We are asked this question all the time and it’s not always easy to answer.
For residential roofs, about 70% of which are topped with asphalt shingles, a good place to get an idea of how long your roof will last is from the manufacturer’s guarantee on the shingles you choose. Depending on the quality of the shingles, they are usually guaranteed for between 15 and 30 years.
But the warranty period can be misleading.
First, it does not mean that you’ll be absolutely free of roofing problems for the duration of the warranty.
Second, it also does not mean that, if you get to the end of the warranty period that you will soon need to re-shingle.
Why Your Roof Might Not Last as Long as the Shingle Warranty Period
Your roof’s shingles are just one part of your home’s overall roofing system. Other parts include, among others, the roofing deck, or plywood sheathing onto which your shingles are fastened, attic ventilation, flashing around chimneys and eavestroughs.
Problems with one or more of the other roofing system components can cause leaks and require repairs at any time, regardless of when you installed your shingles or their warranty coverage.
Whenever you re-shingle, make sure your roofing company does a complete analysis and maintenance of your entire roofing system to minimize the chances of problems, due to any part of your roofing system, before your shingle warranty expires.
How to Get Your Roof to Last Longer Than the Warranty Period
If the entire roof system is in good shape when you install new shingles, you can reasonably expect that the roof will last for the warranty period of the shingles.
But a well-maintained roof can go trouble-free well beyond the warranty period. Minimizing foot traffic, clearing debris and having your roof regularly inspected will all contribute to an extended lifespan for your roof.
The location of your home, the proximity off trees and even which way the house faces can all affect how long your roof will last. But, like anything else about your home, the more effort you put into maintaining your roof, the more life you will get from it.