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How Often Does a Roof Need to be Replaced? (The Lifespan of Your Roof)

November 17th, 2021 | 7 min. read

How Often Does a Roof Need to be Replaced? (The Lifespan of Your Roof)

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A roof replacement is never a fun experience. It can be stressful, time-consuming, and, most importantly, expensive. 

The less you go through the process, the better. But that doesn’t stop you from worrying about how often you’ll actually have to get your roof replaced. Especially if you’ve had bad experiences in the past. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand when and how often they'll have to replace their roof. Now we want to do the same for you. 

We'll kick this article off with helping you understand when and how often you should replace your roof. After that, we give you the lifespans of the 5 most popular roofing materials, so you know when you should replace your specific roof. 

And at the very end, we give you a guide that you and every homeowner needs for a roof replacement. 

How often does a roof need to be replaced?

A roof isn’t meant to be replaced often. As long as you hired a reputable roofing contractor, you shouldn't have to replace your roof until it's near the end of its lifespan.

If your roof was properly installed, your attic is adequately ventilated, and your roof is maintained, it will get as close as possible to the maximum lifespan. This means you shouldn’t need a replacement for around 20 years or even up to around 50 years (or longer), depending on what kind of roofing material you have.

For example:

The most popular roofing material in the country is architectural asphalt shingles. As long as everything is done correctly during installation, you should start budgeting for a roof replacement around the 22 year mark. 

There are cases where you'll need one sooner from storm damage or premature roof failure. But for most homeowners, a roof should be replaced when it's near the end of its lifespan. 

How often does a roof need to be replaced based on the roofing material you have?

Now you know you shouldn't (unless something goes wrong) have to replace your roof until it's near the end of its lifespan. But remember, how often you'll have to replace your roof actually depends on the roofing material you have. 

Let's get to the lifespans of the 5 most popular roofing materials to help you figure out how often you'll have to replace your roof.  

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. 

how often does an asphalt roof need to be replaced(Left to Right: 3-tab, architectural, and 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 life span 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. 

how often does a metal roof need to be replaced

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

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. The reason for its durability comes down to the painted finish on the metal panels. 

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. 

How long does a composite (synthetic) roof last?

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

how often does a composite (synthetic) roof need to be replaced

You can expect a composite 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 composite 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 composite roof without worrying about breaking them like you would with normal slate or cedar shakes. Because of this a composite 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. 

how often does a cedar shake roof need to be replaced

As long as it’s properly installed and with proper maintenance, you can expect to get 30 years of life out of your cedar shake roof. 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. 

how often does a slate roof need to be replaced

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.

The guide with all the information you need for a roof replacement

Now you know how often the 5 most popular roofing materials need to be replaced.  After reading this article, you should know if it's near the time or the right time to replace your roof. 

If it is, there's a lot you need to learn about going through the roof replacement process. You need to choose the right roofing material, know how much your replacement will cost, how to hire a great roofing contractor, and so much more. 

Wouldn't it be great if all this information was in one place? If you answered yes, then we have the guide for you. 

With The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof, you'll become one of the most informed homeowners in the roofing industry. Don't go into the roof replacement blind, get your free guide now. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has been proud to offer Nashville and surrounding areas high-quality roofing services. We strive to give you and everyone we work with an experience rare in the roofing industry based on honesty, education, and strong workmanship. 

Here’s Your Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof to learn what you need to know about your upcoming roof replacement and to make all the right decisions.

the complete guide to purchasing a roof

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