Roofing
Learn more about roofing, including different roof types, their costs, and how to find quality roofers in your area.

How Long Does a Roof Last? (2024 Guide)

As a professional roofer, I’ve seen many roofs in my career, all at various points in their lifespan. My job isn’t just to replace or repair roofs but to assess them and let the homeowner know how long they have left on their roof. A couple of different factors are involved in making these assessments, including analyzing the quality of material and installation.  

In this article, I’ll discuss the lifespans of various types of roofs and their advantages and disadvantages as roofing materials. I’ll also offer some professional insight into what affects the service life of a roof and ways you can extend your roof’s lifespan.

If time is of the essence and you need a roofing professional now, check out my choices for the three top roofing companies below to get your roofing project started today:

Top Pick
Erie Home Logo

4.1

Specialized metal shingles

Service area spans dozens of states

Offers patio and gutter services

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Limited Time:
Zero Down - 18 months same as cash with minimum monthly payment
Best Asphalt Shingles

3.9

Thousands of 5-star reviews

Phone, email, & text consultations

Factory-trained installers

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Limited Time:
Get 10% Off Your Roofing Project
Best Quality Shingles

3.7

Top-quality shingles

Provides windows & solar system services

Quick, thorough installations

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Limited Time:
No current offers available.
Highlights
  • The lifespan of a roof varies widely based on the type of material its made from.
  • Each roof material manufacturer typically has a warranty and projected service life that can help you gauge how long your roof should last.
  • You can maximize the service life of a roof through proper maintenance and prompt repairs.

How Long of a Lifespan Does Your Roof Have?

Because roofs are one of the biggest major recurring expenses for a home, knowing how long a roof lasts is important for homeowners’ long-term financial planning.

Provided it was installed correctly, the lifespan of a roof is almost entirely determined by the roof’s material. Though damage caused by severe weather events shortens the health and longevity of a roof, under normal conditions, the lifespan of roofing materials is well-established. The timeline for roof replacement is guided almost entirely by manufacturer warranties. 

A typical asphalt shingle roof should last between 20 and 25 years. Clay or concrete tile roofs can last for 50 years, and slate roofs should hold up for 100 years or more

We’ll get more in-depth on the lifespans of different roofing materials below.

Today's Homeowner Tips

You can tell a roof is at the end of its life and ready to be replaced if the roofing material is cupping, cracking, splitting, chipping, or brittle.


What Are Factors That Affect Your Roof’s Lifespan?

The quality of the roofing material and installation are the biggest factors in how long a roof will last. When high-quality products are installed correctly, they’ll last as long as the manufacturer’s projection and beyond. In most cases, you’ll have a warranty that lasts as long as the roof is expected to hold up.

Today's Homeowner Tips

Slate is an exception when it comes to warranties. Because it’s a natural material cut straight from the ground, it doesn’t come with a warranty.

However, a roof’s lifespan is subject to factors that are often within the control of a homeowner but sometimes not. We can’t prevent severe weather, but we can take basic steps to maintain and safeguard our roofs. 

Taking good care of trees near the house, removing debris and organic buildup like moss and lichen, and doing regular roof inspections are some types of maintenance homeowners should be doing to get the longest lifespan possible out of roofing materials. 


Types of Roofing Material and Their Lifespan

There are numerous types of roofing materials, and each has a different life expectancy and various positive and negative qualities. That means there’s no overall best roofing material, but there is a best for each particular homeowner. In this section, I'll give an overview of each, including the projected service life, strengths, and weaknesses, to give you a better idea of which material might be best suited for your home, climate, and roofing situation.

Top Pick
Erie Home Logo

4.1

Specialized metal shingles

Service area spans dozens of states

Offers patio and gutter services

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
Zero Down - 18 months same as cash with minimum monthly payment
Best Asphalt Shingles

3.9

Thousands of 5-star reviews

Phone, email, & text consultations

Factory-trained installers

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
Get 10% Off Your Roofing Project
Best Quality Shingles

3.7

Top-quality shingles

Provides windows & solar system services

Quick, thorough installations

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
No current offers available.

Asphalt Shingles (20–25 years)

Readily available all over the nation
Comes in a variety of colors and styles
Easy to repair
Affordable
Apt for all environments
Has the lowest lifespan of all roofing materials
Needs to be installed in warm weather

An asphalt shingle roof is a reliable and easily accessible choice for homeowners. These types of roofs work well across different climates and conditions, making them a popular option for homeowners across the country. You’ll find asphalt roof shingles in every big box store and material supplier across North America and professional installers in every town and city. 

