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Roof Lifespan

What's the Average Lifespan of a Roof? (How Long Will Your Roof Last?)

January 3rd, 2022 | 6 min. read

What's the Average Lifespan of a Roof? (How Long Will Your Roof Last?)

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Knowing the lifespan of a roof is important. It tells you the return on investment, helps you determine which roofing material is right for you, when you’ll have to replace it, and more. 

But there’s a wide range of lifespans based on the different types of roofing materials. So, it’s hard to tell you how long your roof will last without knowing which roofing material you have. 

However, I can at least give you an idea of the average lifespan of the roof that most homeowners have on their homes. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has educated homeowners about all the important aspects of roofing, including a roof’s lifespan. Now we’re going to do the same for you.  

To start this article, we’ll get right into the average lifespan of a roof. After that, we’ll get a little more specific by diving into the lifespans of the 5 most popular residential roofing materials. 

What’s the average lifespan of a roof?

The most common type of roofing material in the country is asphalt shingles. So if you have a middle class or even an upper middle class home, there’s a good chance it has asphalt shingles. 

what's the average lifespan of a roof

With that in mind, you can expect the average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof to be around 22-25 years. While it’s great to put a number on how long your roof will last, there are multiple factors that ultimately determine the lifespan. 

This means your roof could not last as long, live longer, or fit right into the range above. But as long as you hire a great roofing contractor and invest in quality materials, you should get as close as possible to your roof’s maximum lifespan. 

How long do the different types of roofing materials last?

Now you know the average lifespan of the most popular type of roofing material. But what if you have or want a different type of roofing material on your home? 

Let’s get to the lifespans of the top types of roofing materials for residential roofing. Be aware, all of the lifespans below are dependent on proper roof installation and adequate attic ventilation

How long does an asphalt roof last?

You already learned the average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof. But there are 3 different types (3-tab, architectural, and luxury) that each have their own manufacture specified lifespan. 

how long does an asphalt shingle roof last(Left to right: 3-tab, architectural, and luxury)

3-tab shingles have a manufacturer-specified lifespan of 25 years and live the shortest of the three types. On the other hand, architectural and luxury shingles both have a lifespan of 30 years, but luxury shingles have the possibility to go over 30 years. 

Realistically, you should get around 80-85% of the lifespan out of an asphalt shingle roof. 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.

Because luxury shingles are thicker, you should get up to 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 metal panels locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. This allows for the panels to expand and contract freely when the metal goes through thermal expansion. 

how long does a standing seam metal roof last

Because of its expansion capabilities, a standing seam metal roof is the recommended metal roof for residential purposes over a screw down metal roof. Installed properly, you can expect to get around 30 years out of a standing seam metal roof. 

What makes this type of metal roof so durable comes down to the Kynar 500 finish (painted finish that protects the metal from the elements) on your metal panels. The painted finish comes with a 30-year warranty that doesn’t just disappear after 30 years passes. 

Because of this, you can even get up to 50 years out of a standing seam metal roof in the right conditions.

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. You can expect a composite shingle roof to last around 40-50 years. 

how long does a composite (synthetic) roof last

What makes composite shingles durable and long-lasting is 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 natural slate tiles or cedar shakes. 

Even though it’s a newer roofing material, composite shingles are becoming more popular because of their durability. 

How long does a cedar shake roof last?

Unlike man-made roofing materials like asphalt, metal, and composite, a cedar shake roof is primarily made of natural wooden materials. 

how long does a cedar shake roof last

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 it to around 50 years.

Be aware, cedar shake shingles crack, curl, and lose their color as they age. This won’t happen right away, but it's just something to keep in mind if you’re interested in a cedar shake roof. 

How long does a slate roof last?

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

how long does a slate roof last

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

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 know a slate roof won’t be an option for most homeowners because it’s the most expensive roofing material. But if you have the budget, it’s well worth it for the lifespan and the curb appeal it adds to your home. 

What's the average cost to replace a roof?

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

While a roof’s lifespan is important, there’s still something homeowners like you consider more important. This, of course, is how a new roof costs. 

Unfortunately, it can be hard to find anything relating to cost from the roofing industry. But just like this article gave you the average lifespan of a roof, we wrote another article that gives you the average cost of a roof replacement. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roof replacements to homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. No matter which material you choose, you can count on your roof reaching its maximum lifespan after our job is done.

Check out The Average Cost to Replace a Roof: Which Roofing Material Fits Your Budget to learn how much your future roof will cost you.

roof cost calculator

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