As much as we wish your home could have one roof until the end of time, that just isn’t the case. You will likely face a roof replacement in your time as a homeowner unless you have a metal roof or slate roof—but we’ll get into that.
Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material used in the U.S. and last anywhere from 15-20 years. Despite roofing materials having their varying life expectancies, other factors play into how often you need to replace your roof.
Those factors are the type of roof you have, how well it is maintained, how much unrepaired damage it has, and the type of climate or weather it’s been exposed to. These factors can combine to extend or deplete a roof’s lifespan. We’ll go through how long roofs can last and realistically how often you can expect to replace your roof.
Expected Lifespans of Various Roofing Materials
3-Tab Asphalt Shingles: 15-30 Years
Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used (installed on almost 80% of new homes) because of their durability, affordability, and good warranties. Often you can get a 20-25 year manufacturer’s warranty on an asphalt roof, which is nearly the entirety of its life.
These 3-tab shingles’ underside is a layer of black asphalt, which creates a watertight seal as long as it remains protected by the shingles. It’s very easy to install, repair, and maintain, making it an incredibly efficient and affordable roof for the average homeowner.
Wood Shingles & Cedar Shakes: 30-50 Years
Wood shingles are more often than not installed as cedar shakes, the most common and durable choice for wood shingles. Cedar shakes are a gorgeous option for any home and can last a very long time but require quite a bit of maintenance to do so.
Maintenance of cedar shakes includes keeping them clean and free of things like moss that will trap moisture and lead to fungus or mildew growth. You can also refinish them and put protective sealant over them to prevent those things. Cedar shakes will naturally age into a greyish color that creates a timeless look for decades.
Clay Tile: 50+ Years
For an earthy-toned look for your home, clay tiles are a beautiful addition. The terracotta color and style is commonly used in the Southwestern region of the U.S. and works really well to keep homes in the hot desert climate cool. They are quite expensive but are highly durable, very low maintenance and will last for decades!
Metal Shingles or Sheets: 30 – 70 Years
Metal roofs are not what you may think they are. They are quite attractive and comes in various forms, such as shingles, sheets, and panels. The shingles, in particular, can mimic the look of cheaper, less durable shingles. They can cost anywhere from $100 to $900 per square, depending on whether you are getting panels, sheets, or shingles. Steel and aluminum metals will last 50 years, whereas materials like zinc and copper can last up to 100 years with little maintenance!
Slate Tile: 100 Years — The “Forever” Roof
The slate roof is often called the forever roof because it lasts, well, basically forever. Made of natural stone makes it nearly impervious to any type of weather that can come your way. The tiles are cut into relatively uniform sizes and laid in a shingle pattern. They are highly expensive, costing upwards of $1,500 per square, but the return on investment is very high—you will never need to replace your roof, ever.
How to Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Roof
The rule of thumb for how long to replace your roof is your roof’s lifespan. Check with your manufacturer and confirm any warranties and lifespan recommendations for your roof upon installation or purchasing your home. You definitely want to consider any warranties for material defects before it ends so you can get some coverage on your roof replacement.
Secondly, factors that can decrease your roof’s life expectancy include weather damage, roof leaks, and poor installation. Check for holes, leaks, missing or damaged shingles, signs of leaks in your home’s interior, and other visible signs of a roof leak—if your roof is nearing its lifespan, it will definitely be time to replace it.
For a FREE roof repair estimate, give Cerdas Contractors a call or fill out our contact form here. We can complete most roofing projects within a couple days and get you a brand new roof you can feel secure with for years to come. We look forward to working with you!