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How long will a roof last?

Figuring out how long a roof lasts depends on three specific criteria.

  • The kind of construction material used on the roof
  • The skill level of the experts and roofing contractors that installed it
  • The “abuse” the roof has had to deal with over its life span

You see, it’s absolutely impossible to put a definite number on the life span of any particular roof without knowing these three essential details.

Sure, you could ballpark the average lifespan of a typical shingle roof at right around 20 years or so (but some of them last only 10 while others can go for years or more without having to be replaced or repaired), but you’ll need an expert to climb a ladder and hop on top of your roof to figure out exactly what you’re dealing with.

Different construction materials have the biggest impact on a roof’s lifespan

The most important determining factor in how long your roof is going to last is the kind of construction material used to create the roof in the first place.

GAF The overwhelming majority of homes out there today are taking advantage of architectural asphalt shingles. These are single layer roofing shingles that are manufactured out of an asphalt product, and enjoy an average life span of anywhere between 20 and 30 years – depending upon other key factors.

Architectural asphalt shingles are cheap and easy to install and look fantastic when installed properly.

You also have the opportunity to install other types of roofing materials, including metal roofs (with an average life span of anywhere between 50 years and 100 years) and natural materials like slate or stone that could last pretty much forever.

These options are (obviously) going to be a little bit more expensive.

The skill level of your roofing contractors will play a large role

You need to make sure that you are hiring the right experts to install the roofing material that you have selected or you are going to cripple the lifespan of your roof right from day one.

Experts understand the limitations of each of the different construction materials used, know exactly how to lay them properly to get the best and highest use out of them, and won’t cut corners. Fly-by-night operations will do whatever they can to slam the job out in a hurry – leaving you with a roof that will probably leak and crumble much sooner than it should have.

Natural abuse will take its toll

Obviously, homes that are constructed in “hurricane alley” are going to have roofs that just won’t last anywhere near as long as one situated in a quiet and calm climate. Depending upon where you live and what kind of elements your roof is subjected to, you can expect to lose (or gain) five years or so of extra life on your roof.