How Long Can I Expect My Roof to Last?

Woman holding roofing shingles outside a home on a windy day
Your roof does a lot of hard work to protect your home from weather, moisture and debris. And when it’s doing its job, you probably don’t even think about it. Proper roof installation and upkeep can make your roofing last as long as possible before you need to invest in a replacement. Most homeowners have never had to think about a roof replacement—so you likely have questions about how long you can expect it to last and when to replace it. Here’s what to know.

Average Lifespan of Different Roofing Materials

A roof’s natural lifespan depends on a lot of variables, including weather elements and other factors that age it. As you look at the numbers below, keep in mind that most roofs give homeowners about 80-85% of their estimated lifespan, because of premature aging due to hail damage, leaks, etc.

Asphalt Roof Shingles

This is probably the most common roofing material that homeowners are familiar with, because it’s been used for decades on all types of homes. There are 3 types of asphalt roofing shingles:
  • 3-tab asphalt shingles lay flat on your roof, and they last up to 25 years.
  • Dimensional asphalt shingles provide a pattern of color that mimics the look of wood, and they last up to 30 years.
  • Luxury asphalt shingles are larger than the other two types, and can mimic the look of slate. They last 30-50 years.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

Growing in popularity in Kansas City, standing seam metal roofing is made up of metallic panels that lock into place to protect your home. Standing seam metal lasts 30-50 years, depending on conditions such as weather-related wear and tear. They can be painted with a protective finish to enhance their long-lasting quality.

Slate Roof Tiles

Made of natural slate, this elegant roofing option is highly coveted for its beauty. Yet it’s also a significant investment because it is costly to produce and install. On the other hand, slate has an impressively long lifespan of up to 75-100 years. The key is to ensure it is properly installed and maintained, because slate roofing doesn’t have a manufacturer’s warranty like manmade roofing does.

Composite, Synthetic Roofing

This type of roof material is crafted from recyclables and can give you the appearance of wood or slate without the high maintenance of those materials. Composite roofing has a Class 4 impact rating (the highest you can get!), so it stands up beautifully to hail and lasts up to 40-50 years as a result.

Cedar Roof Shakes

Made from authentic wood, cedar shakes look attractive and elegant—but they can be hard to care for. They must be carefully installed to prevent cracks, and since they’re a natural material, they don’t have the kind of warranty manmade roof products offer. Yet if cedar roofing is properly installed and treated and maintained, you can get 30 years out of it.

Elements that Can Age Your Roof Faster

Beyond aging, there are other factors that cause a roof to need replacement sooner than its typical lifespan. Among them:
  • Hail damage — Common in the Kansas City area, hail can crack and break roof shingles, making your home susceptible to water damage at any stage of your roof’s lifespan.
  • Falling debris — Tree branches can do a lot of damage, even to a new roof.
  • Poor installation techniquesInexperienced roofers may cut corners or make mistakes such as attaching new shingles to old ones (instead of removing the old shingles). That’ll age a roof prematurely.
  • Wind damage — If roofing isn’t properly nailed down or is damaged, the roof shingles can pull up or fly away, exposing the vulnerable roofing deck to moisture.
If you see signs of premature damage, such as loose or missing roof shingles, sagging, mold and mildew stains, holes, or moisture damage in your home—have your roof inspected right away to avoid more costly repairs.

Get a Long-Lasting, Beautiful Roof that Gives You Confidence Your Home Is Protected

You can definitely prolong the life of your roof by making the right choices—including a strong and lasting material, proper upkeep, and high-end installation techniques applied by a professional roofing contractor like Kansas City’s Smart Exteriors. At Smart Exteriors, we go the extra mile to ensure every little detail of your roofing installation is done right so that you can relax knowing your new roof will stand the tests of time and Kansas City weather. Learn more about our craftsmanship approach to roofing installation.