As a professional roofer, there isn’t a situation I’ve ever encountered (or can even think of) where asphalt was a poor choice. It’s affordable, readily available, and well-known to every roofing professional. Even if it isn’t the perfect roofing option for every home and situation, it’s a solid one in most cases.

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Metal Roofs (40–70 years)

Strong, yet lightweight
Good impact and puncture resistance
Recyclable
Noisy when it rains or hails
Comes in only a few styles
Can dent and deform

Metal roofs are a valid option for many homeowners. When it comes to the cost of metal roofs, more luxurious types can be prohibitively expensive, but a modest standing-seam (tin) metal roof comes much cheaper — and is still visually appealing on the right house. 

Metal generally performs well as a roofing material as it’s both lightweight and strong. Though it’s somewhat easy to dent and deform, it resists punctures and breakthroughs very well. It’s not the longest-lasting material, but you can expect a metal roof to last at least as long as an asphalt shingle roof, if not significantly longer. 

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Clay Tile Roofs (50 years)

Energy-efficient in hot climates
Impact, fire and, wind resistant
Won't rot
Has a long service life
Is heavy
Requires specialty installation
It’s fragile to handle and walk on, making repairs tricky

Clay tile is the go-to roofing material for homeowners who live in hot and arid areas – though it can be used in almost any climate. One of its best qualities is its high resistance to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) and heat. Clay is naturally a poor heat conductor, which means it has great insulative qualities in hot climates: It keeps the heat out and the cool in. 

Beyond that, it’s a robust material that resists wind, fire, and impacts. Those certainly aren’t trivial qualities, as they constitute some of the most significant threats to a roof. 

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Concrete Tile Roofs (50 years)

Comes in many styles and colors
Durable and resilient
Wind and fire resistant
Won’t rot
Heavy
Color can fade from ultraviolet light
It’s fragile to handle and walk on

Despite sounding like a new-fangled idea, concrete tiles actually predate the invention of asphalt shingles. Concrete is fantastic in that it can be formed and pressed out into any size and shape that a person might need. 

As a roofing material, it performs as well as clay tile in most regards but does have some drawbacks. The main disadvantage of this type of roof material is fading and discoloration. It doesn’t always make the roof look bad, but some homeowners may not like it.

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Slate Roofs (100 years)

Resilient
Wind and fire resistant
Has the longest service life of any roofing material
Visually appealing
Requires a specialty roofing installer
Fragile, depending on the type
Expensive
No material warranty

Slate has been used as a roofing material for thousands of years, which is a testament to how well it performs at the job. It’s a natural material that resists ultraviolet light, color fading, wind, fire, and erosion. While most modern slate is manufactured into uniform shingles, it still has the quality of a traditional slate roof (which was made from hand-riven shingles).

Most homeowners love slate for its stately, luxurious look. Its biggest drawbacks are that the material can be expensive, and it requires an installer who has particular experience and skill at installing slate. If you can afford it, it’s a reliable roofing material that will last a lifetime (and likely beyond).  

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Wood Shake Roofs (40–50 Years)

Visually appealing
Environmentally friendly
Good service life
Affordable
Susceptible to rot and mildew
Can't tolerate persistent moisture

Wood shingles have a quaint, pastoral look that many homeowners love. Like slate, it’s a roofing material with a history stretching back thousands of years. Although it’s more susceptible to damage from persistent moisture than other materials, it’s still a reliable roof material choice and should last anywhere from 40 or 50 years — or even more. 

It’s strong, resistant to impacts, moderately flexible, and sheds water as well as any other material. The installation of a wood roof is straightforward (though a little time-consuming), and the material is on the cheaper side, so the final bill won’t break the bank. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a beautiful material that has a longer service life than asphalt shingles.

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Solar Roofs (20–25 Years)

Generates power and saves money over its service life
Environmentally friendly
Numerous rebates and incentives are available
High cost up-front
Doesn't come in different colors or styles
It must be removed before working on the roof

Solar is the only roofing material that generates money. This type of roof takes solar energy and turns it into electricity, which the homeowner can then use to offset their energy bill or sell back to the utility company. It's especially attractive for homeowners trying to be more environmentally friendly, as solar energy capture helps offset carbon and greenhouse gas emissions created by traditional electricity generation. 

