How Long Does a Roof Last?

March 5, 2023

How do you know when you need a roof replacement? It’s not always as obvious as missing shingles and ceiling leaks. 

A simple, 3-tab shingle roof may be warrantied for 20 to 25 years, while architectural shingles that can take a little more punishment may be warrantied to last 50 years. Specialty roofs, like slate or tile, may not need a roof replacement for decades. 

So, how long does a roof last? It really depends on the type of roof, the quality of the roofing materials, and the installation process. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Lifespan of Different Types of Roofs

Many roof types such as 3-tab shingles can last between 15 and 20 years, while some other types of roofs can last upwards of 70 years, as long as they remain safe from severe storms. Several factors can affect the longevity of your roof, including weather, proper installation, and of course, the roofing material. 

Here are the most common roofing material types and their estimated lifespans:

Asphalt Shingles

How long does a shingle roof last? As long as it has been installed well and isn’t negatively affected by storms, asphalt shingle roofs typically last between 15 and 30 years. They are one of the most common roofing material types used in America, largely due to their affordability.

Wood Shingles

What if those shingles are made out of wood instead of asphalt? Wood shingles are known to last up to 30 years when they are properly maintained, though they do require more maintenance than many other material types. Wood shingles are usually made of cedar since it is naturally more resistant to insects and rot than other types of wood. 

Clay Tiles

Clay tile roofing is very durable and can last half a century or longer. At around $600 to $800 per square, they can be very expensive. However, you won’t have to replace the roof anytime soon, so many homeowners consider them worth the price. They are a relatively low-maintenance material and often come with a 30+ year warranty.

Metal Roofs

How long is a roof good for when it’s made out of metal? Metal roofing is growing in popularity, largely due to its longevity and durability. Metal roofs can last upwards of 70 years so you don’t really need to worry about a roof replacement, although the initial installation price can vary widely depending on the quality of the metal.

4 Factors that Influence a Roof’s Lifespan

1. Material

Quality materials make a big difference when it comes to your roof’s longevity. Four out of five homes are topped with asphalt shingles because they are affordable, look good, and get the job done, but there are many other options you could consider for your roof that will last for years to come. Luxury options can mimic the look of natural materials like slate, wood, and tile with even greater durability.

2. Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is water-resistant or waterproof material installed over your roof deck. Underlayment goes beneath all of the other roofing materials to offer an added layer of protection against rain, snow, and ice.

An investment in underlayment may add years to your roof. Homes in the northeastern United States, for example, benefit greatly from premium waterproof underlayment designed to withstand the tough winter weather.

3. Ventilation

Ventilation is another roof component that is unique to each home. A well-vented attic can add years from one roof replacement to the next. A vented roof stays cooler, preventing snow melt and ice damming in the winter. Ventilation also keeps your attic from getting too warm and moist, which can rot your roofing material from the inside out. Affordable products like ridge vents and eave vents are almost totally invisible and they are critical to proper ventilation.

Additional ventilation options such as power vents may be needed based on the slope, size, and architectural features of your roof. Talk with your roofing specialist to understand what ventilation options will be most beneficial.

4. Installation

How was your roof installed? There are specific installation requirements for certain roofing products that allow it to achieve maximum durability. The expertise and skill of your roofer directly affects how long your roof lasts. Choose an installer who knows their product, your region, and installation best practices, whether you have a gabled roof, cross-gabled roof, flat roof, or any other roof design.

Looking for a Home Improvement Contractor?

How long does a roof last on a house? The answer is “not forever” — and it could be time for you to replace yours. With our SELECT ShingleMaster™ roof replacement accreditation, a distinction given to only one percent of roofers in the United States, trust the experts at Long Roofing with your roof replacement. Visit us online or call us at 844-602-LONG to request an estimate and get a free in-home consultation!