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How Long Does a Roof Last?

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Old Roof on a HouseIf you aren’t sure just how old your roof is, it’s an excellent idea to check and find out. While roofs can last for decades if they are maintained and don’t become damaged by bad weather, sometimes small warning signs of problems go unnoticed for too long. This can lead to larger issues that can cause structural damage to the house itself. The length of time a roof will last depends on the material that it is composed of and what sort of weather you experience. We’ll look at that and more in this article.

Difference Between Roofing Materials

Many residential home roofs are composed of composite or asphalt shingles. You can expect a roof like this to last around 20 years, but if you used a high-quality brand, it might last as long as 50 years. If your roof is made of fiber cement, it’s likely to last around 25 years. Architectural asphalt and cedar shake tend to last around 30 years.

When looking at other materials, some roofs can last much longer. Metal roofs might last anywhere from 40 to 80 years, while tile and slate roofs can stand tall even longer than that. Some slate roofs continue to work even 100 years after installation.

Weather Damage

Even the most durable materials, such as tile, metal, and slate, can end up sustaining damage in some situations. While they might handle harsh weather just fine for years, problems can arise. You might find that high winds lead to shingles being pushed loose or even removed from the home. Even losing a single shingle makes your roof vulnerable to additional damage. Wind is also able to bring down tree branches and satellite receivers, causing breaks in the roof.

It’s not only wind that can be a problem, though. Hail also can cause some substantial damage to your roof. Hail is essentially a ball of ice that is being tossed at high speeds toward your home. It should come as no surprise that this can lead to damage, like cracking tiles or denting metal. A few hailstones may not be enough to cause issues, but you should always look over the roof after a storm like this.

In the majority of cases, ice and snow won’t cause much trouble to roofs. However, heavy snowfall can cause cracking in rare situations. In addition, snow can seep into any cracks in the roof and refreeze. This can lead to fractured or weakened shingles and tiles.

Even the sun can cause issues over time that lead to wear on your roof. The presence of ultraviolet rays can break down the roof materials, especially if your roof is made of wood shake or asphalt.

Signs Your Roof Needs Repairs

It’s a good idea to check your roof for problems on a regular basis. This is especially crucial after any major storms or bad weather. Look for missing shingles or shingles that are curled at the edges. If your roof is asphalt, check in the gutters for granules. Some materials can also get punctures from wind or hail so look for those. Flaking and roughness on stale tiles is also a bad sign.

In addition to the roof itself, make sure to inspect the chimney, vents, skylights, and other valleys. If you see dents, tears, or rust, water could make its way into your home. This is something that should be rectified immediately with the help of an expert. The good news is professional roofing companies can come out and determine if your problem is serious and what should be done. Just remember, make sure to keep inspecting the roof on a regular basis and do any maintenance that is needed quickly.