Life expectancy is one of the most heavily weighted attributes homeowners use to decide which roofing materials to go with when building or re-roofing a home. However, as the life expectancy of a roofing material increases, generally, so does the price – which must be considered, at least for most people. The average residential roof lasts about 20 years, but depending on your materials, budget, and upkeep, you can actually prolong the life of your roof up to 10 extra years. 


Materials Determine Your Roof’s Life Expectancy

Material is going to be the main factor in setting a baseline for your roof’s life expectancy. Although there are varying degrees of quality for each material, some materials are just more durable than others. For example, asphalt shingles will never be able to compete against something like slate in a storm with high winds and falling debris. 

Below are five popular roofing materials and their estimated life expectancy:

  • Asphalt Shingles Lifespan: 15-30 years
  • Wood Shingles or Shakes Lifespan: 30-50 years
  • Metal Lifespan: 50+ years
  • Slate Lifespan: 50-100 years
  • Clay or Concrete Tiles Lifespan: 50+ years

It’s important to note that your roof could last slightly above or below the average, expected lifespan. In addition to the material chosen, it can depend on what geographic region you live, what type of weather conditions are common in your area, and the grade or quality level of the material you decide to invest in. If you live in an area that encounters lots of storms, your roof will take a beating more often and will most likely wear faster. On the other hand, if you live in a warm climate where it’s hot and sunny all the time, that can have an impact on your roof’s life expectancy as well. 


A Larger Budget Can Go A Long Way

You know that saying “you get what you pay for?” Re-roofing or roofing a newly built home is not cheap. Your instincts may lead you towards a cheaper option, but if you are financially in a position to be able to invest more, we highly recommend it. 

As mentioned in the previous section, there are varying degrees of quality for each roofing material. For example, low-grade asphalt shingles may last you 15-20 years, whereas a higher grade shingle material will last closer to the 25-30 year mark. With higher quality and better longevity though comes a higher dollar value. That lower grade shingle on average will cost $70-$150 per square versus $150-$400 per square for the higher grade.

Additionally, if you are considering a completely different material for its durability, the price tag will go up even more. So money may not buy you happiness, but it can buy you a more durable, longer-lasting roof.

To determine whether or not to make the extra investment, ask yourself questions such as:

  • How much more can I afford?
  • How long do I plan on living here?
  • What weather conditions may affect my roof’s life expectancy?
  • How old is my home? Can the structure withstand a heavier roofing material?


Upkeep & Care Is Crucial to Life Expectancy

Beyond choosing the right roofing materials within your personal budget, there are several things that can be done to ensure your investment is worthwhile. These action items include proper installation, upkeep, and care.

Even the highest quality and most durable material will not reach its potential lifespan if not installed by a professional or taken care of properly. In order to ensure these two things, do your research on local roofers. Consider multiple people and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about their experience, if they are licensed, and if they offer warranties. For more information about finding the right roofer for you, visit our Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Roofer article.

Once your roof is installed, it’s crucial to take care of it. If a heavy storm passes through, consider taking a walk up top and check to see if everything looks okay. Clear off debris and if you notice a missing shingle or a leaky spot, fix it while it can be patched or easily replaced. If you wait too long, it could cause a lot more damage to the roof and overall structure of your house. Upkeep and care can be the difference between the average 20 years and a roof that lasts you 30 years.

How Old Is Your Roof?

In some instances, you may not have replaced your roof yourself and don’t know how old it is. Knowing the age of your roof can help you determine when you will need a new one and help you save and budget for this expense. The easiest way to find out the age of your roof is to contact the previous homeowner or roof manufacturer, but sometimes this isn’t an option.

Other ways to tell if you might need a new roof soon are:

  • Daylight coming through roof boards in the attic
  • Sagging areas
  • Water damage
  • Dark stains
  • Missing granules on asphalt shingles
  • Curled, missing, or buckled shingles
  • Damaged flashing
  • Moss growth

Contact Us Today

Determining a budget and choosing the right roofing material for your home is just the starting point. Once you’ve decided on the materials, it’s time to install your roof and make sure that whoever will be doing the installing is an experienced and trained professional. From there, it is up to you as a homeowner to keep watch and care for your roof. Keep it relatively clean and get any small repairs taken care of as soon as possible. The upfront investment of a high-quality roof combined with proper upkeep and care will ensure it reaches its full potential lifespan or maybe even more. If you have any questions regarding roofing materials, installation, or repair please contact us today.

Austermiller, Inc. has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for over 25 years. Our team of certified contractors and roofers are trained professionals to install materials of the highest quality with the highest quality service. We are proud to specialize in both commercial and residential roofing, as well as storm damage repair and restoration.  Schedule your FREE estimate today by visiting us online or giving us a call at 615-553-2041.