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Roof Replacement | Roof Lifespan

How Long Does a Roof Last?

October 8th, 2021 | 6 min. read

How Long Does a Roof Last?

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A roof’s lifespan is the return you get after investing your hard-earned money in a replacement. Not only that, but it also tells you when you’ll have to replace your roof in the future. 

That’s why it’s crucial for every homeowner to know how long a roof lasts. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t know this information, but we’re here to change that. 

With over 30 years in the roofing industry, we here at Bill Ragan Roofing use our expertise to help homeowners like you understand their current or future roof. Because our main goal is to educate you, we’re going to break down how long a roof lasts. 

In this article, you’ll learn how long a roof lasts, plus the lifespans of the 5 most common roofing materials. 

How long does a roof last?

Most homeowners can expect their roof to last around 25 years. This lifespan is based on the most common type of roof used on homes today, an architectural asphalt shingle roof

architectural asphalt shingle roof

As long as your roof is properly installed and your attic is properly ventilated, you can expect an architectural asphalt roof to get close to the lifespan range above. Keep in mind, there are other factors (weather, quality of materials, and more) that determine how long your roof will actually last. 

However, there’s one huge factor that determines how long your roof will last, the type of roofing material you have. After all, an architectural asphalt shingle roof isn’t the only type of roof you’ll see on homes today. 

Because of this, you need to know the lifespans of different roof systems, including the 2 other asphalt shingles, a metal roof, cedar shake roof, synthetic roof, and slate roof. 

How long do different types of roofs last?

Each roofing material comes with a specific lifespan, either from the manufacturer of the materials or expertise from the roofing industry. 

Just like I mentioned above, the different roofing materials will get close to their maximum lifespan as long as they’re installed properly and your attic has adequate ventilation. Let’s get to the lifespans of the 5 most common types of roofing materials.

How long does an asphalt roof last?

There are 3 different types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab, architectural, and luxury. All three have different lifespans specified by the manufacturer of the asphalt shingles. 

the three types of asphalt shingles(Left to Right: 3-tab, Architectural, Luxury)

3-tab shingles have a lifespan of 25 years and live the shortest of the three types. Architectural and luxury shingles both have a lifespan of 30 years, but luxury shingles have the possibility to go over 30 years. 

You should realistically get around 80-85% of the lifespan out of the asphalt shingles. This means you can expect to get around 20 years out of your 3-tab shingle roof and around 25 years out of your architectural shingles.

On the other hand, luxury shingles are thicker and should get up to around 30 years. In perfect conditions, you can stretch that number even further.

How long does a standing seam metal roof last?

A standing seam metal roof system is a series of panels that are locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. 

standing seam metal roof

This allows for panels to expand and contract freely when the metal heats up and cools down. Because of this, a standing seam metal roof is the recommended metal roof for residential purposes over a screw down metal roof. 

Your new standing seam metal roof comes with a 30-year paint warranty on the Kynar 500 finish (painted finish that protects the metal from the elements) on your metal panels. Even though the paint has a 30-year warranty, it doesn’t mean it’s going to disappear after 30 years. 

This means you can expect to get around 30 years out of a standing seam metal roof and even up to 50 years in the right conditions.  

How long does a synthetic roof last?

Synthetic (also known as composite) shingles are made of recycled materials and designed to look exactly like a slate or cedar shake roof.

synthetic slate shingle roof

You can expect a synthetic shingle roof to last around 40-50 years. The reason composite shingles are durable with a long lifespan is because of their impact rating. 

For example, DaVinci Roofscapes (the leading synthetic shingle brand) shingles have a Class 4 impact rating, which is the highest rating possible. This high impact rating means they stand up well to anything that hits the shingles, including extreme weather, such as hail. 

You can also walk on a synthetic shingle roof without worrying about breaking them like you would with normal slate or cedar shakes. Because of this, a synthetic roof is one of the most durable roofing materials on the market.

How long does a cedar shake roof last?

Unlike asphalt, metal, and synthetic, a cedar shake roof is primarily made of natural wooden materials. 

cedar shake roof

As long as it’s properly installed and with proper maintenance, you can expect a cedar shake roof to last around 30 years. If you invest in quality materials and live in an area with the right climate, you could possibly stretch that number further with the possibility to get up to around 50 years.

Because cedar shake shingles are naturally made, there’s no manufacturer warranty on the materials if they fail prematurely. This leaves you with only your roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty to protect your investment if there’s ever a problem with your cedar shake roof.

How long does a slate roof last?

Like a cedar shake roof, a slate roof is made primarily out of natural materials. 

slate roof

As long as your slate roof is properly installed and flashed properly, it’ll be the last roof you ever put on your home. It’s hard to put an exact number on a slate roof’s lifespan, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t last around 75 years or even close to 100.

We even like to say your grandkids won’t have to worry about it. If you’re looking for a forever material that won’t need to be replaced in your lifetime, a slate roof is a great option. 

Just like a cedar shake roof, there’s no manufacturer warranty on the slate materials themselves if they fail prematurely.

How much does a roof cost?

Now you know how long the different roofing materials last. Whether you want to know how long your current roof will last or are trying to find the right material to invest in, knowing the lifespan of a roof is important. 

However, there’s one thing even more important to most homeowners than a roof’s lifespan. This, of course, is the cost of a roof. 

Pricing is always one of the biggest concerns homeowners have about their roofing project. Unfortunately, the roofing industry likes to avoid questions about cost. 

You don’t have to worry about that with us. That’s why we wrote another article breaking down the cost of the same 5 roofing materials we discussed in this article. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided homeowners in Nashville with the information they need to make the right decisions. While educating you is our main goal, you can also count on our attention to detail and high-quality workmanship your roofing project deserves. 

Check out How Much It Costs to Replace a Roof to learn the price you can expect to pay for a new roof.

which roofing material is right for you

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