When it comes to roofing lifespans, there’s no one-size-fits-all figure. Materials, installation methods, and regional climate all factor into how long a roofing system will adequately protect your home. Natural disasters and unpredictable storm systems further cloud the ability to forecast precisely how long a roof will last.
Still, industry averages give powerful insight into the importance of utilizing an experienced contractor to repair, replace, and inspect your roof regularly. Why? Installation methods are the single-most important factor in longevity – making your roof last as long as possible. Experienced, well-trained roofing contractors understand the importance of installation, and are able to optimize the performance of each layer within your roofing system.
For each common residential roofing type, we’ve put together lifecycle charts to demonstrate the effects of installation methods on how long common roofing materials will last.
HOW LONG DOES A SHINGLE ROOF LAST? | ASPHALT SHINGLES
Asphalt shingles are the most popular material for residential roofing, yet are the most susceptible to weather-related damage and have less inherent durability than materials like metals, alloys, natural slate, and wood shake. An experienced roofing contractor installing top-of-the-line premium shingles may see 30-35 years out of an asphalt-shingled roof in ideal conditions. The average lifespan for asphalt shingles is around 20 years, though the majority of asphalt-shingled roofs needing replacement after a decade due to poor workmanship, extreme weather, or natural disasters.
HOW LONG DOES A METAL ROOF LAST? | METAL
Metal roofing is a durable, long-lasting choice for homeowners. In the right environment with excellent installation, metal roofing can last up to 100 years or more! The type of metal, craftsmanship of the metal panels, and regional climate are all factors when examining the lifespan of a metal roof. Aluminum, for example, lasts longer in coastal regions than galvanized steel, because ambient saltwater corrodes steel.
With metal roofing, installation expertise is particularly important. The metals and alloys best suited for roofing each have their own set of installation specifics. For example, mixing metal types (like using stainless steel components with aluminum panels) can be a common installation error with low-quality contractors which can completely degrade the integrity of the entire roofing system. Each metal reacts differently to other metals and to certain natural elements (like salt air and rain); when choosing a metal roofing contractor, it’s important to always prioritize experience level.
HOW LONG DO TILE, SLATE, OR SHAKE ROOFS LAST? | SPECIALTY MATERIALS
Specialty materials are known for their durability and longevity, with some materials able to last 200 years. Natural slate, for example, is an incredibly resilient material; with the right installation and maintenance, a slate roof can easily protect a home through multiple generations. Though specialty roofing comes at a higher cost, the long lifespan and timeless aesthetic easily make these roofing systems the most cost-effective choice in the long run.