How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?

It's widely considered that having a roof over your head is an integral part of living a contented life. Homeowners depend on the roof to keep out the elements just as much as walls, doors, and windows, if not more so. As a result, many people ignore their roofs until they have a leak.

How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?
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Homeowners passively witness as the weather erodes their roofs. Snow, rain, hail, wind, humidity, and sunshine, as well as normal aging, pests, and other factors, all negatively, affect a home's roof. A home's roofing material composition and size are crucial to determining replacement cost and time commitment, and most people are left wondering if the time has come. 

Don't discover too late that the time has already passed.

How Many Years Does a Roof Last?

The lifespan of a roof depends on a variety of factors. The '25-30 year' rule of replacement is well known by most homeowners, but it typically applies to commonly used 3-tab asphalt shingles and disregards environmental and material issues.

The lifespan of a normal residential roof is generally 30 years, but because snow, wind, extreme sun, blowing debris, pests, or extreme weather conditions can all damage it, it may need to be replaced sooner. However, the lifespan may be extended by decades if the material is of poor quality.

Here are some basic considerations when determining the general lifespan of your roof:

Roof and building design

Roofing material type/quality

Annual maintenance performed



Quality of repairs and general upkeep

Rodents and pests

Debris accumulation

How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?

The most significant determinants of when to replace your roof, aside from regular weather conditions based on where you live, are the quality and composition of your materials, general care, and maintenance, and whether you have any rodent or pest infestations.

It is always advisable to have your roof inspected by a professional at least once or twice per year, whether you can do so yourself (using a tall ladder, repairing materials such as a hammer, nails, and tar, and ensuring your safety). A quick inspection may save you from significant losses down the road.

It is hoped that the roof decking will last throughout the lifetime of the home, but this is not always the case, and leaky roofs may damage it to the point of immediate repair or replacement. The nature of the roofing materials used is critical, and in some cases, replacing the decking along with the roofing material is necessary.

In addition to checking for damage after severe weather events like storms and high winds, regular inspections can help you avoid the need for a full replacement. If you notice damage, you will be able to alert you to any repairs that need to be made or whether spot damage can be repaired without replacing the entire roof. If severe damage is evident, you will know that a roof replacement is imminent, which will help you avoid future issues.

Roof Type

The composition of your roof from an age perspective is very important in determining when to replace it. Obviously, if your roof has leaks, you should call a professional, like the Louisville KY roofing contractors at Deer Park Roofing. Additionally, if your roof does not pass the 'eyeball test' (you can see missing or curled shingles, rotten wood, or other defects), you should also seek professional help.

Below is a general lifespan for different types of roof composition under normal conditions:

Asphalt Shingle (3-tab): 20-30 years

Architectural Asphalt: 25-30 years

Composition Shingle: 15-20 years

Wood Shingle: 20-25 years

Rubber: 35-50 years

Sheet Metal: 50-75 years

Aluminum Coating: 5-7 years

Clay or Concrete: 100 years

Copper: 60-70 years

Fiber Cement: 20-25 years

Slate: 70-100 years

Coal and Tar: 25-30 years

Maintenance and Care

A roof's life span is largely determined by how well it is cared for. Fixing problems as they arise, whether they are caused by age, weather conditions, or other factors, may save you years prior to needing a full roof replacement. Be sure to follow the advice provided above—check your roof twice a year, or more often in response to weather events—and make any necessary repairs. When in doubt, seek the assistance of a professional.

Local Weather

Weather is the most significant element in determining the health and longevity of your roof. Don't let weather conditions destroy your roof; keep a close eye on local weather patterns. Inspect your roof frequently and repair any weather-related damage. If two or three shingles fly off during a storm, or a heavy downpour leak through the ceiling or an interior wall, don't just blame “unusual weather” and ignore it. If you ignore this, you may cause a complete roof failure and subsequent disaster.

Pests & Debris

Rats can climb trees to invade nooks and crannies in roofs that have failed. It may sound creepy, but this is another reason to inspect your roof regularly. Pests and rodents can cause serious damage to your life if you do not keep them away. Make sure you remove debris as soon as it occurs and any weighty items like tree limbs.

Warning Signs You Need a New Roof

The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends a regular inspection twice a year, but as a general “eyeball test”, you can determine when to perform a physical inspection (provided you have a quality, sturdy ladder and a friend or family member to assist you), or alternatively, when to call a professional. Warning signs might include:

Roof sagging

Water damage

Energy costs noticeably rising

Holes or sunlight coming through beams

Dark spots, mold, rot, moss, or algae

Missing or loose shingles

Damaged, curling, or cupped shingles

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