The life expectancy of any roofing material depends on the type of material you are choosing. However, how long your roof will last can be lengthened or shortened due to correct or incorrect installation, harsh weather, maintenance, and your promptness to act on the first sign of damage.
We will walk through the most common materials and what their typical service life is, along with the manufacturer’s warranty on the material. These lifespans assume that all roof decking was in good standing, underlayment was laid, and the materials were installed in compliance with best practices.
Shingle Roofing Material Lifespan
Shingles are the most commonly used roofing materials for homes with a slope, especially in Southcentral Pennsylvania. Many people choose a shingle based on the aesthetic, but you should also consider how long the new shingles will last on your roof.
Many older homes have this type of shingle on their roof. The 3-tab shingle has lost its popularity because many other roofing materials on the market last longer and have a look homeowners want. People that do choose the 3-tab shingles do this often because they are the most cost-effective and look uniform. These are the shortest lasting shingles with a lifespan of only 12-25 years and the manufacturer only provides a 10 year warranty.
Architectural Laminate Asphalt Shingles
Slate shingles are beautiful and made from all-natural stone. These are typically once in a lifetime replacements because hard slate (S-1 grade) lasts 100-200 years with a 100 year manufacturer warranty.
Soft slate (S-2 grade) don’t last quite as long, but still live impressively long – 50-100 years from now with the manufacturer’s warranty at 40 years.
Wood Shingles & Wood Shakes
Wood shingles are made with a machine and are tapered using a saw. Wood shakes are made by hand and are not tapered, giving them a more textured appearance than wood shingles. You can expect the wood shingles to last 25-40 years with a 20 year warranty. Wood shakes last slightly longer with a life expectancy between 30-40 years that comes with a 25 year warranty.
Synthetic Shingles, Slates, or Tile
Synthetic roofing materials are composite or made of plastic, but have been gaining popularity as the green option. Specific synthetic materials can be made from 100% recycled materials and be recycled at the end of its life. The synthetic shingles, slates, or tiles have the potential to last longer than most regular shingles with an expected 40-60 years of life including a lifetime warranty.
Flat Roofing Material Lifespan
Flat roofs are common for tall, narrow city homes, in areas like Lancaster, PA, and Harrisburg, PA, for example, and for large commercial buildings or warehouses. You have a flat roof when the entirety of or just part of your home’s roof is sloped no more than 10 degrees. Most times, they will have a very slight slope so that water can shed properly. Flat roofing materials offer more limited options that you’ll see below.
Asphalt Roll Roofing
Rolled roofing materials are popular for homeowners looking to replace their own flat roof. It’s known for its ease of installation, but it’s lifespan is short with an expectancy of only 5-15 years and no manufacturer warranty.
TPO membranes are typically classified by their thickness. For the 60-mil TPO material, this means it’s .060 inches thick. This form of flat roofing material both mechanically-attached and fully-adhered can last 20-30 years and a manufacturer’s warranty for up to 20 years. TPO is a popular choice for a flat roof because its white color gives it UV resistance making it energy efficient in areas with high sun exposure.
This is your typical black, rubber roofing material. EPDM most often is installed with a ballasted or fully-adhered roofing system. Fully-adhered means the insulation is adhered to the roof decking, wherein ballasted the insulation is loosely laid on the decking but weighed down on top by river washed ballast.
For 45-mil fully-adhered, it can last 20-30 years and a 15 year warranty with the manufacturer. The thicker, 60-mil fully adhered EPDM lasts 30-40 years and the manufacturer can offer a 20 year warranty. To get the longest lasting EPDM, ask about the 90-mil fully-adhered for 30-40 years of life and a 30 year manufacturer warranty.
If the ballasted EPDM is a better fit for your project, the 60-mil can last 20-30 years that comes with a 15 year warranty from the manufacturer.
Metal Roofing Material Lifespan
Metal roofing’s popularity has continued to rise as homeowners learn the benefits of a longer-lasting, low-maintenance roof. This can be a pricier option, but is attractive both to the eye and to potential home buyers.
Standing Seam Metal
Standing seam comes in three main metal options: aluminum, copper, and steel. A copper metal roof is a popular choice for green roofing because it is 100% recyclable, but is the most expensive metal option. It can last around 150 years with a warranty of 50+ years. Copper is a soft material which makes it quieter, but it also has a tendency to expand and contract with fluctuating temperatures.
An aluminum metal roof has great corrosion protection, but the price of aluminum varies greatly. As a roof, aluminum standing seam metal lasts 50-80 years with a 40 year warranty from the manufacturer.
Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world which makes this a very green option, and it is the least expensive metal standing seam metal option. This option is typically coated with multiple layers of protective material before the final paint is applied, helping to lengthen the lifespan of this metal roof. Steel standing seam metal roofs last 50-80 years with a 40 year manufacturer warranty. Standing seam roofing is installed in a manner which conceals all the fasteners, making for a very clean, sleek appearance, a roof system that is very safe and low-risk in terms of durability and leaks during its lifetime.
Corrugated steel metal roofs look like they have many little waves in the material. This corrugation creates an incredibly strong panel that can handle hail well. These panels can last 40-60 years with a 40 year warranty from the manufacturer. While corrugated metal roofs are cheaper than standing seam roofs, the fasteners on a corrugated roof are exposed, limiting the lifetime and increasing the risk of problems in the future if a fastener breaks or loosens, or if the neoprene washer on the fastener becomes cracked or brittle, allowing water to penetrate the metal panel.
Metal Roof Tiles
If you want the look of a shingled roof, but want the longevity and green value of metal, you’re in luck – metal roof tiles. They offer the look and feel of metal, but are lightweight and efficient. The tiles are made of steel and can last 40-60 years, but their warranty is 30 years.
Get Your New Roof Now!
If you know the age of your current roof, use the lifespan information above to determine when it might be time for you to get a roof replacement for your home. Leaks, missing shingles, hail damage, or holes are signs that your roof needs repaired ASAP and will likely need replaced sooner rather than later.
Make sure to call a professional roofing contractor, maybe even a couple, to get their advice on the condition of your roof. To ease your decision process, we’ve identified tips to make sure you’re selecting the best roofing company for you and your project.
Our Joyland Roofing team is excited to speak with you!
Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor License (HIC) # PA124258