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How Often Should You Replace a Roof? Our Expert Guide!

A common question homeowners in Minnesota ask is, “How often should you replace a roof?” This usually depends on various factors, including the type of roof you have, what weather it endures, and how well you maintain it. 

We all know that no roof will last forever, but knowing how often a roof needs to be replaced will help you plan for the future and take care of your roof so it can reach its expected lifespan. This comprehensive guide will explain how long your roof should last based on the roofing material used. We’ll also review the factors affecting a roof’s lifespan and what they mean for you. 

Average Lifespan of a Roof

The average lifespan of a residential roof is 15 to 30 years, but this can vary greatly depending on what it is made of. Your roof could last longer or fail before its expected lifespan. And not surprisingly, cheaper roofing materials don’t last as long as more expensive types. 

Here’s how long different roofing materials will likely last before a replacement is needed.

  • Asphalt Shingles: 15 to 45 Years: Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material sold today. They are found in 80% of homes in North America, thanks to their affordability, durability, and low maintenance. Asphalt shingles have been around for over a century, and many improvements have been made to the product over that time. 

There are three types of asphalt roofing shingles. 

  • 3-tab or strip shingles: The cheapest type and last 15 to 20 years. 
  • Architectural/dimensional shingles: The most common type of asphalt shingles. Last for 25 to 30 years.
  • Luxury shingles: These are thicker and can last up to 45 years. That number can stretch even further in perfect conditions.

Metal Roofing: 40 to 75 Years

Metal roofs are incredibly durable and energy efficient. They can withstand wind gusts of up to 140 mph and are resistant to fire, insects, and the elements. Metal roofs are made up of aluminum, copper, steel, or zinc.

The quality and longevity of a metal roof are determined by the gauge or thickness of the panels or the tiles. That said, the thicker the gauge, the more durable the roof will be. Also, the type of metal roof you have will determine how long your roof will last.

Generally, aluminum roofs will last about 40 years, steel roofs will last 60 years, and copper roofs will last 70 years or more. Zinc roofs can last upwards of 100 years.

Cedar Shakes and Shingles: 30 to 50 Years

Typically, a wood shingles and shakes roof can last approximately 25 to 30 years with warranties of between 20 to 30 years. 

Cedar is preferred for wood shakes and shingles because it is moderately durable in rot and insect resistance. Cedar is usually pressure-treated with preservatives to improve performance and longevity. A heavy, well-maintained cedar shake or shingle roof that has been treated can last up to 50 years. 

The lifespan of a cedar shingle or shake roof also depends on the thickness of the material. Thicker shingles or shakes tend to last longer. 

Rubber Roofing: 40 to 50 Years

EPDM is a rubber membrane roofing that’s been around the longest. Used for low-slope roofs, this material is relatively low-cost, eco-friendly, and easy to install. EPDM is naturally pliable and remarkably durable against UV radiation, wind, ozone, and hail.

A properly installed and well-maintained EPDM roof can last between 40 and 50 years.

Factors That Affect Your Roof’s Lifespan 

In addition to the type of roofing material you have, here are other key factors that determine how often you should replace your roof:

Quality of Installation: Improper installation can be caused by poor workmanship, improper nailing, inadequate ventilation, and poor weather conditions during the installation process. This is why hiring an experienced and reliable local roofing contractor from the onset is important.

Sun Exposure: UV radiation accelerates wear and tear, especially if the roofing material is darker. Dark colors absorb more heat. This can cause excessive expansion and contraction, causing the material to tear, crack, or curl.

Ventilation: Your attic’s ventilation system allows your home and roof to breathe appropriately. Poor ventilation causes heat buildup in your attic and burns your roof. This causes the roofing material to crack, curl, or weaken. Plus, it causes condensation and exposes the wooden roofing structures to moisture damage.

Maintenance: Even the most durable roofing systems need regular maintenance. To extend the life span of your roof, you must ensure that it is inspected, cleaned, maintained, and repaired regularly as soon as damage is discovered. 

Weather Elements: While roofing systems are designed to withstand the elements, the type and amount of extreme weather your roof is exposed to determines how fast your roof deteriorates. Heavy rain, strong winds, hailstones, and heavy snow will eventually take a toll on even the most durable roof. That said, your area’s climate will influence your roof’s lifespan.

At Midwest Roofing, we are committed to educating homeowners in the Twin Cities about maintaining and prolonging the lifespan of their roofs. If you need a roof inspection or suspect your roof needs replacing, contact us today. We can provide guidance and get your roofing job done right the first time.

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