How Long Does a Roof Last?: A Guide to Roof Lifespan

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When you install a new roof, you shell out several thousands of dollars to do so. As such, you might be wondering: just how long does a roof last? What is the typical roof lifespan? 

The answer? It depends on the material, not to mention a variety of other factors. So, to give you a better idea as to the specific lifespan of a roof, we’re going to cover the lifespans of various different materials below. We’re also going to examine factors that could shorten a roofing material’s typical lifespan. 

Ready? Here’s your guide to the life of a roof. 

Factors That Affect a Roof’s Lifespan

As noted, there are a number of factors that can affect a roof’s lifespan. Some of these factors include:

The Weather

The weather has a seismic effect on a roof’s lifespan. Any type of extreme weather can lead to increased wear and tear, thus shortening the lifespan of the roof by as much as 10 years. 

Is your roof subject to cold and snowy winters? If so, it’s likely going to lose at least a few years. 

Is your roof perpetually exposed to high heat and bright sunshine? Again, it’s probably not going to make it as long as it would have in more temperate weather conditions. 

Wind can be a factor as well. High winds can blow shingles right off of roofs, and can also cause tree branches and other debris to fall down upon them. 


Another big factor that contributes to a roof’s lifespan is maintenance. Simply put, the more you do to maintain your roof, the longer it will last. If you don’t provide your roof with any maintenance, it’s bound to succumb to wear and tear at a much more rapid rate. 

Maintenance can include everything from cleaning to repairing missing shingles to weather sealing and more. For information on the type of maintenance that your roof requires, speak to your local roofing contractor. 

The Quality of Installation

When a roof is installed, all manner of things can be done incorrectly. For instance, the contractor might neglect to place sheathing over one of the edges of the roof. 

Even one mistake made during the installation can come back to haunt the roof over time, shortening its lifespan in the process. This is the reason, when installing a new roof, you’re strongly advised to use the services of a proven and reputable roofer

Insulative Characteristics

Another factor that can affect a roof’s lifespan is its insulative characteristics. If a roof isn’t insulated properly, it can cause ice dams to form during the winter. These can cause undue water damage to the roof, resulting in its premature demise. 

As such, when it comes to roof installation, it’s vital to use an experienced roofer. 

The Roof’s Slope

The last factor that can affect a roof’s lifespan is its slope. The less a roof slopes, the longer it maintains contact with rain and snow. If a roof is sloped greatly, on the other hand, rain and snow will roll right off of it, resulting in minimal contact and therefore minimal damage. 

Roof Lifespan By Material

There are ballpark lifespan estimates for every roofing material in existence. While most roofs don’t meet these estimates exactly, they’re usually in near proximity to them. 

Wondering what these lifespans are? We’re going to review them below. 

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles tend to last somewhere between 22 and 30 years. Whereas 3-tab asphalt shingles top out at around 25 years, architectural asphalt shingles tend to top out at around 30 years. 

That said, these shingles are quite cheap compared to other roofing options. Therefore, they tend to provide a decent bang for their buck. 

Cedar Shakes 

The lifespan of cedar shakes can vary greatly, with the minimum lifespan coming in at around 30 years and the maximum lifespan coming in at around 50 years. 

Because cedar shakes are made of wood, they’re ultra prone to weathering. Therefore, if they’re subject to excess rain, snow, or sunlight, they’re likely to lose their usefulness much sooner than they would otherwise. 

Maintenance is key with cedar shakes. By cleaning them regularly and sealing them every few years, you can add decades to their lifespan. For more information on cedar shakes roofing, give us a call!


There is an array of metal roofing materials. Some of these last no longer than 20 years or so. Others of these can last 70 years and sometimes even longer. Regardless, they require very little in the way of maintenance

The most durable metal roofing material is standing seam metal. This smooth and attractive material is becoming more and more popular these days and could very well be the right choice for your home. 

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are some of the most durable roofing materials in existence. Frequently used in hot and arid climates, they commonly thrive for over 100 years. While they can be expensive to install, they offer a tremendous amount of bang for their buck. 


Slate roofing is in the same category as clay tiles. In other words, it lasts well over 100 years. Made out of stone, slate is scarcely affected by rain, sunlight, snow, or even direct physical trauma. 

Yes, it’s definitely expensive. However, if you use it on your roof, you’ll never have to worry about it ever again. 

Have More Questions About Roof Lifespan?

Do you have any more questions about roof lifespan and how long a roof lasts? Not sure when to get a new roof? Need a roofing company in North Wales, PA

Look no further than Volpe Enterprises. We’re well-versed in the replacement of residential roofs, having replaced thousands over our 50 years of existence. Regardless of the material you’re hoping to use, our skilled and friendly team can accommodate you. Contact us now to get the ball rolling!

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