Roofing isn't cheap. So, knowing the condition and expected lifespan of a home's roof is critical to making smart investment decisions.
Exactly how long does a roof last, though? Unfortunately, there's no hard and fast answer to that question. A lot of factors can impact a roof's longevity, including the climate, its craftsmanship, the materials used in its construction, and more.
Are you wondering how long the roof will last on a property you're considering investing in? Let's dive in.
4 factors that impact a roof's lifespan
A roof can last anywhere from a few decades to 100 years (or more). The exact lifespan of a roof will depend on a number of factors. These include:
- Climate and environmental conditions: The temperature, sun exposure, and regularity of storms and strong wind will all impact how long a roof lasts.
- Builder/contractor: The quality, training, and experience of the roofing contractor who installed the roof will also matter.
- Roofing material: The quality of the materials used on the roof can impact its lifespan as well.
- Type of roof: Every roof type -- including asphalt, metal, tile, and many others -- has a different average lifespan.
It may be difficult to gauge the quality of the roofing materials or contractor on your own, so consider calling in a roof inspector just to be safe. They can evaluate the roof's condition, as well as its overall craftsmanship.
Average lifespan by type of roof
The easiest way to gauge a roof's longevity is to know what type of roof you're dealing with. Generally speaking, metal and slate tile roofs tend to last the longest, while an asphalt roof usually needs replacement much earlier.
Let's look at each roof type and its average lifespan:
Shingled roofs are pretty common in the U.S., and on average, they last around 15 to 30 years. The exact lifespan varies based on the type of roof shingle you have.
Asphalt shingle roofs only last about 15 to 25 years, while fiber cement and wood ones can last a decade or more longer. A wood shingle roof -- often called a cedar roof or cedar shake roof -- requires regular maintenance to last the full 30 years. You'll also need to inspect it at least once a year and replace any split or warped shingles immediately.
Tile roofs are some of the longest-lasting ones out there. Again, it depends on the type of tile used, though.
Clay tile roofs, which are common in the Southwest part of the country, tend to last around 50 years, while slate tile roofing can last up to 100 years or more. Slate tile is extremely durable and usually comes with a lengthy warranty.
Metal roofs are also quite long-lasting. Often, they can last as long as a century, though it depends on the type of metal used and its thickness. Zinc and copper roofs tend to last the longest.
Metal roofing is most common in the North, as they help snow slide off more easily. You'll also see them a lot in hurricane-prone areas, as they withstand wind quite well.