What Is the Average Lifespan of a Roof?

If you have moved into a new property or are looking to replace your roof, you may be wondering how many years you can expect to get out of your investment. We look at the average lifespan of different roofing materials, as well as the various factors that can affect their longevity. 

Average lifespans of different roofing materials

Even without adverse external factors, the material a roof is made from also affects its lifespan. Each roofing material will come with a guarantee for so many years, but as a general rule, the lifespans of the following roofing materials are: 

  • Asphalt shingles – 15-30 years
  • Metal roofing – 40-70 years
  • Concrete – 30-60 years
  • Clay tiles – 50-100 years
  • EDPM – 25-30 years
  • Slate – 75-200 years
  • Wood shingles – 30 years
  • Felt – 10-30 years

Factors that affect the lifespan of a roof

Consistent extreme weather

While roofs are designed to withstand the elements, extended periods of heavy rain or instances of extreme weather such as storms and hail can cause damage that will reduce a roof’s lifespan. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to prevent this other than choosing an appropriate roofing material for the climate to begin with. You also need to ensure it is installed properly by professionals and have it inspected after any major incidents.

Rot and water damage

Water damage can occur for a number of reasons, such as overflowing gutters or missing roof tiles. Water that penetrates the home presents the risk of rotting the wooden frames that make up the roof structure. If the roof structure is not stable, then the whole roof is at risk of collapse.

Improper installation

Poor installation can reduce the lifespan of your roof, even bringing it down below the guarantee given by the material provider. The wrong choice of nails, poor overlapping and the use of cheap materials are just a few ways a roof can be poorly installed and the long-term costs of rectifying these problems will far outweigh any initial savings from choosing a cheap roofing company. 


If pests such as rats or birds find their way into your roof, they can cause significant damage. Even if this damage is confined to the interior of the property, it will still weaken the roofing structure, particularly if the pests are entering and exiting through the roofing material. If you spot any signs of pests, you should arrange an inspection immediately. 

Using inappropriate material for the climate

Your choice of roofing material should take into account more factors than just visual appeal. Some roofing materials are not designed to be used in certain climates and may not perform as well in environments that are too hot or too cold. For example, coastal houses would benefit from aluminium roofing that doesn’t rust from the saltwater in the air, but a different roofing material might corrode, greatly reducing its lifespan.

Lack of maintenance

Roofs don’t need constant attention the way the inside of your home does, but that doesn’t mean maintenance should be neglected altogether. It is good practice to have your roof professionally inspected at least twice a year and you should also clean out your gutters twice a year to prevent water damage that can reduce the lifespan of your roof. 

You should also tend to any potential issues such as broken or missing roof tiles immediately before the problem escalates. If you allow moisture to penetrate beneath the roofing material, it will shorten its lifespan.
The life of a roof can vary drastically based on a number of factors such as how well it is maintained and whether it has taken any damage from adverse weather conditions or falling debris. The best way to ensure the longevity of your roof is with regular, professional inspections. If you need to arrange a roofing inspection or are looking to get your roof replaced, you can view our professional roofing services.

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