Many variables affect how long a roof lasts. These factors include the type of roof and material, location of your home, how it was installed, and how it has been cared for. Read on to learn for all you need to know about roof life, roof care, and signs that its time to replace your roof.
Replacing a roof can be costly and is something you’ll want to plan for. On the other hand, you don’t want to wait so long that your roof becomes compromised and leaks, bringing on a host of other problems. Educate yourself and take preventative steps to save the money and avoid the headaches of a leaky roof.
How long does a roof last?
Many things contribute to the life of your roof, including the roof design, what kind of roof you have, the quality of the installation, and the weather in your location. Some roofs require replacement after only 15 years, while others may last for 50 years or more. Severe roof damage such as high winds or a fallen tree will, of course, shorten your roof life.
How long does a shingle roof last?
Shingles come in a range of qualities and pricing, and the more expensive will likely last longer. Asphalt shingle roofs are among the more common roof roofing materials in new homes since they are a good combination of affordable and durable, and are often warrantied for up to 25 years.
Fiberglass shingles are more costly but can last up to 50 years. In general, you can expect asphalt shingles to last from 20 to 40 years. Asphalt shingles are made of several ingredients and protect from UV rays, heavy wind, and rain. Their black asphalt underside gets sticky from the hot sun and seals the roofing in place.
Shingles in cooler place will last longer than in warm areas. For example, the average shingle lifespan of 20 years drops to 14 years in the southwest and is closer to 19 to 20 in the northeast. Shingles that are exposed to extreme temperature changes from day to night may crack or split. Freezing and drying, as well as poor attic ventilation, can also shorten a shingle’s lifespan. Steep roofs are better able to shed water and less likely to sustain damage.
Here are some other factors that impact roof lifespan to consider when replacing your roof:
- A dark roof will absorb more heat and not last as long.
- The quality of the roof material is essential. Less expensive materials will not last as long.
- A south-facing roof will take more sunlight and not last as long.
- Trees touching on the roof can wear down the materials.
- Severe winter storms and hot summers
- Installing our roof over your existing roof will reduce longevity.
Architectural shingles are a premium product and can last 25 to 30 years. They are thicker and result in a more resilient roof. Homeowners like them for the aesthetic appeal since they can look like wood, slate, or tile.
How long will a metal roof last?
Metal roofs are another attractive and trendy choice. It is typically galvanized or stainless steel sheeting but can also be copper. The cost of a metal roof varies greatly and can range from $100 to $00 per square foot. The price is driven by the gauge (or thickness) of the panels and the material.
A thicker gauge ( 22 to 24 gauge) will be more durable and last longer than a thinner gauge ( 26-29). Thicker metal roofing is popular in the northeast since snow can slide off it. Metal roofs can last from 20 to 25 years with top-end metal roofs lasting up to 50 years.
How long can a stone tile roof last?
Stone tile roofs can be clay, terra cotta, or slate. These roofs are fade-resistant and can handle strong winds and rains but are very heavy and must be installed by professionals. Clay roofs are trendy in the south and southwest. They are costly, at up to $800 per square foot, but can last up to 50 years, so they are a great choice in the long run. They are popular for their low maintenance, as well as their durability and appearance. Look for warranties of up to 30 years to even lifetime. Slate roofs can last 50 – 100 years.
How long will a wood shingle roof last?
Wood shingles are more expensive than asphalt shingles. They are insect and rot-resistant. Cedar shingles or “shakes” are beautiful, especially on cottage style homes. They can be pricey and should be inspected each year but can last up to 30 years.
Top signs your roof needs to be replaced
Whether you are buying a new home or just trying to plan for the future, it is always good to know how long you can expect your roof to last. Hopefully, you know the approximate age of your roof, and that’s a good starting point.
If you have endured severe storm conditions, you should consider a full roof inspection.
But here are some guidelines of what to look for as signs you may need to replace your roof:
- Look for cracks, loss of sand granules, chipping, curled up, or missing shingles on your asphalt shingle roof.
- Discolored, chipped, or peeling or extensive rust are signs your metal roof needs attention.
- Loose or cracked stone tiles or leaks indicate your stone tile roof needs to be checked.
- Cracked wood shakes or leaks indicate your wood shingle roof needs replacement.
- Cracked, loose, or missing slates and leaks indicate our slate roof needs attention.
Should you replace your roof or repair it?
The answer depends upon the age and condition of the roof and the extent of the problem.
It is sometimes possible to simply replace a roof shingle or two, or roof tile vs. doing an entire roof replacement. If your roof damage is extensive, you will not want to take a chance on roof leaks or more roof damage and should replace the entire roof. If your roof is fairly new, and not near the end of its life cycle, you may be able to just do roof repair, but it often does not make sense to invest in repairs on a 20-year-old roof that is near end of life.
If the damage is minor, and your roof is otherwise in good condition and not near expiration, you should be able to repair it. A good roofing contractor should be able to make effective and seamless repairs.
Budget is another consideration, and sometimes a roof replacement is not in the budget. Ask your contractor how long you can expect to get from a repair.
You will need to replace our roof in the following conditions:
- If your roof does not meet building codes.
- If your roof is severely damaged.
- In some areas, roof inspections are required by your insurance company, and replacement may not be optional. Typically insurance companies allow a specified number of years for a roof. Don’t wait for hurricane season to find this out! Stay on top of your insurance renewal requirements.
- If the repairs are too costly to make sense
- If the materials can’t be matched
- If you want to change out your roof style
Preventative Roof Maintenance and Inspections
Your roof is expensive, and a leaky roof can lead to all kinds of additional damage. Watch out for any signs of damage noted above. Here are some tips for extending roof life:
- Get regular roof inspections. It can prevent costly leaks and may make the difference between roof repairs and roof replacement.
- Purchase the best materials you can afford when installing your roof, as it will benefit you in extending your roof’s lifespan.
- Have a roofing contractor touch up any problems areas in your roof before it becomes a significant problem.
- Follow warranty instructions for the maintenance of your roofing material.
- Never underestimate any roofing leak as it can be a sign of roof damage.
Be sure you have thoroughly read and understood any special considerations of your roof warranty. Check for any manufacturing or installation defects upon the completion of your roof installation.