Average Roof Lifespan – How Long Does a Roof Last?

When estimating the average roof lifespan, don’t go by the warranty!

Roofing material warranty lengths have little to do with how long the roof will last. That’s reality.

An asphalt shingle with a 25-year warranty will look terrible in 20 years. Some shingles come with a “lifetime” warranty, “lol”.

A better way to ask the question is, “how long will that roof look good?” And yes, “how long will it keep out rain?” is obviously worth considering. The answers will be about the same number of years.

This no-nonsense guide gives you the real-life answers to the question – How long do shingles vs metal vs slate vs wood shakes, etc., last? Keep reading for the answers.

Most Common Roof Types and their Lifespans

Here’s the overview followed by a deep dive on the longevity of all roofing materials and options within them, such as 3-tab vs architectural vs premium asphalt shingles.

  • Asphalt Shingles – 12 to 30 years
  • Steel – 30 to 60 years
  • Aluminum – 40 to 70 years
  • Zinc – 70 to 100+ years
  • Copper – 100+ years
  • Cedar Shakes and Shingles – 25 to 40 years
  • Slate – 50 to “Forever”
  • Clay Tiles – 50 to 100 years
  • Concrete Tiles – 40 to 80 years
  • Synthetic Composite and Rubber Shingles – 20 to 50 years
  • Green or Vegetative Roofs – Up to 40 years
  • Flat Roofs – 10 to 40 years

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Top 12 Signs You Need a New Roof Soon – When to Replace a Roof

Some of these tell-tale signs indicate your roof needs replacement right now. Others are clues it won’t be long before you need a new roof.

  1. Roof Leaks – Water staining or damage in your attic or on ceilings
  2. Visible Deterioration – Cupping shingles, splitting shakes, cracked tiles, rusting metal
  3. Missing Roofing – From wind damage, poor installation, walking on it
  4. Algae Streaks – Washing will sometimes help
  5. Sagging Roof Line / Spongy Roof – You’ll need a tear-off and the roof decking replaced
  6. Daylight in the Attic – You need roof replacement “yesterday”
  7. Storm Damage – Call your insurance agent to see what’s covered
  8. Moss – Clear the moss, but moss traps moisture, and it might be too late
  9. Blistering – Moisture below, a sure sign of needed roof replacement, causes blisters
  10. Missing Flashing – Check around walls, dormers and chimneys where water can penetrate
  11. Granules in Your Gutters – The shingles are losing reflectivity, and shingle damage will soon follow
  12. Your Roof is Just Old – See expected roof life estimates below, and plan ahead for a new roof

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The Cost of a Standing Seam Metal Roof, Plus Pros & Cons 2021

Standing seam is the premier choice in residential metal roofing. It is also the most expensive; around two or three times the cost of corrugated metal panels and asphalt shingles, and about 10% to 20% more than metal shingles like interlocking steel and aluminum tiles and shakes.

Standing seam offers unbeatable value (through durability, longevity, energy-efficiency, and style) that is hard for any other roofing material to match. Let’s explore this in further detail:


The current national average cost to install a standing seam metal roof on a typical single-family house can range between $10.50 and $16.50 per square foot or $1,050 and $1,650 per square. This assumes a professional and warrantied installation of G-90 galvanized steel or Galvalume 26-gauge or 24-gauge (better) steel panels finished with the factory applied Kynar 500 paint finish. Aluminum panels finished with Kynar 500 paint are also an option and may cost slightly more than steel.

Asphalt Shingles

Average Cost
Metal Roof

Average Cost
Flat Roof Membrane

Average Cost

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