How Long Does a Roof Last on Average?

How long does a roof last? This is one of the most important questions to ask when replacing a roof. 

For instance, you might think that it saves you money to install the least expensive roofing materials. But this could mean that you’ll have to replace the roof 3 or 4 times more often. Nor is it worth it to purchase more expensive types of roofing if they have the same lifespan as a cheaper roof.

Furthermore, there are environmental factors that affect roof lifespan. Thus, some types of roofing are more ideally suited to your geographic location. These will last longer than other types, which could save you money.

Below, we’ve written you a guide to help you understand roof lifespan and what affects it. That way, you can choose the right roof type for your home/budget. Read on to learn what you need to know.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

First, let’s take a look at how long a roof lasts based on the material it’s made out of. Here are the average lifespans of several common roof types.

Asphalt Shingles

Most neighborhood homes are topped with asphalt shingle roofing. And there are many good reasons why.

They are durable enough for most types of weather. And most neighborhoods aren’t built where the weather is extreme, anyway.

And they’re one of the most affordable/low-maintenance roofs you can get. Plus, they’re easier to install/repair than many other roof types.

Under normal weather conditions, these roofs should last 15-20 years. But you should get yearly roof inspections to make sure it stays in good repair.

Wood Shingles

Machine-cut wood shingle roofing should last around 25-30 years. But they require more maintenance than asphalt shingle roofing.

For one thing, you need to keep the roof clear of leaves and other debris as often as necessary. If you don’t, the debris piles up and holds moisture against your wood roof. This can cause the shingles to weaken and/or rot.

Furthermore, due to its flammability, wooden roofing might be prohibited in your area. Very dry/hot locations cause the wood to dry out, making it extremely flammable.

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are almost the same as wood shingles except that they are hand-cut, not machine cut. Because of this, they are thicker and even more protective than wood shingles.

You’ll need to perform the same maintenance tasks with wood shakes that you would for wood shingle roofing. As long as that’s taken care of, these roofs can last 35 years or more.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing comes in a variety of materials that differ greatly in price as well as longevity. Still, even the cheaper options (aluminum, steel) are very long-lasting. These can last more than 50 years with very little maintenance. 

On the expensive end of the spectrum are the more resilient metals, like copper and zinc. These may well last 100 years or more.

Tile Roofing

Roofing systems made of clay or concrete tiles are extremely resilient. They should last at least 50 years, possibly up to 100.

And, because they’re so heavy, they require special reinforcement measures for support. This adds another layer of protection to your tile roof.

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is, without contest, the most durable roofing system there is. With very little maintenance, a slate roof will have no trouble lasting 100 years.

Built-Up Roofing

Built-up roofing or BUR is a type of flat roof that’s very similar to asphalt shingles. Only, the asphalt is layered in sheets, each of which stretches across the entire roof.

BUR should last 15-20 years. But be sure to have it inspected yearly to keep it maintained.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is an upgrade to the BUR system. As implied by its name, it uses modified bitumen in place of tar.

This roofing system can last up to 5 years longer than BUR. Plus, it protects just as well and it’s easier to install.

Factors That Reduce the Lifespan of a Roof

There are two main factors that affect the lifespan of your roof: maintenance and weather. Keep the following points in mind when choosing a new roof.


We already mentioned how very dry weather makes wood roofs more flammable. Besides that, it also makes the wood more brittle. It will get damaged far more often in hot, dry weather.

Next, asphalt roofs are not a good choice for extreme weather. Hard hail can dent and damage the roof, as can overhanging branches.

And high winds can strip the shingles right off the roof. For weather such as this, you’ll want heavier roofing, such as tile or slate.


Next, damage from the weather can usually be repaired. However, if you neglect to fix it, the damage gets worse.

First, the moisture works its way into the roofing material. Then it contracts and expands with temperature changes, making significant holes in the roof.

This is why it’s important to get yearly roof inspections no matter what type of roof you have. This will ensure that any damage is fixed right away before it spreads.

Do You Need a New Roof?

How long does a roof last? Now you know. So, if you know anyone else who’s wondering about roof lifespan, please share this information with them.

Furthermore, based on the information above, do you think your roof is reaching the end of its lifespan? If so, we can help.

Fill out this form to get your free consultation. We’ll assess the state of your roof and determine whether repair or replacement is the best option. Lastly, we’ll set up an appointment to get you the roofing services you need.

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