The materials used and quality of workmanship—as well as the climate and weather—determine the lifespan of your roof. While many types of roofs can last longer than 15 years, there are several that can last for 50 years or longer, with the exception of a serious storm or a large fallen tree.

Not surprisingly, cheaper roofing materials do not last as long as their more expensive counterparts, and they range price quite a bit. At the lower end are shingles costing roughly $70 per square (remember that in roofing terms, a “square” is 100 square feet) and at the higher end of the spectrum you could pay as much as $1,500 per square—with shingles at that top price point in the range potentially lasting longer than the house itself. So, let’s that a look at how long different types of shingles are likely to last so you can judge the lifespan of your roof.

Asphalt shingles last 15 to 30 years.

Asphalt shingles, which are the most common type of roofing material sold today, are installed on more than 80% of new homes because they’re inexpensive (averaging $70 to $150 per square) and typically include warranties of up to 25 years. They are made up of a variety of ingredients, including organic materials and cement fibers, and they offer a durable layer of protection from UV rays, wind, snow and rain. The shingles’ underside includes a layer of black asphalt that gets sticky in the hot sun and seals the roofing in place and forms a watertight seal.

Architectural shingles are a premium type of asphalt shingles that last 25 to 30 years.

While architectural shingles seal in a way similar to that of standard asphalt shingles, they’re up to three times thicker which means they form a denser, more resilient roof. Typically costing between $250 to $400 per square, architectural shingles are often thought to be more attractive than their standard counterparts, with homeowners able to choose from a variety styles that mimic even more expensive roofing, like wood, slate, and tile. Warranties vary by manufacturer, but some are offered that last as long as 30 years.

A wood shingle roof can last up to 30 years but requires annual upkeep.

Cedar is the favored choice for wood shingles (they are also called “shakes”) because it is both rot and insect resistant. Wood shingles look attractive on just about every type of house, weathering over time and turning to a soft silvery gray, but they’re especially well-suited to Tudor and cottage-style homes. Because wood is a natural product, it’s not uncommon to sometimes find a few warped or even several split shingles. A wood shingle roof should be professionally inspected annually, and any split shingles should be promptly replaced. The average cost is $250 to $600 per square for a wood shingle roof and warranties run up to 30 years.

Clay tile roofs can last 50 years or longer.

While clay tiles are available in a wide variety of earthy colors, this roofing is best known for its bold terracotta tones that are very popular in the southwest region of the United States. On average you will pay $600 to $800 per square to have a clay tile roof installed, but you will not need to worry about replacing the roof any time soon. The durable, low-maintenance tiles can last 50 years, and manufacturers usually offer warranties anywhere from 30 years to a lifetime.

A slate tile roof can last a century or longer.

Slate is a natural metamorphic stone with a fine grain appearance. It is perfect for being cut into uniform roofing tiles. Though this is quite a pricey option, ranging from $600 to $1,500 per square, a slate roof can take just about anything Mother Nature dishes out (maybe not a powerful tornado), while retaining its structural integrity and appearance. Slate tile manufacturers offer warranties that can range anywhere from 50 years to a lifetime, and if a slate tile ever break, it can easily be replaced. The biggest downside to slate tile roofs (besides the hefty cost) is how much they weigh. Standard roof framing is not appropriate for supporting these heavy tiles, so the roof’s rafters have to be reinforced before they can be installed.

The Importance of Roof Maintenance

Scheduling annual inspections with a licensed roofing professional will help ensure that your roof lasts as long as possible. At AllPoint, we work with you to help ensure you are aware of required maintenance tasks that can catch minor issues before they escalate into major problems. In addition, it’s important to keep an eye on your roof, especially after a storm or extreme weather hits.  After a storm involving ice, hail, or strong winds, schedule an inspection with us or look over your roof yourself, and if any damage is spotted, we can complete repairs before any further damage is done.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Asphalt Shingles

Since we can’t give you an exact expiration date for your roof, you’ll have to keep track of its age and monitor its condition as the years go by. If you start to notice some of the following issues, you may need to replace your roof soon:

  • Missing shingles
  • Curling or buckling shingles
  • Dark streaks and stains
  • A leak in the roof
  • Water damage inside your home
  • Cracked shingles
  • Shingles missing granules
  • Granules in the gutters
  • Algae or moss that has lingered on the roof, damaging the shingles
  • Sagging roof
  • Rot or decay

If you identify any of these signs of roof damage, don’t panic! You don’t need to schedule a roof replacement right away and, in some cases, the issue can be repaired and the roof can last for many years to come.

As soon as you notice the damage, simply contact us to schedule an inspection. Using our experience and expertise, we will recommend a repair or a replacement.

Between super-heated summers and bitter-cold winters, Downriver Michigan’s extreme seasonal changes take a vicious toll on roofs. That’s why we only use top-quality roofing materials and supplies from GAF, North America’s leading roofing manufacturer. GAF products cover and protect everything from churches and commercial facilities to professional sporting stadiums. And that same quality is guaranteed to protect what matters most important to you – your family and your home.