Whether it’s time to invest in a new roof or you just had one installed, most homeowners are curious how long their roof will last. The lifespan of any roof depends on a number of factors, including the type of roofing materials used (shingles, metal panels, tiles, etc.), whether or not a qualified roofing company installed the roof and if the roof has been subjected to extreme weather in the past. And based on the options, the answer to “how long does a roof last” may surprise you, with some coming in at 200 years!

How long does a roof last

We’re helping answer the question – how long does a roof last – by listing a few types of common roof types and materials below, all of which have different life expectancies:

How Long Do Clay Tile Roofs Last?

A tile roof – whether made out of clay tiles or concrete tiles is one of the longer-lasting roof options. These types of roofing material require expert installation and knowledge about your structure (as some options can be pretty heavy). Once installed, clay tile roofs can last between 50 and 100 years. Clay tile and concrete tile roofs can typically withstand inclement weather – with concrete tiles absorbing slightly more water than clay tiles.

Clay tile roof

If you have a clay tile roof, you may be wondering about the signs of aging. The most apparent sign is broken or cracked clay tiles. If you catch this problem early, you can often use replacement tiles and complete roof repairs. Once the broken tiles reach about half of your total roof tiles, it’s likely time for a full roof replacement.

Another sign of an aging roof is signs of water damage or intrusion. If the tiles are in good shape, you may have a problem with your underlayment or flashing. Repairing or replacing these materials and resetting your roof tiles may help you reach the expected 50 to 100 years of a clay tile roof.

How Long Do Cedar Shakes Last?

Cedar shake roofs use natural materials (essentially wooden shingles) and last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. The age range of wood shingle roof is highly dependant on choosing high-quality materials and using a qualified contractor to install the cedar. These types of roofs don’t typically come with a manufacturer’s warranty since the materials are natural, so choose your contractor carefully.

cedar shakes roof

With cedar shake roofs, weather conditions play a role in their lifespan, including extreme dry or extreme wet weather. Take the time to have this roof properly installed and regularly maintained to get 30 years or more out of it. Regular inspections can help you identify problems early and avoid premature replacement of your cedar shake roof.

Not sure if you need a new roof? If you have a cedar shake roof and have noticed any of the following signs, it’s time to call an expert experienced in roofing material and roofing systems.

  • Missing shakes more frequently? If you notice a couple of missing shakes, talk to a professional. But if you’re noticing more and more, your roof may be reaching the end of its life expectancy.
  • Shakes that don’t look quite right can be a sign that your roofing materials need help. Look for signs of splitting or buckling, which can signal a larger problem.
  • If you’re noticing water anywhere in your home, your shake roof is in trouble, and it may be time for a roof replacement. Get a roof inspector out quickly who is experienced in all types of roofing systems.

How Long Do Metal Roofs Last?

When it comes to metal roofs, there are two standard options to consider. The first is a standing seam roofs. A standing seam metal roof is when the metal panels are locked together (often mechanically). This type of new roof is usually more expensive and, as you might imagine, has a longer life expectancy. Not only does the seaming allow for the roof materials to easily expand and contract in weather, but it also typically includes a finish that protects the panels from the elements and fading.

metal roof

The second type of metal roofs is called a screw-down panel roof, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. The metal panels are screwed down, leaving the fasteners exposed. These panels don’t typically include the finish that protects from signs of age or weather damage. A properly fastened roof is essential as panels that are dislodged by wind could be dangerous. Wind that gets underneath any roofing material can do damage quickly and reduce the lifespan of your roof.

So, just how long does a roof of this kind last? A standing seam roofs last between 30 to 50 years, with a warranty that usually covers the first thirty. To ensure you get the last 20, regular maintenance is advised.

A screw-down roof lasts closer to 20 years, with estimates of 30 years when well-maintained. If you want to learn more about metal roofing systems options, including the ones above – standing seam metal roof, screw-down metal, ribbed metal panels roofs – and options not discussed, such as ribbed metal, reach out to qualified roofing specialists like Colonial.

Not sure if your metal roofing system requires roof repair or replacement? Here are a few signs that your type of roofing may need help:

  • If you have a standing seam metal roofing system, look for fading that typically occurs after the 30-year warranty, it is a good indication that it’s time for an inspection. This is also true if you notice a lot of rust in any particular area.
  • If you notice damage to your roofing from hail, fallen trees, or other weather events, have a roofing company inspect what’s going on. You may be able to save your metal panels will proper roof maintenance and replacement.
  • If you have a screw-down metal roof and have been noticing the screws more frequently, it could be that they are loosening over time. When caught early, a contractor can potentially replace the existing screws with new, larger versions, saving you the cost of replacement and gaining a few more years.

As with most roofing, a metal roofing system can last longer with proper roof maintenance, so pay attention to the most common signs of aging and schedule an inspection at the first sign of trouble.

How Long Does An Asphalt Shingle Roof Last?

