When you are in the market for a new home, one of the things you may consider is how long do the roof last on the house. Likewise, you may have been in your home for some years, so you worry about the condition of the roof and when it may be time to replace it.
This guide will help you understand the life expectancy of the roofing systems most often used today.
You can expect to get 15 to 25 years out of roof made of standard asphalt shingles. However, asphalt shingles come in many different varieties, and you need to take into account the materials used in the roofing system.
The cheapest and most basic asphalt shingle type is the 3-tab shingle, which typically lasts 10 to 20 years and is used for sloped roofs. This is a good choice for moderate climates but not for areas that are prone to high winds and storms because it can only withstand winds up to 70 mph.
It’s also not a good choice for homes in the South or desert areas because it can crack when exposed to direct sunlight or rapid changes in temperature.
A step up from the 3-tab shingle is the architectural shingle. Also known as dimensional shingles, these are more durable and made thicker to last longer—15 to 25 years.
They can withstand winds up to 110 mph (130 mph if roof-frame bracing and a special installation method is used). The highest quality shingles, or premium shingles, are usually found in the finest of homes and can last 20 to 30 years. They have a fancy design and are thicker than the mid-level shingles.
You will know it is time to replace your asphalt shingles when your roof develops severe cracks or looks curled up and dry. Sometimes, a roof may not show these signs but may have storm damage in some areas from strong wind or hail, then you may want to consider replacing it.
The most popular metal roofing system in residential roofing systems is a standing seam, which features concealed fasteners and has a 30-50 year life expectancy if installed properly.
Depending on the thickness and profile of a standing seam metal roof, it can withstand winds of up to 150 mph, with an average uplift rating of 110. Stainless steel, titanium, zinc, and copper are premium metals that have a life expectancy of more than 100 years.
Another roofing option to consider is Metal Shingles, which typically cost 20-30% less than a standing seam roof and has about the same life expectancy, wind ratings, and durability.
A more affordable metal roofing option is Ribbed Metal Panels. With exposed fasteners, ribbed panel roofing has a life expectancy of 25 to 40 years, but if you use concealed fasteners, the life expectancy increases to up to 50 years.
Stone-coated Steel Tiles are a popular option, especially in areas that experience hurricanes, like Florida. They come in Galvanized steel and are a great alternative to traditional roofing, offering a 30-50 year life expectancy. They are lightweight and durable, withstanding winds of up to 155 mph.
You will know it is time to replace your metal roofing when you notice the paint is discolored or peeling and chipping. You may also see a significant amount of rust. Water stains on the ceiling or buckets in the attic collecting leaks are signs the roof may need to be replaced.
An outstanding option found in luxury homes is Clay Tiles, which requires a specific roof frame design because of the weight of the tiles. Clay tiles, if properly installed, can last 50 to 100 years. While these tiles are able to withstand high winds, they can become dangerous in a hurricane if they are cracked or missing pieces.
A more affordable option to clay tiles is Concrete Tiles, which are similar in many ways but only tend to have a life expectancy of 40 to 75 years.
If you have a leak that does not improve with repairs or have cracked or loose tiles, you should consider replacing your concrete (or clay) tiles.
Homes on the beach and Cape Cod style homes often have Cedar Shingles and Shakes. This roofing option costs about the same as a metal but only last up to 40 years, with regular maintenance. This style roof can withstand winds up to 110 mph if properly installed.
If you have leaks that do not improve with repairs or notice cracked shingles, you should consider replacing your cedar shingles and shakes.
A common roofing option in luxury homes is Natural Slate, which is known for its high cost, long life expectancy, and weight. These roofs can last up to 100 years, but they can be dangerous in a hurricane because it has sharp edges and is heavy.
If you have leaks that do not improve with repairs or notice cracked or loose slates or missing slates, you should consider replacing your natural slate roof.
A cheaper alternative to cedar shakes and natural slate tiles is a Synthetic Composite roof. Similar in price to a standing seam metal roof, composite roofs are lightweight and durable, lasting up to 50 years and withstanding winds of up to 110 mph.
If you have leaks that do not improve with repairs, you should consider replacing your composite roof.
A popular option for roofs that are nearly flat or have low-sloped roofs is an EPDM roofing membrane. Because of the seams, which are glued or taped, it is not very durable and does not have a long life expectancy—5 to 15 years.
You should consider replacing an EPDM roof if you have excessive leaks or punctures in the membrane.
A longer-lasting and more durable alternative to EPDM is a single-ply roofing system—PVS and TPO. With thick, reinforced membranes and seams that are welded with hot air, they can last 20 to 30 years.
It’s time to replace PVC and TPO if the roof is almost 30 years old or has been damaged by storm debris, or if there are unrepairable leaks.