How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?

How Long You Can Expect Your Shingle Roof to Last

How long your shingle roof will last may not be something you think about very often, but it’s a serious issue that all property owners should take time for. Because no matter how high-quality or well-maintained, everything tends to wear out and weaken over time. And roofs, exposed as they are to the constant rigors of changing seasons and weather conditions, are no exception.

When it comes to the question of how long you can expect your shingle roof to last, there is no exact answer. There are a number of factors to consider, such as the type and quality of materials used, the quality of the installation itself, and more. When you buy an existing home from a previous owner, you inherit years of roof life and any issues that they may not have dealt with or even been aware of.

From residential to commercial roofing, shingles are one of the most popular choices for a number of reasons. They’re easy to install, come in a variety of colors and styles, and are relatively affordable. With this article, we aim to give you a rough guide on how long you can expect your shingle roof to last. From residential to commercial roofing

The Different Types of Shingle Roofing Materials

The primary factor that affects how long your roof will last is the material that your roof shingles are made from.

The average lifespan of common types of roofing materials are:

  • Asphalt shingles – 15-30 years (note that poorly made asphalt shingles can fail in as few as 6 years)
  • Composite shingles – 20-50 years
  • Modified rubber shingles – 30 years
  • Wood/cedar shingles – 30-40 years
  • Clay tiles roofs – 50 years
  • Concrete tiles – 50 years
  • Metal roofing – 50 years
  • Copper roofs – 60+ years
  • Slate tiles/shingles – as much as 100 years

The Lifespan of Asphalt Shingle Roofs, Wood Shingles, and Slate Tile

A lot of people are looking to find out the answer to the question “how long does a shingle roof last on a house?”. Here we discuss the most common roofing shingle in America, a popular mid-range choice for those with a larger budget, and the most premium roofing shingle available today.

Asphalt Roof Shingles

Asphalt roof shingles have been in use since the 1920s and are the most common type of roofing material across America. This is in large part due to how affordable and how readily available they are. They tend to last longer in colder climates and cost around $3.50 to $5.00 per square foot.

  • 3-tab asphalt shingle: These are the most affordable type of roof shingle, and with proper maintenance, the ideal conditions will last around 10 to 15 years.
  • Dimensional asphalt shingle: These shingles have a multidimensional appearance and texture and are extremely durable, with a lifespan of 20 to 25 years.
  • Luxury asphalt shingles: These are top-of-the-line shingles that are designed to look like cedar shake shingles or slate tiles, and they have a lifespan of around 30 years.

Wood/Cedar Shingles

More precisely milled and with a more refined appearance than wood shakes, wood or cedar shingles provide a stunning rustic appearance that is popular with Craftsman-style homes. They’re used often in the northeast regions of America, although the longevity of a cedar roof can be affected by the salty air of coastal areas. They can last as long as 40 years or more and cost around $4.00-$9.50 per square foot.

Slate Tile Roofing

The most premium roofing material available today, experts say that a roof made with slate shingles can last over a century when properly installed. A type of rock, slate shingles can be very heavy and can only be installed on homes built with the necessary structural strength to support their weight. Slate shingles can easily cost over $1,600 per square foot, but the real challenge can be finding a roofing contractor with experience in installing slate roofs.

Leafs filling up gutter

The Main Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Your Roof

We’ve said repeatedly that the average life expectancy of different types of roofs can be affected by a wide variety of things and there is no real guarantee of their lifespan. But the main factors that have an impact on roofing life include the following:

Weather Conditions

The weather patterns in your area play a huge role in how long your shingle roof will last. For example, a hurricane can damage a roof that’s less than a year old. Sweltering sunlight, strong winds, and heavy rains are just a few of the weather-related issues that cause wear and tear on your roofing shingles.

Shingle Color and Quality

It makes sense that high-quality shingles will last longer than lower-quality ones, but the actual color of your roof shingles can also have an impact on their lifespan. Dark shingled roofs absorb more sunlight, so they tend to get more easily damaged. Light green, orange or brown shingles will last longer because they are more reflective than dark grey or black ones,

Roof Installation

A roof that has been installed badly can result in shingles that blow off in strong winds, roof leaks that cause untold damage to the rest of your property, and other problems. It is always recommended to work with a roofing contractor with proven experience installing shingle roofs in your area in order to avoid these types of problems.


Ventilation in your roof allows hot air to escape naturally from under your roofline. Just as direct sunlight from above has an effect on the lifespan of roofing shingles, the residual heat of hot air trapped below them can cause damage as well. It also increases the risk of mold in your attic.

Quick Tips to Extend the Life of Your Shingle Roof

Replacing an entire roof is a huge investment of time and money, so it pays to know how you can make it last as long as possible.

  • Maintain the area around your roof, including cleaning out gutters and clearing away fallen branches.
  • Never use a power washer to clean your roof, and avoid foot traffic across your roof.
  • Ensure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated.
  • Get a professional roofing inspection done every year so you can deal with the small fixes before they become major problems.
  • Painting your roof is a lot of work and can contribute to other issues, but it can potentially extend the life of your shingle roof.
roof repairs old roof replacement with new shingle

When You Need to Think About A Roof Replacement

Replacing a roof can be expensive, but it is definitely not something you want to leave until it is too late. Keep an eye out for the following signs that it may be time to start planning for a replacement roof:

  • Shingles with edges that have curled or cupped – This can be caused by age, extreme weather, poor ventilation, insufficient binders and bad manufacturing or installation.
  • Dark stains on the underside or top of your roof – This indicates a roof leak, which means moisture damage for both your roof and inside your home.
  • Cracked or sagging sections – Cracks are easy to see, but you may need to use a broom against the underside to check for sagging. If it moves or is wet, immediate replacement is needed.
  • Signs of rot or mold – This is a sign that your roof shingles are retaining moisture and can quickly get out of hand if not dealt with immediately.
  • Shingles with bald spots or asphalt granules in your gutters – Without the asphalt granules to deflect heat and water away from your roof, your shingles are prone to damage.

JET Contracting Is the Only Roofing Contractor You’ll Ever Need

Serving all of the Northeast Georgia area, JET Contracting has over 20 years of combined roofing experience. We believe in using top-quality products and in delivering nothing but the best. No job is too big or small for us, so give us a call if you’re concerned about your roofing shingles. We’ll be happy to come take a look and provide a free estimate.

Recent Blog