Whether you’ve recently purchased a home or have lived in yours for years, you’re probably wondering about the condition of your roof. Particularly, when you’ll be due for a roof replacement.

Not all roofing materials were created equal. Each material has a different lifespan, so we can’t offer an average lifespan for every roofing material under the sun. To answer, “How long does a roof last?” we’ll be breaking down the average lifespan of each of the popular roofing materials:

  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Metal Roofing
  • Flat Roofing
  • Clay Tiles
  • Slate Tiles
  • Cedar Shakes (Wood Shingles)

Average Roofing Material Lifespans

Some roofing materials are more common than others, and each product has a different anticipated lifespan. Use this guide to anticipate how long your current roof will last and if you’re interested in replacing it with a different material when the time comes.

1) Asphalt Shingles: 3-Tab and Architectural

how long does a roof last asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far and away the most common roofing material in the country. And, they’re our specialty here at Andes Roofing for residential and commercial properties. Asphalt shingles come in two primary categories: 3-tab and architectural shingles.

  • 3-tab shingles were once the standard. They’re a thin, lightweight material that comes in a simple design. These are one of the most affordable roofing materials on the market; however, they only have a maximum lifespan of 10-15 years.
  • Architectural shingles, also called laminated or dimensional shingles, are a more modern and optimized product. They’re thicker, more durable, and come in a wide range of striking color options that resemble more premium materials. These shingles cost more than 3 tabs but remain affordable compared to other materials. Architectural shingles can last 15-30 years.

2) Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are quickly increasing in popularity— mostly because of how long they last! Standing seam panels and metal shingles have an average lifespan of 40-70 years.

As a low-maintenance material, you don’t have to do much beyond scheduling annual inspections to ensure your metal roof is in top condition. You’ll also reap additional benefits, such as:

  • Fire-resistance
  • Impressive weather-resistance
  • Sleek aesthetics
  • Affordability (especially when considering the lifespan)
  • Lightweight material

3) Flat Roofing

how long does a roof last getting best contractor for roofing

Flat roofing is most common on commercial buildings, and it can come in a variety of forms:

  • BUR (Built-Up Roofing)
  • EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer)
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • Modified Bitumen
  • Spray Polyurethane Foam
  • TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)

Each type of flat roof has a different lifespan, but in general, most flat roofing materials last between 15-20 years.

  • Fun fact: Flat roofs aren’t perfectly flat. They have a slight slope to allow water to drain off instead of pooling.

4) Clay Tiles

We don’t see a lot of clay tile roofs here in Indiana, but there are a few scattered about. These roofs are most commonly found on classic Spanish architecture, which is why you’ll see a lot of them in the American Southwest.

Clay tiles are an incredibly durable material, often lasting between 75-100 years. Just be aware that a roofing material with a lifespan this long also comes with a price tag to match. Since it’s also heavier, you’ll need to verify that your home has the structural makeup to support this type of roof.

5) Slate Roofing

how long does a roof last slate roofs

Slate roofing isn’t commonly found on modern roofs in the US— they’re more usually seen on historical buildings. You’ll also see lots of slate roofs if you pay a visit to the United Kingdom!

Slate tiles are natural stones. When it comes to your roof, stone will stand the test of time! Slate roofs are known to last more than 100 years. As the longest-lasting roofing material, slate is also the most expensive. A total slate roof replacement could run you $50,000.

If you love the look of slate but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a new roof, consider the following instead:

  • Architectural shingles
  • Composite slate shingles
  • Metal tiles

These are all designed to resemble natural slate with more accessible and affordable materials.

6) Cedar Shakes

Wooden shingles or cedar shakes offer a unique, rustic look to people’s homes. Some homes even have cedar shake siding. While you’ll pay a premium price for these aesthetics, you’ll only get about 25-30 years out of a cedar shake roof.

Additionally, cedar shake roofs are prone to wood rot and are not recommended for homes in wildfire-prone regions. If you want a wooden shingle roof, be prepared to perform a lot of upkeep. And if you’re tired of caring for your existing cedar shake roof, architectural shingles make a fantastic, low-maintenance replacement.

What You Can Do to Prolong the Life of Your Roof

When you make an investment as significant as a new roof, you definitely want it to last as long as possible. Leaving your roof out of sight and out of mind is a sure way for it to deteriorate faster than it needs to. No matter your roofing material, follow these tips to prolong the life of your roof:

  • Schedule annual roof inspections (Spring and autumn are great times)
  • Schedule a roof inspection after any major storm (Wind and hail especially)
  • Promptly repair any damages or leaks
  • Keep your gutters clean and unclogged (Consider installing gutter guards if you haven’t yet)
  • Optimize your attic ventilation and insulation
  • Schedule roof snow removal if more than 1 foot of heavy snow accumulates on your roof
  • Hire professionals to trim tree branches that hang over your roof

The Only Roof Replacement Team You Need

If you need a roof replacement in Southern Indiana or Louisville, Andes Roofing is the team to call! We’ll walk you through your best options and never try to push a roof replacement sale if your home doesn’t need it. You can also rely on our team for detailed roof inspections before buying or selling a home.

As a GAF Master Elite Contractor, we specialize in installing GAF asphalt shingle roofing systems that are durable and beautiful. You’ll be impressed with just how professional our entire process is, from your first phone call to our final cleanup.

Reach out to Andes today to schedule a free inspection!