How Frequently Should I Replace My Roof?

If you’re a homeowner who’s wondering how often you should replace your roof, there are several factors to consider, including the type of roof you have, how well it’s maintained, the weather in your area, and whether it’s experienced any unrepaired damage. Your roof’s expected life span can also vary depending on the materials it’s made of. If you’re wondering if you should replace your roof as part of a full house remodel, cost is a major factor, so keep reading to learn what you should know about how often your roof needs to be replaced. 

What the Roof Is Made Of

The life spans of different types of roofs vary according to the materials they’re constructed from. Here’s a list of various common types of roofing materials and how they affect the average life span of a typical roof. 


You can expect a roof made of 3-tab asphalt shingles to last about 15–20 years before it needs to be replaced. However, if the roof is made of architectural asphalt shingles, which are designed to be more resistant to damage from the elements, it could last as much as 10 years longer than one made of 3-tab asphalt shingles. 


Clay and concrete roof tiles are among the sturdiest roofing materials you can find. In addition to being extremely resilient, they’re also heavier than other roofing materials, so they’re installed on top of extremely strong roofing reinforcement, which protects your home even more. This means tile roofing is one of the most durable choices you can make, and it could last as long as 50 or even 100 years. 


If you’re looking for the most durable roofing material available, slate is the best choice. This virtually indestructible material can last as long as 100 years or more.


Usually, wood shingles will last for 25–30 years, but their life span can be affected by their need for regular maintenance. For instance, you have to keep your roof cleared of moss growth and leaves, or the shingles will trap moisture and lead to decay. If you maintain wood shingles on a regular basis, they could last for approximately 50 years. It’s important to note that wood shingles are especially vulnerable to fire damage, and some locations prohibit their use because they can catch fire so easily. 

Wood shakes have a greater thickness than wood shingles, so they’re more resilient to damage from harsh weather and UV rays. Wood shake roofs typically last for 35–40 years.

As with wood shingles, maintenance is a primary factor in how long the roof lasts. 


Metal is another extremely durable choice for roofing. Some of the most commonly used metal roofing materials, such as aluminum and steel, should last for about 50 years before they need to be replaced. Other types of metal roofing, such as copper and zinc, can last as long as 100 years or even more.

Other Factors that Can Affect the Life Span of a Roof

In addition to the materials used, your roof’s life span is also affected by factors such as weather conditions and the level of maintenance it receives. For instance, as mentioned earlier, wood shingles can crack or experience mold growth more easily in certain weather, and even durable metal roofs can suffer damage over time from eroding sealant.

Asphalt shingles are extremely light, so they’re more likely to come loose in areas that experience high winds. Windy conditions in a location with a lot of vegetation can also cause damage by blowing trees or branches onto the roof.

If damage to your roof isn’t repaired quickly, it could get worse very rapidly. Even a small crack can allow moisture to get in, causing the crack to get wider as the roofing material expands and contracts with changes in temperature. 

Signs of Roof Damage to Look For

Since unrepaired roof damage can get worse quickly, it’s important to keep an eye on your roof and inspect it regularly for any signs of damage. Here are some of the most common types of roof damage that can reduce the life span of your roof and result in the need for replacement if they aren’t fixed as soon as possible. 

Leaks & Holes 

If you find a hole in your roof that’s large enough to see sunlight shining through it, that’s a sign of advanced roof damage, and you’ll probably need to replace your roof soon. Smaller holes aren’t quite as time-sensitive to repair, but they do let moisture in, so don’t wait to fix them before they get much worse. If you see sunlight coming through holes in your ceiling or you notice leaks when it’s raining (particularly in your attic), have your roof checked right away.

Water Stains 

Other signs of leaks in your roof include water stains on the ceiling or on the roof decking in your attic. Make sure to check the insulation in your attic as well, because the moisture leaking in can soak into it. Also check for any puddles or moisture stains on the attic floor.

If you see yellowish or brown circular stains on your ceiling or streaks of the same color on your walls, it’s likely you have a leak. The discoloration comes from rainwater that carries dirt when it leaks through to your ceiling or walls. An even more extreme sign of a leak is a sagging ceiling. If you see any of these signs, get your roof repaired as soon as possible to avoid having to replace it entirely. 

Exterior Damage

It’s also essential to check for evidence of roof damage that’s visible from the outside. The most obvious type of damage to look for is missing, rotten, or cracked shingles. 

Check for any areas on your roof that look unusual. Roofs are intended to have a neat, uniform appearance, so if you see a spot that looks odd or out of place, it may be a sign of a previous repair that wasn’t done correctly. An inferior patch job can do more harm than good, so call an expert if you see anything that doesn’t look right.

If you aren’t able to see the whole exterior of your roof, take a look at the ground around your house as well as the gutters. If any of your shingles have been damaged, you’ll probably find pieces of them in these places. 

Now that you know how long your roof should last and the signs of damage to look for, you can plan your roof replacement accordingly. Whether their home improvement projects involve replacing a roof or a whole house remodel, San Diego homeowners can rely on the team from Forever Builders for outstanding workmanship and exceptional service at affordable rates. From planning to completion, we’ll help you create the beautiful home you’ve always dreamed of. To find out more about our exceptional roofing, renovation, and remodeling services, give one of our friendly team members a call today at (833) 243-5624.

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