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How Long Can You Expect Your Roof To Last? (Roof Lifespan)

You wouldn’t buy a new car if you knew that it was only going to last for one year. When…
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Jacob Wadding

You wouldn’t buy a new car if you knew that it was only going to last for one year. When you make significant investments, you need to know that we’ll be getting your money’s worth. The same goes for roofing— one of the biggest and most important investments you can make in your home.

  • If you plan to live in your home for decades, you may opt for a more expensive roofing material with a longer lifespan.
  • But if you plan to sell in a couple of years, you may be more compelled to go with a more affordable material with a shorter lifespan.

So, how long does a roof last? And which material is best for you? Let’s explore below!

Average Roof Life Expectancy by Roofing Material

All roofing materials were not created equal. They all have different appearances, price tags, and lifespans. Some materials are more popular for residential homes, while others are common for commercial businesses. Some you’ll find more frequently in specific regions, and others are popular across the country.

Explore all the different options you have for your roof and how long you can expect each one to last.

1) Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the “America’s sweetheart” of roofing materials. As the most popular roof material across the country, most homeowners appreciate the low-cost and accessible installation that comes with asphalt shingle roofs.

how long does a roof last top view

Typically, an asphalt roof will last 15-25 years with the proper upkeep and maintenance. While this is a shorter lifespan compared to many of the materials on this list, it’s usually long enough for many homeowners, especially if they aren’t planning to live in their current house forever.

  • Standard 3-tab shingles often last up to 20 years and are the cheapest available option for asphalt shingles.
  • Architectural shingles are more stylish and durable, lasting up to 30 years.

With a lower price tag, most people are willing to justify the shorter lifespan. Plus, asphalt shingles offer a classic aesthetic appearance and fit well in most climates and regions.

Since this material is so common and accessible, most roofing contractors can install a new asphalt shingle roof in as little as one day, depending on the size of your home.

2) Metal Roofing

Coming in hot and giving asphalt shingles a run for their money is metal roofing. While you may have traditionally associated metal roofs with barns or warehouses, they’re a hot ticket for modern homes. These impressive and stylish roofs typically last between 40 and 70 years! They’re more expensive than asphalt, but the price is comparable with their long lifespan.

You can opt for a few styles of metal roofing: standing seam panels and metal shingles are the most popular.

  • Standing Seam Panels: These panels offer a more “classic metal roof” look. They’re sleek and easy to install.
  • Metal Shingles: Metal can be manipulated to look like other common roofing materials like shingles and tiles. Some homeowners opt for this option to get the look of a shingle roof with the durability of metal.

🕵️ Myth Busting: Some people shy away from metal roofs because they assume they would be very loud when it rains. This isn’t true! A metal roof isn’t any louder than other materials during rain.

3) Cedar Shakes

Cedar shakes, also known as wood shingles, are a rustic, aesthetically pleasing roofing option perfect for people who love the outdoors. This stylized material usually lasts up to 30 years.

Keep in mind that while cedar shakes look beautiful and run in the middle of the pack price-wise, they require a lot of upkeep. This material can be prone to rot, so you need to be willing to perform regular roof maintenance. Plus, cedar shakes should never be installed in regions that are prone to wildfires.

But if you love tending to your home, cedar shakes can be a wonderful addition. You’ll definitely boost your curb appeal and stand out from other homes on your block— in a good way!

4) Clay Tiles

If you live in or have visited the American southwest, you’ve probably noticed the orange-colored roofs scattered throughout the region. Clay tiles are popular in the Spanish architecture that is common in the region, but they can be installed just about anywhere across the country.

how long does a roof last clay

Clay tile roofs are impressive, often lasting 50-100 years! If you don’t want to buy a new roof ever again, or if you want to sell your home and appeal to buyers who don’t want to purchase a new roof, clay tiles are a solid choice. Just keep in mind that they’re quite expensive to accommodate the long lifespan and specialized installation required.

With clay (or concrete) tiles, it’s important to also account for the weight of these materials. Their heaviness is a contributing factor to their long lifespans, but your home’s structure will need to be sound enough to support the extra weight on your roof.

5) Flat Roofing

Commercial businesses and apartment complexes commonly have flat roofs. Sometimes flat roofs even have a rooftop patio where people can spend time. “Flat roofing” is actually a term that encompasses many types of materials.

Each flat roofing material has a different expected lifespan:

  • EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer): 25-30 years
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Up to 20 years
  • TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin): 15-20 years
  • BUR (Built-Up Roofing): 15-20 years

Flat roofs are typically comparable in price and durability with asphalt shingles. They’re often easy to repair as well, so be sure to keep up with regular roofing inspections to maximize your flat roof’s lifespan.

6) Natural Slate Tiles

If you’ve taken a trip to Europe recently, you may have noticed all the slate tile roofs. (Or not, if you’re not a roofing nerd like us! 🤓) Natural slate isn’t as common in the United States anymore, but you’ll likely see it on historical buildings.

Slate is an absolute powerhouse— lasting 100 to 200 years! This material is the most expensive option due to its longevity and the specialized installation required, which is likely why slate roofs aren’t terribly common in the United States anymore. However, if you do decide to opt for a slate roof, you’ll have a “forever roof,” which is, of course, appealing to the people who eventually purchase your home.

Signs You Need a New Roof

It’s always good to be prepared as a homeowner and start budgeting for when you’ll eventually need a new roof. You don’t want this investment to sneak up on you, no matter what roofing material you ultimately choose to go with.

how long does a roof last damage

Keep your eyes peeled for these common signs of roof damage. Alternatively, if you schedule regular roofing inspections (as you should), and your roofing contractor mentions any of these issues, it could be time to replace your roof:

  • Missing, curling, or cracked shingles
  • Shingle granule loss
  • Interior water stains
  • Moss or algae growth
  • Rusted or dented metal roofing
  • Rotted wood shakes
  • Cracked tiles
  • Pooling water on flat roofs
  • Recurring ice dams or clogged gutters
  • Sagging roof deck

Some of these issues can be fixed with repairs, especially if your roof is still young (less than 10 years). However, if the problems are widespread or you’ve already made a few repairs to your roof, it’s likely time for a roof replacement.

An experienced roofing contractor will be able to help you find the right material for your new roof based on the longevity and price range you want. Additionally, if the roofing company offers financing options, you can more easily purchase a higher-end material with a longer lifespan.

Get a Durable New Roof With Help From ARCH Exteriors

If you’re in the market for a new asphalt shingle, cedar shake, or flat roof in Maryland, your best bet is to work with the highly-skilled local team at ARCH Exteriors. Our contractors have the industry experience required to help you make the best decision for your home.

We’ll walk you through our material offerings, lay out a detailed price estimate, and help you match the perfect color to your siding. It’s our top priority to install a high-quality roof that lasts for decades, and we stand behind our work 100% with great financing options and unbeatable warranties.

Reach out today to schedule your free quote!

About the Author
Your home is probably the most expensive thing you own. When you hire somebody to make improvements, you want high-quality work. In addition, you hope they’ll take the same care you would. You want someone with a good reputation, legitimate credentials, well established, using quality materials, and who charges a fair price. For over 11 years, I have worked hard to provide all of those benefits to my clients. One of the major reasons we have been able to do that is our ability to keep highly qualified personnel. Our workers are well trained, properly motivated, and managed professionally. I make certain that I convey measurable systems and procedures that our team understands and can readily follow.

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