How Long Does a Roof Last on Houses?


When it comes to the roof on your home you probably don’t even think about it, right? Most of us just assume that our roof is fine and that it’s going to be fine forever. But the truth is … roofs aren’t always going to be fine. Eventually you’re going to need to replace it. But just how long does a roof last? How do you know when you’re going to need to replace? How can you prepare for what it’s going to need? Well, that’s all going to depend on a few factors, and one of the most important ones is the type of roof that you have.

Types of Roofs

There are many different types of roofs that you could have on your home and knowing just how long does a roof last depends on which one of these you have. Shingle or asphalt roofs, metal roofs, tile roofs, flat roofs, solar roofs, rubber, green and all the rest are each going to have different longevity. Some last a long time (upwards of 50 years) and others aren’t going to last long at all. It’s all going to depend on the material, but also on a few factors that you might not have complete control over. But let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.

Asphalt/Shingle Roof

Asphalt/Shingle Roof – These roofs used to be the most common, and for good reason. They were relatively inexpensive and they lasted for quite a while. But now … they’re not considered to be as long-lasting as they once were. That’s not because they last a shorter amount of time than they used to, but because newer roofs are able to last a great deal longer. These shingles are starting to get a little out of date, but they do have some unique style options. These roofs are typically designed to last about 20-30 years (and sometimes 50, depending on the material). To check out a variety of all the shingles we use, take a closer look into the manufacturer, Owens Corning shingles.

Metal Roof

Metal Roof – These roofs are relatively inexpensive, but they can get a bit noisy overall. That’s especially true if you have a lot of intense weather such as rain, snow or wind. Anything bouncing off the metal pieces is definitely going to make a lot of noise, which isn’t a good idea for just anyone. They do last up to 60-70 years and they tend to look pretty good as well. That’s because they can be found in shingles that look like tiles or in large panels. To read more about the differences between asphalt shingle and metal roofs, check out this article.

Stone Coated Roof

Stone Coated Roof – These are actually shingles that are made from steel and then coated with some type of stone. This makes them even more damage resistant and economical. Not to mention they look pretty good and they may come with a warranty that lasts as long as the house they’re put on. That means they last quite a while, far longer than you will actually own the house, which means you don’t have to worry about spending so much money on a roof that’s going to need replacing. The other side of things is that they can be quite expensive.

Rubber Slate Roof

Rubber Slate Roof – This one is designed to look all natural and just like some of your favorite older homes. Not only that but they’re actually quite long lasting, up to 100 years. But that’s only if you care for them in the right way, as they’re quite easily damaged. If you step on them or you end up with any kind of hail they could suffer from serious damage, which makes them best for parts of the country where that’s less likely to happen.

Clay/Concrete Tile Roof

Clay/Concrete Tile Roof – Tiles can be extremely popular because they look beautiful and they match just about any home style. They’re also great for tornadoes and other high wind situations. This makes them great for areas along tornado alley or even for those areas that get earthquakes and hurricanes. If you care for them properly you can get up to 50 years out of them, but they can be quite fragile with direct pressure. That includes someone stepping on the tiles, so be careful about going up onto your roof with these.


Slate Roof

Slate Roof – A standard slate roof is quite effective in many climates and situations because it’s waterproof, mold resistant and burn-resistant. What it isn’t is good with pressure. If you step on it or you get hail you could end up with damage and that means a whole lot more expensive when you have to replace some of the tiles and pieces. Not to mention these pieces can be expensive so you’re definitely not going to want to go through that hassle.

Green Roof

Green Roof – A green roof is one that is covered over with plants. They generally have a whole system of vapor barriers, insulation, waterproofing, soil, plants and more. All of this takes a whole lot of work and effort but the end result is something that lasts up to 40 years. They also look pretty unique and interesting so you can expect a lot of your neighbors to be confused and curious about just what your green roof really does and whether they might want one too. You’ll need to spend a bit of time on the whole process.

Flat Roof

Built-Up/Flat Roof – These are made with several layers of tar, adhesive or asphalt and they’re designed to provide more support for flat surfaces. They last up to 20 or even 25 years, but they can get sticky under direct light, which makes them harder to clean off. In areas where snow is prevalent this may not be the best idea because too much snow can pool on top of the home and this could result in some serious damage over time.

