How long does the roof last?

Roof longevity and its best protective performance will depend on many factors and there is no generalization how long it will last. Some properly installed high quality roofing materials might perform well for hundred years with very little or no maintenance at all. At the same time another, very often, on budget installed roof might has to be replaced in 10 – 15 years because of leaking.

Roofing materials

Asphalt shingles, with average life expectancy 15 – 20 years, is one of the most popular materials for covering sloped roofs. Aluminum and steel roof will last much longer and can easily preserve its protective ability for 70 – 100 years. Clay and concrete tiles might be good for 60 – 70 years or even longer. Wood shingles and shakes will last for 35 -50 years with adequate care. Natural and engineering slate is the most long lasting options. Even though it is expensive, slate roof can last for couple hundred years.

Single ply membranes on flat roofs typically last for 20 – 30 years. But some covering materials might have longer lifespan. It is not recommended to use cheap alternatives under roof top deck or while building a green roof. Premium products which sustain its protective ability longer is much better solution because in the case of leak everything what is on top have to be removed and it might be extremely costly repair.

Geographic location

Weather conditions and geographic location is the most important factors in determination how long the roofing materials will last. Strong winds might easily blow out asphalt shingles causing sooner repair or even a whole roof replacement. Sun exposure, extremely cold or hot temperature might significantly reduce lifespan of asphalt shingles.

Quality slate or metal roofs are less susceptible to weather and outside conditions will not impact its performance much. But in case of natural disasters heavy concrete roof can cause bigger damage. During the earthquake such roof can cause the whole structure collapsed under its weight. For such reasons some roofing materials might be prohibited in certain areas by local building codes due to safety concerns.

Heavy snowfalls and ice accumulation on the flat roof can be potentially dangerous for roofing membranes.

Installation and proper maintenance

Installation is another extremely important factor in determination of roof longevity and protective ability. Even highest quality and most durable roofing materials might have to be repaired or even replaced much sooner if not installed properly. All manufacturer recommendations and guidelines should be followed and hiring professional installers will definitely minimize the possibility of poor performed work. Also not properly installed materials won’t be covered by manufacturer’s warranty.

Periodical maintenance for certain type of roofing materials shouldn’t be skipped and performed according to manufacturer instruction. Timely inspections and proper care might significantly prolong overall roof performance.

While shopping for durable and long lasting roofing materials always consider number of factors. Very often replacement of asphalt shingles with much heavier concrete or slate tiles will be impossible unless roof reinforcement will be built to ensure the structure won’t be damaged by the weight of heavy roofing materials.