 choice for DIY enthusiasts. However, asphalt is the least durable material. Unlike other materials, it can last 5 to 10 years before it requires replacement.

Is there a roofing material that lasts for a century. If so, which one is it?

According to NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), slate stands out from all the other roofing materials with its lifespan. Slate roofs can last for more than 150 years! With proper care and maintenance, concrete and clay roofs can last for  a100 years.

What color roof lasts for the longest time?

If given the necessary maintenance, light-colored and dark-colored shingles can last for a long time. The most crucial difference between light-colored shingles and dark-colored ones is that the first doesn’t raise the indoor temperature in the hot summer.

How much is it to replace a roof?

The average cost for replacing a roof ranges from one region to another. According to Home Advisor, roof replacement costs between $5,100 and $10,000. It doesn’t mean that you cannot pay as low $1,200 or as high as $30,000 for roof replacement. Typically, roofing companies charge between $3,50 and $5.00 per square foot.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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