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How long does a roof last? 4 roof replacement factors to consider

How do you know when you need a roof replacement? After all, the time to replace your roof isn’t always as obvious as it is in the photo below.

how long does a roof last?

Plus, a 20-year warranty doesn’t necessarily mean that your roof will fall apart in Year 21, or that your lifetime roofing warranty guarantees a perfect roof until the day that, well…your own warranty runs out.

Read: We’re number one — Long Roofing earns coveted warranty award

A simple, 3-tab shingle roof may be warranted for 20 to 25 years. An architectural shingle roof that can take a little more punishment may be warranted to last 50 years. Specialty roofs, like slate or tile, may not need a roof replacement for decades.

So, how long does a roof last? The type of roof matters. The quality of the roofing products matter. The installation process matters.

First, let’s take a look at how your roof is structured.

Understanding the whole roof system

Here's what goes into your roof replacement.

4 factors that influence a roof’s lifespan

1. Shingles

Presidio Slate Midnight Shingles

The shingles on your roof make a big difference. Super-luxury options like slate, tile and cedar may outlive several homeowners. Four out of five homes are topped with asphalt shingles because they are affordable, look good and get the job done.

Read: The three main types of asphalt shingles (and how to spot them)

“Shingles are one part of a whole roof system,” Jeff Frantz, CertainTeed Products Territory Manager for the Washington, D.C. metro area, says. “If any part of that system fails, your roof may fail. The shingles work with the underlayment, flashing and ventilation to maximize the life of your roof. Most whole roof systems using our laminate shingles are warranted for 30 years to lifetime because, with proper installation, they will last at least that long.”

2. Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is water-resistant or waterproof material installed over your roof deck. Underlayment goes beneath all of the other roofing materials to offer an added layer of protection against rain, snow and ice.

An investment in underlayment may add years to your roof. Homes in the northeastern United States, for example, benefit greatly from premium waterproof underlayment designed to withstand the tough winter weather.

Read: What is roofing underlayment, and why do you need it?

3. Ventilation


Ventilation is another roof component that is unique to each home. A well-vented attic can add years from one roof replacement to the next. A vented roof stays cooler, preventing snow melt and ice damming in the winter. Ventilation also keeps your attic from getting too warm and moist, which can rot out your roofing material from the inside. Affordable products like ridge vents and eave vents are almost totally invisible and they are critical to proper ventilation.

Read: 3 reasons why roofing ventilation is important to your home

Additional ventilation options such as power vents may be needed based on the slope, size and architectural features of your roof. Talk with your roofing specialist to understand what ventilation options will be most beneficial.

4. Installation

How was your roof installed? There may be more than one acceptable way to install a roofing product. Other times, though, there are specific installation requirements for products or regions to achieve maximum durability.

Nailed it: There are different size, count and placement requirements for fasteners (typically nails) used with different shingles.

Air flow woes: As mentioned above, attic ventilation is very important for the life of your roof. Poor ventilation can prematurely deteriorate asphalt shingles from the inside out. Manufacturers often set ventilation standards to maintain a product warranty.

Swabbing the deck: A clean roof deck is another standard installation requirement under most product warranty terms. What’s a clean deck? It means old shingles and underlayment are completely removed before new roofing materials are applied. Stacking new material on old is a recipe for long-term problems.

Landmark Pro Moire Black Roof

Working with the roof replacement experts

Who’s your roofing specialist? Choose an installer who knows their product, your region and installation best practices.

“Correct installation is a key factor in determining the longevity of your roof,” Mr. Frantz adds. “That’s why CertainTeed offers credentialing programs like Master Shingle Applicator, Shingle Master1 and SELECT ShingleMaster. These programs give roofing specialists and roofing companies manufacturer-based training so that you can be certain the products are being installed exactly as they should be.”

Long Roofing is one of only a handful of CertainTeed SELECT ShingleMaster-accredited roofing companies in the nation.

“We understand how stressful it can be for a homeowner to purchase a new roof,” says Jeff Caron, Director of Sales for Long Roofing. “It is a big investment, but more importantly, it protects one of our customer’s greatest investments — their home. Knowing this, it was important for us to be sure that all of our staff, from installers to salespeople, understand the products that we are using and the ways that they are to be installed.”

Looking for a home improvement contractor?

The Long family has served the home improvement needs of families for over 70 years.

Read: Our story — Long Roofing and the growth of a family business

Looking for a roof replacement? Please contact us at (800) 417-5664 or visit us online. We invite you to check out reviews of our work at

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