Improving the Longevity of Your Roof

There are some things that you can do to help improve the longevity of your roof. These are things that are going to help you take care of the roof and make sure that it’s always working in the way you would expect. Now, these things aren’t going to keep you from ever having to replace your roof, but they are going to help you decrease the amount of repairs you need and increase the amount of time between when you put on a new roof (or move into a new home) and when you have to put on that next new roof.

General Maintenance

General Maintenance – One of the most important things you can do with your roof is make sure that it’s cleared off at all times. That means removing snow, leaves and other debris routinely. It’s easy for these things to get stuck up on top of your roof (even more so if you have a flat roof) and when they do they can start to wear away or break down the roof underneath. If you’re removing all of these things from your roof regularly so they don’t spend days and weeks (or longer) sitting up there, you’re going to have less need for repairs or replacement.

Another aspect of maintenance has to do with your gutters. Making sure that the gutters are actually cleaned out and firmly (and properly) attached to the sides of your roof and home are another important aspect of this process. You want to make sure that the gutters are working properly because otherwise debris, leaves, snow and moisture could be trapped on the side of the house or on the roof, even when you think it should all be draining off. That’s something you want to check regularly, especially after a snowfall or rain.

Get Repairs When Necessary

Get Repairs Done – If there is a problem with your roof it’s essential that you get it taken care of immediately. A couple broken or missing shingles may not be a big deal if you get them taken care of and replaced right away. But if they’re left for too long you could end up with water damage, which could spread underneath the other shingles as well. The same goes for any other type of damage that happens to your roof. If you let it go on for too long you could end up with an even more serious problem in the long run. If you’re wondering how to repair a leaking roof, you can find more information on our blog.

Hire a Professional – For any work that you do need to get done it’s essential that you hire a professional to do it. You want someone who is licensed, insured and has the experience necessary to work on the type of roof that you have. Not all roofs are created equal, after all. A professional who is certified and trained to work on asphalt roofs may not be certified and trained to work on tile roofs. You want to hire someone who knows how to take care of what you have so you can be sure you’re getting the best job possible. At Energy Roofing Inc, our Los Angeles roofing contractors make sure to give you the best quality work with a competitive price.

Choose the Right Materials – If you’re putting in a new roof you should choose the right materials. A metal roof could be a good option if you don’t have any concerns about the sound. Tile could be great if you want durability and you’re not going to go up on top of the roof. Asphalt is an inexpensive option and one that you may want to go with if you just want to go simple. There are a number of different styles to choose from but your roofer should be able to help you find the right one.

Factors You Can’t Control

As with anything, there are going to be some things that you just can’t control about your roof. These are the things that happen no matter what you do (or at least could happen) so they’re things that you want to think about when you’re putting in a new roof or when you’re buying a home. That way, you can make sure that you’re getting something that should be built to last at least for a reasonable amount of time. That’s going to save you a whole lot of money in the long run.

Improper Installation – Now, if you hired someone to do the job you can definitely go back to them and get something done about an improperly installed roof. But if you buy a house and later find out there’s something wrong with the way the roof was installed you may be out of luck. That means you could be on the hook for getting that roof replaced even though you had no idea that anything would happen to it or that it would break down in a shorter amount of time than it should have. To save yourself from years of headaches and constant leaks, make sure to do your due diligence and find a qualified roofer. If you live in Southern California, make sure to ask the professionals at Energy Roofing for an accurate and competitive quote.

Location – You get to choose where you live, but only to a certain extent. Chances are that you’re not going to move to another state just because you want a different type of roof. Well, some roofs aren’t designed for certain locations because of the weather conditions. You can’t really control the location you live in, so you’ll need to pay closer attention to the type of roof that you choose instead. A qualified roofer shouldn’t let you choose a roof that isn’t going to be reasonably successful and efficient in your area.

When it comes down to it, you want to make sure you have a high quality roof and that it’s going to last. That’s why you’re wondering just how long does a roof last on houses. But that’s going to depend on a number of different factors. Take a look at each of the factors that you can control and the ones that you can’t and make your decision about just what you can expect on that roof.