We can almost guarantee you aren’t getting your roof inspected as often as you should. But you’re not alone—most homeowners don’t even think about their roof until something happens or they notice signs of a leak.
However, the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends inspecting your roof at least twice a year as part of regular maintenance. Your roof wasn’t built to last forever and will need to be replaced even sooner if you don’t properly maintain it.
Depending on your roofing materials, your roof could last anywhere from 15 to 75+ years. But not without some intervention. So today, our goal is to give you a better idea of what to expect when it comes to your roof’s lifespan. You’ll know when to replace it and signs to look for when it’s nearing that time.
Roofing materials can vary significantly in their expected lifespan. Of course, this is due to the material’s strength, but things like climate, maintenance, and storm damage can also lessen how long they last.
Asphalt shingles are one of the most common types of roofing in the United States. They have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years, depending on factors like climate and maintenance. If your asphalt shingle is starting to show signs of wear, it’s time for replacement before you run into any problems with leaks or damage from storms.
Asphalt shingles require more frequent replacement than other roofing materials, but they cost significantly less as well, so it’s not as detrimental as other larger investment roof replacements.
Cedar shake roofs have been used for centuries and are one of the strongest, longest-lasting roofing materials around. In addition, cedar is naturally resistant to rot, insects, fire damage, and fungi.
However, cedar shingle roofs require maintenance and care and aren’t as affordable as asphalt shingles. You should plan to have them replaced about every 25-30 years, or sooner if they show significant wear from normal weather conditions like hail damage, heavy rainfalls, wildfires, etc.
Solar tiles are the latest roofing material to take over roofs across America. They’re quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for homeowners because they offer great benefits like energy efficiency, durability in storms and heavy rainfalls, and impressive architectural design that can blend into your home’s exterior.
The downside is that solar tiles run on average around $14-$20 per square foot, significantly more expensive than other roofing materials. However, you can expect around a 25-40 year lifespan for solar tiles with proper care and maintenance of your roof.
Green roofs are typically made up of vegetation, soil layers, and drainage systems. They are installed on flat/low slope roofs and can last around 40 years with minimal maintenance, thanks to being highly self-sufficient.
Synthetic slate tiles are basically “fake slate” tiles that offer the same look without a hefty price tag. Synthetic slate also doesn’t last as long as natural slate but is about a quarter of the weight of natural slate.
This material is a good option for homes not equipped to handle the style or heaviness of slate tiles. They offer a lot of the same durability benefits such as high impact, UV, and wind resistance.
Stone-coated steel roofs have a lifespan of around 40 to 70 years and require little maintenance to upkeep. In addition, stone-coated steel is actually quite lightweight, contrary to popular belief. Also, this roofing material can work for most home styles and give a similar appearance to standard shingles but with much higher durability and an extended lifespan.
Metal roofs continue to grow in popularity as they are manufactured to be more residential-friendly in appearance. No longer does a metal roof have to mean huge, standing seam panels to get the long-lasting benefits of the material. Now, homeowners can get a wide array of metal shingles in various colors and styles that match their home’s aesthetic while also being incredibly resilient and long-lasting. A well-maintained metal roof can last 75 years or more.
Concrete tiles are one of the most durable roofing materials on this list, with a lifespan of around 50 to 100 years, but they also require significant upkeep. In addition, concrete is very heavy and requires reinforcement in your home’s framing system for proper installation.
Concrete tiles are also at risk of fading color or showing limescale due to absorbing water through their porous surface. Despite this, it carries excellent longevity compared to other roofing materials.
Clay tiles have been a popular roofing material for centuries and are extremely durable, lasting 50 to 100 years or longer. They’re made from clay that is kiln-fired at high temperatures to create a long-lasting tile. Their natural terracotta color and style are most commonly found in drier climates like the southwestern United States.
Slate tiles are one of the oldest roofing materials on this list, dating back to ancient Rome. They’re extremely heavy and require reinforcement in your home’s framing system for proper installation, but they also offer an incredible lifespan if properly maintained.
Slate can last up to 100 years or more with good care and is resistant to most extreme weather conditions like rain, wind, and fire. The only thing is they don’t work with my modern homes but can work for modern designs or more commercial structures where the owners would never have to worry about replacing the roof ever again.
The life expectancy of your roof is a mere suggestion based on years of data through the industry. It’s pretty close to being accurate, but depending on where you live (dry, humid, rainy, etc.) or if you experience storm damage, your roof may need replacing or repair much sooner.
Luckily, there are some tell-tale signs to watch out for so you can address any roof issues before they negatively affect the structural integrity or safety of your home. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to get your roof inspected and likely replaced.
If you spot missing, loose, or cracked shingles, your roof is losing its protective layer against the elements. This causes water to seep in and damage the interior of your home. It can also lead to leaks that cause mold growth if not addressed soon enough. One way to mitigate damage due to loose or cracked shingles is to conduct regular visual inspections of your roof.
You can get a good idea of the condition of your shingles by walking around your property and looking up at the roof. Significant damage to your shingles should be pretty apparent. If you have a large hail storm come through and you suspect damage, it’s a good idea to have a professional contractor come do a thorough, up-close inspection.
If your roof is starting to sag, it could be losing its integrity and reaching the end of its expected lifespan. The weight of snow and ice, strong winds, or just the weight of your roofing materials puts stress on your roof and home’s structure for years until it can no longer hold. A sagging roof can become a collapsed roof if it’s not addressed right away. So keep your family safe and get your roof replaced right away.
An inefficient roof can hold on to moisture, leading to mold growth or moss and algae. Your roof is designed to shed water away from your home so it doesn’t cause damage or leaks, but this growth is a sign it isn’t doing that, plus it can actually prevent water from shedding properly. Address these issues right away by either getting your roof professionally cleaned or inspected to get replaced.
Water spots in your home’s interior are a tell-tale sign of a leak in your roof or that your attic is not ventilating correctly and moisture is seeping in. Either way, these are signs your roof needs immediate repair or replacement. If your roof is younger than ten years, you may be able to repair this issue and buy some time. But an older roof that is leaking may be due to regular wear and tear and just needs to be replaced.
Dark spots or holes in your roof’s exterior can be a big sign of hail damage. When hail or debris hits the surface of your roof, it can slough off the first protective layer of your shingles, leaving it susceptible to leaks and further damage when not taken care of right away.
Your roof not only provides shelter, but it should also help keep your home insulated and warm and cool your home efficiently. A poorly insulated or ventilated roof can drive up your energy bill costs when your home is working harder to heat or cool the space.
A roof that is not well insulated or ventilated can also increase humidity and water penetration, which could result in mold growth. If you notice drafts or inefficient heating and cooling in your home, take a look at the roof, where heat can easily escape if it’s not well sealed (and your windows and doors).
As you can see, how often you should replace your roof really depends on many things. But between this list of signs and your roof’s expected life expectancy, you can have a good idea of when it will be time to make that investment again.
Planning ahead can help alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with having to replace or repair your roof at a moment’s notice. For roofing maintenance tips or if you have questions about financing your new roof, reach out to Dreamworx today. Our expert team of roofers can help guide you along the way and make it easy for you to replace your roof when the time comes.
“Living comfortably at home means living in a safe, cozy house that protects you from outside elements.” -Dreamworx Co-Owner, Charlie Anderson