Most roofs need to be replaced every 20 to 30 years. That said, some roofs can easily surpass a century without the need to replace them.
As a homeowner, getting your roof replaced is more than a minor inconvenience. It’s seriously expensive. It makes your house unlivable for a few days, or at least genuinely uncomfortable—but it’s well worth the aesthetic and structural results.
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How long does a roof last?
Different roofing styles and materials will outlast others. They’ll also be priced differently. Let’s start by taking a look at the most common types of roofs and their lifespans.
Different types of roofing
- Three-tab asphalt shingles are simple and affordable, but you get what you pay for. These shingles typically last 15 to 20 years.
- Architectural shingles give the roof a more three-dimensional look. They cost more, but they also usually last longer, around 20 to 40 years.
- Wood shingles require a lot of work on your part. You need to keep them clear of debris, leaves, and moss or they’ll start to decay. These typically last 20 to 30 years, or as long as 50 if you take good care of them.
- Wood shakes look more dated than wood shingles. These can last longer thanks to their thickness—30 to 40 years on average, or up to 60 with proper care.
- Composite roofs are made of mostly recycled materials but look like a more expensive slate or wood shake roof. They can last 30 to 50 years or more.
- Metal roofing can last up to 100 years, depending on the metal. Zinc and copper tend to outlast steel and aluminum, which will usually need replacing after 50 to 60 years.
- Tile roofing made of cement or clay can easily surpass 50 years, and might even make it past 100 years. It’s pricey but extremely durable.
- Slate roofing will easily last 100 years if it’s cared for. Many experts suggest slate roofing above other material options.
Signs it’s time to replace your roof
How often you need to replace your roof boils down to the condition of your roof itself. If two or more of the following situations apply to you, consider having a roofer come by to inspect your roof and give you an estimate.
- You haven’t replaced the roof in over 20 years
- Areas appear to be sagging
- The roof is leaking
- You see patches of mold or moss on the roof
- Shingles, shakes, or tiles are damaged or missing
- Areas of the roof appear severely discolored or faded
What to keep in mind when replacing your roof
Replacing your roof isn’t an easy decision, even if it’s something you desperately need. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
- Roofing is priced by the “square.” Each square equals 100 square feet. So, divide the total square footage of your home’s roof by 100 to find out how many squares you’ll need.
- Shop around. Don’t just go with the first roofer you find, or a roofer someone suggests to you. Make sure you’re getting the lowest rate for the job.
- Make sure the roofer is locally licensed AND insured. They need to present evidence of worker’s comp and liability insurance, so you’re protected if they get injured on your property.
- Choose the best value roofing material. Don’t just go for the cheapest three-tab asphalt you can find and call it a day. Other materials are more expensive, but they’ll last longer and improve your home’s resale value.
- Your house might be unlivable for a few days. Roofing is loud. Roofers will be ripping and pounding and slamming, and you may want to stay someplace else during the day while they’re working.
- Ask about roof removal services. Make sure the roofer is fully replacing the roof instead of just putting fresh tiles over your old ones.
Materials and pricing
You can expect to pay roughly the following for these different types of roofing material:
- Asphalt shingles: $90 per square
- Composite shingles: $400 per square
- Wood shingles: $500 per square
- Cement tiles: $500 per square
- Metal roofing: $1,000 per square
- Slate roofing: $1,600 per square
- Clay tiles: $1,800 per square
Does home insurance cover roof replacement?
You’ll want to look over your home insurance policy or give your insurance provider a call to ask what specific
perilsare covered. But as a general rule, home insurance usually pays for roof replacement only if the roof is damaged by something the provider covers.
For instance, if your roof is damaged by a tornado, a house fire, or even
impact from a vehicle, that’s usually covered. But if your roof is just old, damaged due to wear and tear, or neglected, repairs won’t be covered.
Beware that insurance companies often won’t pay for roofs more than 20 years old—regardless of what causes the damage.
Always make sure the damage amount exceeds your deductible before filing an insurance claim, too.
How to find affordable home insurance
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Can you replace a roof in winter?
Yes, you can replace a roof in winter, but some roofing companies won’t perform their services during the cold season.
Sealants and caulks for roofing are easier to use when it’s between 70 and 80 degrees outside. You don’t have to individually seal each tile when it’s warm out, either, making the warm season more desirable for roofing work.
Can a roof be repaired instead of replaced?
In most instances of damage, the roof will need to be replaced entirely, but there are cases where it makes more sense to patch up or repair the roof instead.
You’ll want to get your roof appraised by experts and shop around for quotes. Ask if the roof can be repaired, or if a partial re-roofing might be an option (i.e., replacing only one side). Sometimes this can save you money without sacrificing the longevity of the roof.
How much do solar shingles cost?
Solar shingles are quite expensive, costing as much as $2,500 per roofing square (or $25 per square foot). Keep in mind that this material only lasts around 20-30 years, making it hard for many homeowners to justify the expense.