Like other roofing options, asphalt shingles come in various options, like 3 tab shingles, dimensional shingles, and more. An asphalt shingle roof is a more budget-friendly option and a popular choice when an asphalt roof replacement or new roof is necessary. Asphalt shingle roofs are easy to install and replace and offer protection from UV rays.

Asphalt shingles
The roof of the house with nice window.

A 3 tab shingle roof is made to look like there are three individual asphalt shingles when, in fact, it is a row of asphalt shingles that is connected. This asphalt shingle option helps to create a more uniform look and is a way to keep the costs down, as installing individual asphalt shingles would take more time and roofing materials overall.

Architectural asphalt shingles are two shingle strips that have been laminated together. They are much stronger and provide better wind resistance than asphalt 3 tab shingles. Architectural shingles also come in multiple looks and options, with some even mimicking the look of cedar shakes, tile, and more. As you might expect, the asphalt architectural shingles last longer and come with a slightly higher price point than asphalt 3 tab options.

Similar to laminate shingles, a standard 3 tab shingle roof will last between 15 and 30 years, on average. And asphalt architectural shingle roofs last anywhere from 25 to 30 years. While we’ve already covered roof options that have a longer lifespan, asphalt shingles continue to be a common choice for homeowners.

If you’re curious about how long your asphalt roof will last, check for common signs of wear and tear or wind damage.

  • These include shingles that are buckling, which creates a wavy look. You can also look for curling, where the ends of the asphalt shingles are noticeably curled. These are warnings that your roof is suffering from age, excessive heat damage, or even improper installation. Letting your roof go could mean a total replacement is in your future.
  • Another thing to look for is bare shingles, where the granules have worn entirely away. This can occur over time or when drainage wasn’t designed properly. Once the granules have worn away from your asphalt shingles, they are no longer offering protection, and it’s time to replace them. If left untreated, the next step is breaking and loss of coverage, which dramatically reduces the roof’s lifespan and leads quickly to a full replacement.
  • The worse sign that your asphalt shingle roof is reaching the end of its lifespan is when shingles are visibly missing. At that time, you need to consider a full replacement as missing shingles can lead to water damage that creates larger structural problems and possible leaks in your home.

If you’ve noticed any signs of wear and tear, it’s time to call a roofing contractor with experience with all kinds of roofing systems. Don’t ignore roof problem signs you need a new roof as what may start as a simple roof repair can quickly turn into a complete roof replacement.

How Long Does A Stone Coated Steel Roof Last?

Stone Coated Steel Roof

If you haven’t heard of stone-coated steel tiles, you’re not alone. While this type of roofing has several great features, it has not surpassed the popularity of other common roofing options. A stone-coated roof is made to look like traditional shingles but has the durability of metal. This durability means that steel roofs are also one of the longer-lasting options, with life expectancy ranging between 40 to 70 years when installed properly. They also help to reflect UV rays and have been considered to be very energy efficient.

Like traditional metal roofing, you’ll want to look for signs of fading or damage as a signal to call a quality roofing contractor for a free roof inspection.

How Long Does A Slate Roof Last?

The lifespan of slate roofs may surprise you, with hard slate tiles coming in at anywhere from 75 to a whopping 200 years. These long-lasting slate tiles have a life that can typically survive multiple homeowners and may have new homeowners unsure of just how old their roof is.

Slate Roof

What about slate roof, how long does a roof of its kind lasts? Soft slate also has a long lifespan and can last between 50 and 125 years. If you have a slate roof, it’s often difficult to know how much longer it will last or when to replace it. Determining whether you have a hard or soft slate roof will likely influence your decision to try to restore it since the hard slate has such a long life. Either way, the most apparent warning of trouble with slate roofs is when leaks start happening. A qualified contractor can quickly assess where the damage is coming from and make proper repairs if possible, further extending this already long-lasting roof option.

How often should a roof be replaced?

As we’ve shared, roofs last anywhere from 15 years to upwards of 100 years. How often they should be replaced depends heavily on proper installation, weather conditions, any possible damage that was sustained, proper and regular roof maintenance, and more.

It’s a good idea to inspect your roofing regularly and call an expert in at the first sign of wear and tear or roof leaks. A roof is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your home and valuables and many problems, if caught early, can be repaired and extend the life of your roof.

Homeowners can spot problems easily from the ground – including the items above like missing shingles, obvious damage, fading, and more. Leave it to the experts to inspect your roof from above. Once roofs reach the end of their lifespan, they can hide potential problems and become an unsafe area.

And no matter what type of roofing material you have, if you’re experiencing water damage or roof leaks, it’s time to call for help. Don’t let a small leak turn into a big problem.

What is the average life span of a roof?

Asking “how long does a roof last” is a complicated question, as we’ve explained above. The average lifespan of a new roof depends on the type of roofing material you have and whether or not it was properly installed and maintained. In general, asphalt roofs with shingles last 15 to 30 years, cedar shake roofs last 30 to 50 years, metal roof options last 30 to 50 years, clay or tile roofs last 50 to 100 years, and slate roofs can last up to 200 years. If you’re asking yourself, how long does a roof last, it may be time to enlist a professional.

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