How Long Does a Roof Last?

by | May 31, 2023 | Residential Roofing

A well-kept roof can provide decades of curb appeal, energy efficiency, and peace of mind, but no roof lasts forever. Since a new roof can be a significant investment, it is best to be prepared when the time comes to replace it. This begins with an understanding of your roof’s expected life.

Average Lifespan of a Residential Roof

The expected life of your home’s roof varies widely based on the material. Asphalt shingle roofs typically need to be replaced every 15 to 30 years while metal roofs can last 50 years or more.

Within these two most popular categories of roofing materials, there are many sub-types which can impact durability. In addition to materials, there are several other factors that affect your roof’s expected life.

Factors that Impact a Roof’s Useful Life

The actual lifespan of your roof can be difficult to predict. But some of the most common factors that can influence its longevity include:

Quality of Installation

You never want to hear that you’ve paid thousands for a roof that is improperly installed, but it happens. When you are having a roof installed, be sure to choose the best roofer. Pick a roofing contractor that is local, licensed, and insured, and one who offers the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship. Also, be sure to ask about any guarantees or warranties the company offers. The best roofers will stand behind their work.

Quality of Materials

Asphalt shingles and metal roof panels are made by a variety of different companies, some of which produce superior products. When you have your roof installed or replaced, choose a roofer that offers a wide variety of high-quality materials and has the expertise to help you choose the right product for your situation.

The Environment

The climate in which you live can impact how long your roof lasts. In coastal areas, sun and salt are two common factors that can reduce a roof’s useful life. Prolonged exposure to strong UV rays can cause asphalt shingles to dry, become brittle, and crack. In addition, salty air is corrosive to some types of metals used for roofing. However, an experienced roofing professional will choose modern roof coatings and alternative metals that can delay or prevent rusting.

Extreme temperatures can also shorten a roof’s life. Roofing materials – both metal panels and asphalt shingles – expand and contract with changing temperatures. Over time, they can settle into new positions that leave vulnerable places for water to penetrate. This movement can also cause fastener holes to enlarge which, over the long-term, can allow water to penetrate.

In addition to the overall climate, some areas are prone to strong storms and hurricanes. It is no secret that these storms can cause immediate, and sometimes catastrophic damage to roofs. But many homeowners don’t consider that any storm with strong winds and heavy rain can cause hidden damage to roofs. That’s why it’s important to have your roof inspected after a storm, even if you haven’t noticed holes or leaks.

Fortunately, most types of environmental damage can be repaired. If these repairs are done promptly by a licensed roofing company, the roof’s longevity can often be preserved.


Like many parts of your home, your roof requires ongoing maintenance to reach its full lifespan. Keeping your roof clean of debris, moss, and algae can help to preserve its integrity. However, keep in mind that pressure washing is not recommended for asphalt shingle roofs as the concentrated spray of water can damage the coating. If you hire a professional to clean your roof, consider soft washing as an alternative.

Along with keeping your roof clean and free of debris, repair weather damage as it occurs. As detailed above, there are many types of possible environmental damage. This damage is often not visible from the ground, so you may not notice it until leaks form. To ensure your roof remains in good condition, have it inspected at least annually by a licensed roofing company. If these inspections reveal issues, have them repaired quickly to extend the lifespan of your roof.

Finally, don’t forget gutter maintenance. Gutters serve several essential functions, so you should ensure they are installed properly and kept clean. Like with other roofing needs, you should turn to a professional to clean your gutters. Roofing and gutter maintenance can be dangerous activities. It is best to leave them to a licensed and insured professional.

What To Do If Your Roof Appears to Be at The End of Its Useful Life

You may notice missing shingles, sagging, or unusual moss growth when your roof nears the end of its useful life. If any of these problems arise, contact a trustworthy roofing company promptly to assess the state of your roof.

Many signs of an aging roof are not visible from the ground – like reduced energy efficiency, unseen rot, and a propensity for leaking. An annual inspection from a licensed roofer can help you identify these unseen dangers before they lead to costly repairs. If your roof is compromised near the end of its expected life, it is best to consider replacement.

When choosing the best roofing company to replace your roof, be sure to consider the variety and quality of materials they offer. Also, choose a contractor with the right expertise to help you choose the appropriate material for your location, desired look, and budget. Finally, find a roofer that offers the highest quality craftsmanship and friendly, local service.

Choose Complete Roofing for All Your Roofing Needs

When your roof needs to be replaced, turn to the experts at Complete Roofing – a local, licensed, and insured roofing company with locations on the Mississippi coast, Alabama coast, and in the greater New Orleans area. With Complete Roofing, you receive expert craftsmanship, a variety of resilient materials, and outstanding local service. Our team can inspect your home’s roof, repair or replace it, and even handle your insurance claim from start to finish.

To contact a roofing specialist in your area, use the following links for our 3 general areas or click your city for express service:

Installation and Repair Services for Roofs and Gutters are available in the following locations: