Replacing a roof is an expensive proposition, and you do not want to do it unless the time has come and your roof no longer offers you and your loved ones the protection it should. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to cover every single time a roof shows signs of needing to be replaced. However, you may make a note of some of these factors to come to your conclusion:

  • Look at the kind of roof you have and the material that is on it.
  • Look back to try and remember how well the roof has been maintained through the years.
  • Think about any recent extreme weather events that your roof might have withstood and, in general, what type of weather your roof must handle day in and day out.
  • Look for any damage that has been there a while and has not yet been fixed.

A combination of all or several of the above factors may result in your roof needing to be replaced.

What is the average lifespan of a residential roof?

Depending on the type of roof your house has and the material on it, your roof will have a different lifespan. Here are some average estimates depending on the roofing material used:

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles have become a popular option and cover many homes across the country. Under normal circumstances, you can expect an asphalt roof to last between 15 and 20 years before a replacement becomes necessary. If your shingles are architectural asphalt and not three-tab ones, you may get an additional ten years out of them.

Clay or Cement Tiles

These tiles are heavy and resilient and must be installed over extra-strong reinforcement on your roof. That is why you can expect them to last up to 100 years.


Lasting over 100 years, slate is not only durable but brings beauty to any home where it is installed.

Wood Shingles or Shakes

Lasting between 25 and 30 years, wood shingles require maintenance; the roof must be kept free of fallen leaves and moss growth. Moisture trapped on a wooden roof means decay, while wood roofs that are too dry may be prone to catch fire. Wood shakes are a little thicker than shingles and last some 5 or 10 years longer, depending on how well they are maintained.


If you are looking for a highly resilient roofing choice, go for a metal one. While aluminum or steel can last about 50 years, you can expect it to last over 100 years if you select a copper roof.

Are there any other factors that play a role in how long a roof lasts?

Maintenance and weather play a crucial role in the lifespan of a roof. This means that some things are under your control (maintenance) while others are not (weather). What you can do to counteract the effect of weather on your roof is have a laser focus on maintenance. If you have trees growing too close to your roof and their branches keep scraping off your roof whenever there is a little wind, trim them. If leaves are accumulating on your roof, clean them off. Letting moisture remain on your roof will accelerate its decay.

Finding even a tiny crack on your roof, maybe after a storm, is an urgent sign that your roof needs to be repaired before the crack gets bigger and you start having moisture problems inside the home. In addition, you may want to consider scheduling a yearly roof inspection by a roofing professional to make sure all incipient issues are caught on time and the lifespan of your roof can be protected or even lengthened.

An additional piece of information that you must have when considering when to replace your roof is how old your roof is. If you built the home, you know exactly how old the roof is. If you bought the house and the roof was already there, the age of the home may serve as an indication. If you are not sure, you may want to call a Fort Lauderdale roofing expert to give you the most accurate estimate of its age.

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