How Often to Replace a Roof

December 7th, 2022
aerial shot of a one-story home brown brick home with a Taupe roof

Though a new roof is a long-term investment, it is one that will need replacement at some point or another. Beyond regular maintenance and repairs when a single asphalt shingle or wood shingle needs to replace a missing shingle due to high winds, a roof’s lifespan can vary greatly depending on several factors. This can include the type of roofing material, the quality of material that is used, roof damage during a bad storm, water damage from freezing temperatures causing an ice dam, and similar issues that can be caught during a regular roof inspection.

Your roof replacement timeline may vary greatly. Though many quality roofs will last for well over two decades, with some metal roofing exceeding 50 years and the occasional tile roof lasting centuries, a hurricane can pull up a metal roof and 3-tab shingles can be displaced by a limb punching through the roof deck during a bad windstorm. However, in many situations outside of extreme weather, there are some warning signs that you can watch for during a regular inspection of your roof.

By having your roof replaced by a professional, reliable roofing contractor, you’ll be able to start with a solid base that will extend the average lifespan of your roof, whether you go with architectural asphalt shingles, slate roofing or clay tiles. A qualified contractor will be able to address numerous issues, such as a sagging roof, full roof replacement, proper maintenance, and a range of processes to prevent further damage during your complete roof replacement process. In this article, we’ll discuss different types of roofing material, such as a slate roof, shingle roof, concrete tile roof, metal roof, modern rubber roof options and single ply roofing membranes. Some of these will last longer than others, while others will be less expensive.

Roof Replacement Timeline Depending on Roofing Material

When a roof is properly installed, the attic properly ventilated, necessary roof repair processes happen and regular roof maintenance is undertaken, complete replacement of the entire roof can often be a 20- to 50-year occurrence. But why the big difference in life expectancy? Local conditions in different regions of the United States, including storm damage in the Midwest, a leaky roof due to temperature changes on your roofing system causing an ice dam in cold parts of the country or moss growth in humid areas can all impact the longevity of your roof. The biggest factor is often the material that is used, with some more suitable to specific areas of the country than others.


Asphalt Shingles


If you’re not experiencing a lot of other issues in your area, such as strong winds, extreme temperatures and similar problems that can cause your asphalt shingles to age or damage quickly, it’s pretty normal to start planning and budgeting for a roof replacement starting at about the 22-year mark. Whether you’re planning for 3-tab shingles or architectural asphalt shingles, budget so that you can invest in the highest-quality asphalt shingles you can afford, which will often provide superior performance and a longer lifespan before they will need replacement again. This type of asphalt roof is easy to handle during a full replacement, and in some circumstances, can simply be applied over the top of existing shingle roofing systems.


Wood Shingles


Though wood shingles, specifically cedar shakes, can often have a long lifespan of at least 30 years, with some options lasting as long as 50 years, they can also be a source of insect infestations, frequent maintenance, regular repairs and a source of potential leaks. They’re a great green option if you’re looking at a LEED certification, but there are many other materials that are also LEED certified and do not pose as short of a lifespan, susceptibility to moss or potential for fire hazards that you may want to consider before installing wood shingles on your roofing system.


Slate and Roof Tile


Depending on the type of tile, you can have a tile roof last between 50-100 years. Generally speaking, clay tile roofs will last for about 50 years, while cement tile roofs will last closer to a full century. Similarly, it’s fairly common for slate tile roofs to last between 75 years to over a century, provided that they are in an area where they will not be damaged by weather. However, it’s important to build for these heavy roofs from the beginning, as many existing roofs will not support the high weight of this type of roofing system.


Metal Roof


A metal roof can have a very long lifespan, typically lasting at least 30 years, while some high-quality metal roofs that consist of higher-gauge metal and finishes lasting well over 50 years, and some lasting as long as 75 years before requiring replacement. Metal roofs tend to be a good option if you’ve got a sagging roof, as it can be mounted on wooden strips on your roof that are able to stand independent from the roof deck. This makes it a great option on older homes that may have been built prior to specifications that would have kept the roof structure from sagging in the first place.


Rubber Roofs (EPDM)


Especially when a roof is flat, has a low slope or covers a very large area, a rubber roof, also referred to as an EPDM roof, can be a great option to consider. Rubber roofs can last for well over 30 years, providing you with a quality long-term investment in your roofing system. However, you’ll want to use this type of system with either a higher slope on your roof or in areas where snowfall is minimal to allow snow to slide off of the roof and avoid putting too much weight on your roofing system. That being said, rubber roofs have been used successfully by businesses in many climates for many decades.


TPO Roofing (Single-Ply Membrane)


If your roof demands commercial treatment, you may want to consider the top commercial option, which is a TPO or Single-Ply Membrane roof. With a long lifespan of up to 30 years, single-ply rubber-synthetic membranes can be fastened to the existing roofing system using a variety of options, including ballast, mechanical fasteners, adhesives, and much more. This allows you to customize the roofing system to your needs, ensuring exceptional performance for many years to come.

How Much Does Roof Replacement Cost?

Though nobody likes to hear it, the cost of roof replacement is highly tied to the home itself. A small roof will cost less than a large one, while a professional inspection may reveal water damage to the underlying roof decking. Here are a few of the factors that will impact how expensive your roof repair will be.

  • I. Square footage of the roof: The size of your roof will quickly drive up the cost of roof replacement. A larger roof will take more squares, or 100 square-foot sections, of roofing material than a small roof will, along with more installation labor.

  • II. Number of stories on your home: Working further above the ground will require higher levels of safety, larger equipment to lift materials and similar concerns.

  • III. Roof pitch: A steep roof is more difficult to work on, so a flat or near-flat roof will typically be less expensive than a high-pitch or A-frame structure.

  • IV. Roof design complexity: If your roof design is complex, including several changes in direction, extra peaks and valleys, skylights to work around or dormers, there is more labor involved to replace the roof.

  • V. Roof layers to be removed: If you need to have the entire roof scraped down to the decking, you’ll pay more, because it costs more to remove and dispose of the material.

  • VI. Roofing material chosen: The cost of the material will come into play in your total roof replacement expense, with asphalt shingles being near the bottom for expense and tile, slate or cement falling closer to the top.

If you have questions about the cost and process, a reputable local roofing company with the National Roofing Contractors Association, such as Leverage Roofing, would be happy to chat about your roof and create a transparent estimate of the cost.

How Long Does Roof Replacement Take?

Much as cost, the length of time to have your roof replacement completed also depends on your roof. This often includes the following factors:

  • Scope of work: If you have a small, fairly simple roof, a roof replacement may only take a day or two.
  • Project details: If you have a lot of dormers, skylights, complex geometry and similar issues, it will take longer.
  • Roofing materials: Metal roofs often go down very quickly, while re-doing your roof’s structure for tile or slate takes longer.
  • Weather: You don’t want your roof peeled open during the rainy season, so good weather makes the process faster.

Trust the Pros at Leverage Roofing

With a solid reputation in the area for quality construction, exceptional partnerships with manufacturers and fast service, the professionals at Leverage Roofing are ready to chat. Please contact us today to get started.