What is the average lifespan of a residential rooftop? There are a lot of things that can help you estimate the lifespan of your roof. Weather, location, and the materials used all factor into some roofs lasting only 8 years while others will withstand wind and rain for decades. If you recently purchased a new home or have started to see signs of wear and tear on the rooftop, it is natural to ponder the average lifespan of a residential rooftop. Will you need to repair or replace some time soon? Or can you expect your roof to hang on for a few more years?
We have answered those questions and more, so keep reading.
Factors Affecting Residential Rooftop Lifespan
Sometimes, even if your roof looks like it is in okay condition, it could be aging faster than assumed. For example, if you buy a 15 year old house, you might assume that the roof is around the same age; if it has been in the sun all year long and has a high slope angle, though, it could breakdown prematurely. That is why you need to understand how some elements can affect the lifespan of your roof both positively and negatively.
Factors You Can Control
There are some things that can be changed to assist with lengthening the lifespan of a residential roof:
- Quality of materials. You may notice that all roofing materials have levels of quality. The more expensive the materials, the longer those shingles or tiles will last.
- Color. Darker roofs are going to absorb more heat, and than may cause the shingles to warp and crack. Lighter colors are better in hotter climates, since they reflect heat.
- Installation. Make sure you have a trusted professional roofer installing your shingles to avoid unwanted mistakes.
- Ventilation. Attics should be properly ventilated and insulated so that heat does not get trapped beneath the shingles.
Factors You Cannot Control
Now let’s have a look at some things that contribute to a decreased lifespan that you cannot do much about:
- Orientation. If the eastern or western side of the roof is exposed to a lot of sun throughout the day, it can reduce the lifespan of the roof.
- Slope. The biggest factor in the lifespan of residential roofing is the angle of the roof’s slope. Flatter roofs have a greater surface area getting baked by the sun and exposed to the elements. Steeper roofs prevent too much sun exposure.
- Climate. Hot, humid climates can wreak havoc on your shingles. Even climates with intense freeze-thaw cycles can negatively affect the lifespan of your roof. Be sure to research the best kinds of roofing materials for your climate to ensure you are getting the best protection available.
Lifespan of Residential Roofing Materials
Aside from the climate and the orientation of your roof or even how well it was installed, the materials predict just how long your roof is going to last. Residential roofing comes in a wide variety of materials, including asphalt shingles, composites, stone, metals, and so on. The most popular type in North America is asphalt shingles, particularly architectural shingles.
Let’s have a look at the lifespans of different roofing materials:
Asphalt Shingles: 15-30 years
Affordable and durable, asphalt shingles are made of cement fibers and fiberglass and asphalt layers. This helps protect your roof from things like wind, rain, and UV radiation. The underside of asphalt shingles is sticky so that it will bind and create a watertight seal. With maintenance, asphalt shingles can last anywhere between 15-30 years, with the average being around 20 years.
Architectural Shingles: 25-30 years
Three to four times thicker than regular asphalt shingles, architectural shingles are considered premium and slightly more costly than standard single layer shingles. Most architectural shingles will last up to 30 years, but there are some shingles that are fabricated to last up to 50 years. These are usually thicker and heavier than a normal architectural shingle.
Wood Shingles and Shakes: About 30 years
Typically fabricated from pressure treated cedar, wood shingles and shakes are often more expensive than asphalt shingles. They last about as long as high quality architectural shingles but do require regular maintenance to prevent water damage or split shingles. Wood shingles and shakes are rot and insect resistant. With maintenance, they last up to 30 years.
Clay Tiles: 40 -60 years
Clay, terracotta, and other variants are popular and very attractive. Best in hot climates, clay tiles are usually seen in coastal regions or in the southwest. Clay tiles are extremely durable, low maintenance, and fire resistant. Once you have them installed, you can expect them to last an average of 50 years, but many manufacturers offer 30-year and lifetime warranties depending on the quality and brand.
Metal Roofing: Up to 70 years
Highly resilient and appealing, metal roofing can consist of copper, steel, aluminum, or a mixture. This is one of the more expensive types of roofing materials, but you get what you pay for. However, you should keep in mind that the thicker the metal, the more protection you receive—as well as a higher price tag. That said, a thinner metal roof is going to last around 20 years. High-end metal roofs will stay strong for over 50 years!
Slate Tiles: Centuries
There are many historic buildings in Europe with their original slate roof tiles still in place. Some of those buildings are over a century old. Slate is pricey, but it is one of the strongest, most resistant kinds of roofing you can get. The downside is that, being rock, it is also very heavy, so it is seldom used these days. Most warranties for slate tiles are for 50 years or for a lifetime, but you can expect slate tiles to last much longer than 50 years.
Make Your Roofing Last Longer
Even when taking proper preventative maintenance in account for your roof, you will eventually need to replace and repair residential roofing about every 15-30 years, depending on the shingle type. Until then, make sure you are scheduling a roof cleaning, checking your roof after severe storms or during periods of extreme weather, opt for lighter colored shingles, and purchase high quality materials. If you recently bought a house, have a professional roofing contractor perform an inspection to make sure everything is in good condition. That way, you get the most out of your investment.
Learn more about how we can help you make your residential roofing last longer by getting in touch with us! Fill out the contact form, and we will deliver more info to your inbox.