While solar roofs have a steeper cost upfront, much of that is balanced out by government rebates, incentives, and the savings you gain on your energy bill throughout the roof's lifetime. Solar is a great, energy-efficient addition to your home, and you can learn more about it below.

Get a Solar Quote in 30 Seconds
On average, homeowners save $5,000–$20,000 with solar panels

How To Lengthen the Lifespan of Your Roof

Here’s how to get the most out of your roof and ensure it lasts as long as possible. 

Proper Installation

Get the longest life out of your roof by ensuring it's properly installed. Poor and incorrect installation of roofing material degrades the material's longevity by subjecting it to stresses it wasn't designed to handle. This is where a competent professional can save you thousands in the long run by leveraging their expertise to ensure you get the maximum out of your investment.

Regular Maintenence

Proper maintenance post-installation and beyond is the key to keeping your roof clean and functioning. Here’s what you should be doing to maintain the health and longevity of your roof.

Frequently Inspect Your Roof

That doesn't mean you need to climb a ladder and walk your roof. I wouldn't suggest this for safety reasons and because foot traffic can damage roofing material. Instead, do regular visual inspections of your roof from the ground. That can help you identify problems before they turn into major headaches. It's especially important after strong storms, which can damage healthy roofs.

Clean Debris and Organic Buildup

An extendable pole is handy to poke or drag debris (things like small sticks and leaf clumps) off your roof. Proper maintenance of trees near the house is important, too. You can handle organic buildup with various chemical products that attach to a garden hose and allow you to treat your roof from the ground.

Today's Homeowner Tips

You can also use a 1:1 mixture of bleach and water to remove organic buildup. But don’t use a power washer — the pressure can damage the roofing material.

Keep Gutters Clean

This is especially important in fall in regions with snowy winters. Leaf-clogged, overflowing gutters increase the likelihood of ice dams developing, which causes degradation of roofing material and poses a general risk to the roofing system. To my initial point on proper installation of the roof, ice dam prevention is helped by the presence of an ice and water shield, which should be standard with any professional installation. 

Repair Damage Promptly

Even a small roof leak left unaddressed can cause thousands of dollars in roof repairs. Leaks not only risk damaging the interior, they risk damaging more of the roofing material, which means repairs take more time and material and cost more money. This is why roofing contractors who install and repair roofs correctly are a huge asset to homeowners.

If you need a roofing professional, whether for a repair, replacement, or inspection, you can contact one of my recommended roofing professionals to begin the process today:

Top Pick
Erie Home Logo

4.1

Specialized metal shingles

Service area spans dozens of states

Offers patio and gutter services

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
Zero Down - 18 months same as cash with minimum monthly payment
Best Asphalt Shingles

3.9

Thousands of 5-star reviews

Phone, email, & text consultations

Factory-trained installers

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
Get 10% Off Your Roofing Project
Best Quality Shingles

3.7

Top-quality shingles

Provides windows & solar system services

Quick, thorough installations

GET QUOTE
Limited Time:
No current offers available.

More Roofing Information


So, How Long Will Your Roof Last You?

Your roof's service life mostly depends on its material. Provided that it was installed correctly and remains free of damage, you should expect to get the manufacturer's projected life span out of it. For most homeowners with an asphalt shingle roof, this means 20 to 25 years.

You can help ensure you get that maximum lifespan by engaging in basic roof maintenance and timely repairs to keep your roof in good health. Doing so will ensure that you and your family stay dry and protected for years to come.


FAQs About Roof Lifespans

What are the signs that indicate a roof may need replacement?

Cupping shingles, loss of granules, splits, cracks, chips, and brittleness indicate that your roofing material is at the end of its service life and needs to be replaced.


Can weather conditions impact the lifespan of a roof?

Extreme and damaging weather can impact the lifespan of a roof, while regular weather shouldn’t. Modern roofing materials are made to withstand the general weather in all climates except in extreme situations. Whatever material you choose for your roof, you should get a service life out of it that’s consistent with manufacturer projections.


How does proper attic ventilation affect the lifespan of a roof?

Proper ventilation in the attic prevents moisture and condensation from accumulating on the interior wood structure of the roof, which can cause the wood to degrade and even rot. Good ventilation is vital for the long-term health of a new roof.


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