How Long Does a Roof Last? • Roof Lifespan for 49 Roof Types

With Typical Warranty Period for Each Roof Type

Roof Online Staff, Updated June 11, 2022

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How Long Does a Roof Last? A cedar shingle roof like this one can last over 40 years if properly maintained.
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. This can hasten the deterioration of the shingles.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

How long a roof will last depends on the roof, of course. How long a roof lasts depends on how well the roof was installed, the type of roofing material used, the thickness and quality of the roofing materials, maintenance, and the local climate.

An asphalt shingle roof typically lasts around 30 years these days. Copper, clay tile, and slate roofs can last up to 150 years. The latest generation of flat roof membranes last around 30 years.

How long does a roof last? Read on to learn more about roof life expectancy, or scroll down to see the chart.

Factors That Determine Roof Lifespan

There are many factors that go into predicting the length of the useful service life of a roof.

The type of roofing material selected for the roof will set a general limit on the roof’s life expectancy. Some materials simply last longer than others, and all materials have their own design life expectancy. The quality of the materials and the reliability of the manufacturer is also very important when it comes to actually reaching that design life expectancy.

Workmanship, or the quality of the installation, plays a huge part in the life expectancy of a roof system. Roofs that are installed improperly have been known to fail immediately after installation. Seam failure, massive leaking, catastrophic wind blow-off, etc. Even if the workmanship is slightly subpar, the lifespan of the roof will very likely be shorter than it should be as needless problems develop over the life of the roof.

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 types of roof don’t perform well in deserts, with the continual barrage of UV rays. (Asphalt and EPDM rubber 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.

Another significant factor, for flat roofs in particular, is the quality of the roof’s maintenance program. If a commercial flat roof has a rigorous maintenance program that includes full inspections twice a year and addresses maintenance issues as soon as they arise, it can last up to 30% longer than the design life of the system.

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.

Length of Roofing Warranties

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 roof 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 7 – 20 years. This means that the manufacturer starts to guarantee less than the full replacement value of the roofing material at that point, and progressively less and less as time goes by.

About This Roof Lifespan Chart

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 on existing roofs which were installed years ago.

Table of Roof Life Expectancy by Roofing Material

Life Expectancy of Roofing Materials and Roof Systems
Roofing Material or System Typical Useful
Service Life
Longest 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