How Long Does a Roof Last?

Roof replacement is one of the most costly upgrades in home improvement. Before you spend the money, you should know how long a roof would last.

The lifetime of a roof depends on a variety of factors, the most important of which is the material used. In this guide to lifespans, we’ll tell you what you need to know about roof life expectancy for various materials, as well as the telltale signs you need a new roof. Continue reading to find out more.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

The lifespan of a roof is largely determined by the type of roofing material used. The following are the most common roof types and their estimated lifespans:

  • Slate roofs are a heavy and expensive material. Their lifetime, though, varies between 50 and 100 years.
  • Cedar shake roofs are common on Cape Cod and beach houses. They have a lifetime of 20 to 35 years.
  • Clay tiles are typically mounted on high-end homes and their weight necessitates the use of a special frame. They have a lifetime of 50 to 100 years. Metal roofing systems, such as standing seam systems, have a lifetime of 30 to 50 years.
  • Asphalt roofs are available in a number of types and can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years.
  • 3 tab shingles have a lifetime of 10 to 20 years, while architectural shingles have a lifespan of 15 to 25 years.

While asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material due to their low cost and durability, synthetic composite shingles are also available. These don’t quite resemble standard asphalt shingles; they’re more akin to slate tiles or cedar shakes. They last between 30 and 50 years for about the same price as standing seam roofs.

How to Find Out the Age of a Roof


If your house was not brand new when you purchased it, consider the following suggestions:

  • Inquire with the former owners. They may have roofing material receipts or installation receipts from the roofing contractor.
  • Obtain a copy of the roof replacement company’s receipt. If the previous owners recall who their roofing contractor was, they may have held records.
  • Examine building permits. If your county needs construction permits for roof installation, obtain a copy. It would contain the precise date of roof construction. If you can’t see any roof additions, search the documents for the date the house was constructed. That will at the very least provide you with a starting point.
  • Request a quote from a roofing contractor or a home inspector. As a last resort, a roof or home inspector or roof specialist may measure and determine the age of the roof. The home inspector would be the most objective because he or she has none to sell, as opposed to the roofing contractor, who does.

Signs You Need a New Roof


A few clear warning signs indicate that you need a new roof. Watch out for the following:

  1. You find indoor roof leaks
  2. Your shingles are not flat.
  3. Some of the roofing materials are scratched, chipped, peeling, dented, discolored, or have numerous missing sand granules.
  4. You find moss on your roof.
  5. You find the roof sagging or drooping.
  6. Post roof repair, a problem persists.

Roofs inevitably lose their effectiveness over time. If you find any of these symptoms or anything else that is out of the ordinary, get the roof inspected right away. Roof repairs, rather than complete roof replacement, could be possible if noticed early enough.

How Often Will Insurance Pay to Replace Your Roof?


Unless the agreement states otherwise, there is no cap on how many times they will replace it. Claim acceptance is dependent on your coverage, the source of your roof injury, and the age of your roof.

If the loss is caused by an insured event, you should be able to file a homeowners insurance roof claim. However, the following considerations may have an effect on your level of coverage as well as your pocket.

  • The more claims you file, the higher your rates will get.
  • If you live in a windy state, you could be required to pay a separate wind deductible on each claim if heavy winds were the cause. This raises the price you shell out.
  • Your policy may only cover the actual cash value (ACV), not the entire replacement expense. If this is the case, you must pay the balance of the bill.
  • Roofs that are 20 years old or older do not have the same level of protection as newer roofs; in fact, many insurers would not cover roofs that are more than 20 years old.

In some cases, homeowners feel it is preferable to pay for roof repairs or replacements themselves. Review your policy and see if you have any limitations.