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How Long Does a Roof Last?

The following table provides typical expected useful service life durations for various roofing materials and roof systems. The values for the expected lifespans are based on recent developments in roofing materials technology. The table covers current roofing products, so in some cases the expected service life we give will be significantly longer than what can be expected from older products in existing roofs which were installed years ago.

There are many factors that go into predicting the length of the useful service life of a roof. The quality and reliability of the manufacturer is very important. The local environment that the roof will have to endure is also a big piece of it. Roofing materials in coastal regions, with high levels of corrosive environmental salt, tend to deteriorate faster, for instance. Many roof types don’t perform well in deserts, with the continual barrage of UV rays. (Asphalt and EPDM should both be expected to last on the low end of the predicted range in a place like El Paso, Texas. Asphalt in general and EPDM flashing material are both highly vulnerable to sunlight.)

The use of proper fasteners and other accessories is crucial to long-term roof performance. An all-too-common reason for the premature failure of tile roofs, for instance, is the use of low-quality fasteners and battens, which fail long before the tiles themselves would have.

All other things being equal, though, it’s the thickness of the material that most affects the expected lifespan of a roof. As a rule of thumb, the thicker the shingle, the panel, the membrane, or the tile, the longer the roof will last.

A cedar shingle roof like this one can last up to 40 years if it’s taken care of properly. Those tree branches are going to be a problem, as the shade keeps the shingles from drying out properly, which can result in rot and undesirable growths.

A cedar shingle roof like this one can last up to 40 years if it’s taken care of properly. Those tree branches are going to be a problem, as the shade keeps the shingles from drying out properly, which can result in rot and undesirable growths.

The warranty periods given in the table are for typical manufacturer’s material warranties. A material warranty only covers the performance of the roofing material itself (basically, it just covers factory defects, which are very rare these days). The initial workmanship of the installation and the performance of other parts of the roof assembly, including the roof deck and any other components not produced by that manufacturer, will not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Those things will be covered by the roofing contractor’s workmanship guarantee if they are covered at all. Contractor’s workmanship guarantees last for a much shorter period of time, usually 1 - 5 years.

Many manufacturers have recently changed their warranties to “limited lifetime” warranties, especially for high-end asphalt shingles. If you read the fine print, however, you’ll see that the coverage becomes “prorated” after 20 - 25 years. This means that the manufacturer starts to guarantee less than the full replacement value of the roofing material after that point.

Life Expectancy of Roofing Materials and Roof Systems
Roofing Material or System Typical Useful
Service Life
Common Length of
Manufacturer's Warranty
Asphalt Shingles: 3-Tab 12 - 25 Years 10 Years
Asphalt Shingles:
3-Tab, Premium
20 - 35 Years 20 Years
Asphalt Shingles: Architectural (Laminated) 25 - 40 Years 25 Years
Asphalt Shingles:
Architectural (Laminated), Premium
35 - 50 Years 40 Years
Built-Up Roof: Asphalt, 3-Ply 15 - 20 Years 10 Years
Built-Up Roof: Asphalt, 4-Ply 20 - 25 Years 15 Years
Built-Up Roof: Coal Tar Pitch, 4-Ply 25 - 30 Years 20 Years
Built-Up Roof: Coal Tar Pitch, 5-Ply 30 - 40 Years 25 Years
Clay Tile 50 - 150 Years 75 Years
Concrete Tile 40 - 100 Years 50 Years
EPDM Membrane: 45-mil Ballasted 15 - 25 Years 10 Years
EPDM Membrane: 45-mil Fully-Adhered 20 - 30 Years 15 Years
EPDM Membrane: 45-mil Mechanically-Attached 15 - 25 Years 10 Years
EPDM Membrane: 60-mil Ballasted 20 - 30 Years 15 Years
EPDM Membrane: 60-mil Fully-Adhered 25 - 35 Years 20 Years
EPDM Membrane: 60-mil Mechanically-Attached 20 - 30 Years 15 Years
EPDM Membrane: 75-mil Mechanically-Attached 25 - 35 Years 20 Years
EPDM Membrane: 90-mil Ballasted 25 - 35 Years 20 Years
EPDM Membrane: 90-mil Fully-Adhered 30 - 40 Years 30 Years
Fiber Cement Shingles 30 - 45 Years 25 Years
Metal: Corrugated Steel Panels 30 - 60 Years 30 Years
Metal: Metal Roof Tile Panels, Aluminum 50 - 80 Years 50 Years
Metal: Metal Roof Tile Panels, Steel 40 - 60 Years 30 Years
Metal: Standing Seam, Aluminum 50 - 80 Years 40 Years
Metal: Standing Seam, Copper 90 - 150 Years 50 Years
Metal: Standing Seam, Steel 40 - 60 Years 30 Years
Metal: Stone-Coated Steel Panels 50 - 75 Years 50 Years
Metal: Structural Metal Panels, Aluminum 50 - 70 Years 30 Years
Metal: Structural Metal Panels, Steel 40 - 60 Years 25 Years
Modified Bitumen: APP Modified, 2-Ply 15 - 25 Years 15 Years
Modified Bitumen: APP Modified, 3-Ply 20 - 30 Years 20 Years
Modified Bitumen: SBS Modified, 2-Ply 15 - 25 Years 15 Years
Modified Bitumen: SBS Modified, 3-Ply 20 - 30 Years 20 Years
PVC Membrane: 60-mil Fully-Adhered 25 - 35 Years 20 Years
PVC Membrane: 80-mil Fully-Adhered 30 - 40 Years 25 Years
PVC Membrane: 60-mil Mechanically-Attached 20 - 30 Years 15 Years
PVC Membrane: 80-mil Mechanically-Attached 25 - 35 Years 20 Years
Roll Roofing, Asphalt 5 - 15 Years NA
Slate Roofing: Hard Slate (S-1 Grade) 100 - 200 Years 100 Years
Slate Roofing: Soft Slate (S-2 Grade) 50 - 100 Years 40 Years
Spray Polyurethane Foam 20 - 30 Years 20 Years
Synthetic (Composite, Plastic)
Shingles, Slates, or Tiles
40 - 60 Years 40 Years
Thatch 30 - 45 Years NA
TPO Membrane: 60-mil Fully-Adhered 20 - 30 Years 20 Years
TPO Membrane: 80-mil Fully-Adhered 25 - 35 Years 25 Years
TPO Membrane: 60-mil Mechanically-Attached 15 - 25 Years 15 Years
TPO Membrane: 80-mil Mechanically-Attached 20 - 30 Years 20 Years
Wood Shakes, Western Red Cedar 30 - 50 Years 25 Years
Wood Shingles, Western Red Cedar 25 - 40 Years 20 Years