How Long Does a Roof Last: Factors Affecting Your Roof’s Lifespan

Feb 22, 2023


Viking Contractors




February 22, 2023


May 10, 2024

Got Questions?

The first question that should pop up in your mind before buying a roof is,” How long does a roof last?” After all, installing a cheap, low-quality roof might seem like a good bargain at first, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg for maintenance. 

Generally speaking, roofs can last anywhere from 20 to more than 150 years, depending on factors like the quality of installation and ventilation. 

However, the biggest factor that can affect your roof’s lifespan is the roofing material itself. 

For instance, slant tiles can last hundreds of years, while three-tab asphalt tiles can’t last more than 20 years at best.

In this article, our expert Viking Contractors delves deeper into the different types of roofing materials and their lifespan, so keep reading to learn more.

Roof Life Expectancy

Roofs have an average lifespan of 25 to 50 years, but this can vary depending on the material. So if your roof has outlived its lifespan, call a Viking Contractor expert for a free inspection. 

Below are the most commonly used roofing materials and their estimated lifespan.

Slate Tiles

how long does a roof last - Roof cover with slate plates

Slate tiles have a pretty long lifespan, so they’re often called the forever roof. They can last from 75 to more than 100 years. This is because slate is a hard metamorphic rock that can handle pressure and extreme weather conditions. 

Even though slate tiles can last for many years, installing them can be quite challenging because of their heavy weight, so you should expect to pay a hefty fee for labor. 

Metal Roof

Metal roof is another durable material lasting anywhere from 40 to 70 years. However, its cost can vary, depending on the quality and style. 

For instance, high-end copper tiles cost at least $1,500 per square. Also, metal tiles don’t require much maintenance, so you’ll save on costs long-term. 

Concrete Tile

Concrete tiles can last for at least 50 years. They can withstand the worst environmental factors—from extreme heat and high winds to insect damage and fire. 

These tiles also don’t require much maintenance. However, they are susceptible to mold formation if you reside in a humid area. 

Wood Shingles

Wood tiles are an affordable roofing material that can last from 20 to 30 years. However, they’re prone to damage from pests, especially those that thrive in attics and fungus. 

So they require continuous maintenance. You might also need to replace or restain them a couple of times.

Composite Shingles

Composite tiles are made with a mix of roofing materials, such as asphalt, fiberglass, and synthetic polymer. They can last from 30 to 50 years and can withstand extreme conditions, such as fire and heat. 

As for cost, you can expect to pay around $400 per square.

BUR Roofing

BUR, also known as built-up roofing, is the most common material used for flat and low-slope roofs. This is because it has excellent drainage, reducing the risk of roof damage. 

It has a 15 to 30 years lifespan, but it can last up to 40 years if you do continuous maintenance.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles have excellent durability, often lasting from 50 to 100 years, and they’re low maintenance, too! But here’s the catch: they aren’t suitable for humid areas. 

As for cost, clay tiles are pricey, but you’ll cut costs in the long run since you won’t need to replace your roof. 

Three-Tab Asphalt Shingles

Three-tab asphalt tiles often last from 15 to 20 years, which is a pretty short lifespan. Plus, they’re light and flat, so they’re subject to wear and damage. 

In fact, we don’t recommend relying on them for roofing support. After all, you’ll eventually need to replace them. Unsurprisingly, they cost anywhere from $90 to $100, which is quite cheap.

Factors That Impact Roof Lifespan

All roofs can last a certain period before they need replacement. This lifespan can vary depending on many key factors, such as:

Material Type and Quality

The type and quality of the roofing material have a huge impact on the lifespan of your roof. For instance, slate tiles can last over 150 years, which makes them the best roofing material in terms of lifespan. 

Conversely, asphalt tiles only have a lifespan of around 15 years. 

On another note, each roofing material can vary in quality, depending on whether it’s subpar or high-end. For instance, welsh slate is the best slate in terms of quality, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Material color

This might come as a surprise to you, but the color of the roofing material can affect its lifespan. Dark roof colors absorb heat, which might lead to overheating or cracking over time. 

Conversely, light roof colors don’t absorb as much heat, making them less likely to overheat. 


If you don’t ventilate your roof enough, you increase the risk of:

  • Moisture buildup that leads to mildew and mold growing in the cracks
  • Ice dam formation that creates ice ridges at the roof edges and leads to leaks
  • Overheating that leads to cracking and damage

Regular Roof Maintenance

Roof shinlge repair with nile gun and hammer

It’s important to inspect your roof to fix minor issues frequently. In the long run, this will save you time and money because you’re less likely to face any major repairs, maintenance, or replacement. 

At the minimum, you should have a roof inspection once a year.


Flat and low-slanted roofs have poor drainage, so they don’t shed water efficiently. This often causes the formation of fungus or leaks that damage the roof. 

Conversely, medium-slanted and steep roofs have excellent drainage abilities, so they have longer lifespans. 

Quality of Installation

Properly installing a roof and following all the manufacturer’s instructions can extend its lifespan. In other words, even if you have top-notch roofing material, It’ll still need frequent maintenance if it was poorly installed. 

When Should I Replace My Roof?

There are warning signs that can indicate you need to replace your roof. Here are some of them:

  • Ceiling discoloration
  • Leakage
  • Pests
  • Visible damage
  • Missing tiles or shingles

Also, if your roof is approaching the end of its lifespan, it’s best to invest in a new one.


As you’ve seen, roof durability usually varies between 25 and 50 years on average. However, some factors can influence it, such as proper ventilation, material color, and continuous maintenance. 

Our certified team has years of experience restoring damaged roofs. So if you notice signs of discoloration, fungus formation, or leakage, a Viking Contractor professional can inspect your roof. All you need is to click on this link to schedule or call us at (612) 567-5522.

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