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How Long Should A Roof Last?

up close view of shingle roof with blue sky background

Well howdy there fellow Texas homeowner, what’s got you wondering how long does a roof last? Considering roof replacement, and in the process of gathering information?

Doing your roofing homework is something all homeowners face at one point or another, but the causes can vary wildly.

  • Maybe you’re seeing some serious wear and tear, enough to convince you it’ll be time to tackle roof replacement soon.
  • Perhaps you suspect the roof might be reaching the end of its serviceable or warranty-covered lifetime and you’re looking to put the property on the market.
  • Or, it could be that you’re interested in dramatically improving the home for yourself and your family to enjoy and you don’t want to have to worry about it for a VERY long time.

Whatever the reason, in this article we’re sharing our perspective on “How long does a roof last?” as a long-standing Houston roofing company.

To save time, rather than trying to take you through a collegiate-level breakdown of roofing industry knowledge, let’s stick to fundamentals.

Roofing Basics: 5 of the Most Common Materials & Longevity

Yes indeed, today you can get a pretty wild variety of roofing systems installed, from the solar or rubber-based systems, to well, name it. And in terms of the lifetimes of roofs, there are so many variables!

Let’s explore, shall we.

Metal Roofing Systems: 30-70 Years

A primary feature for metal roofing is the ultra-low maintenance. Metal shingles don’t tend to break easily, or degrade the way other materials do despite being relatively lighter. What really matters, and why the 30-70 year service lifetime has such a wide gap is because the quality ranges of metal roofing today.

With cheaper metal comes less aesthetic value and performance.

Folks who make the substantial financial move into premium metal roofing systems aren’t planning on selling. More often than not, they’re investing in their forever homes and in the adaptive-nature of metal for just about any kind of roof design, later additions, etc.

Wood Shakes & Cedar Shingle Systems: 20 Years (Damp) 60 Years (Dry)

Anyone who’s seen a genuine wood roof knows how gorgeous they can be. Of that, there’s absolutely no doubt. However, like high-end metal roofing they can be quite expensive and deliver a number of limitations many families will avoid outside luxury home situations.

  • Because wood is an organic material that’s been, well, killed, without expensive treatments it’s not going to last as long as metal, slate, tile, concrete, etc.
  • In really dry climates like we have here in Houston Texas, together with enough maintenance and sealants wood roofs can last roughly 50-60 years.
  • Quality wood roofing is expensive to invest in, and expensive to install due to the higher degree of workmanship involved.
  • The more moisture in the area, the less reliable and long-lasting wood roofing is going to be for obvious reasons.

Slate Tile Roofing Systems: 50 to 100 Years – Many Variables

Slate tile and other quality tile systems are both sophisticated and beautiful, perfect for larger more upscale homes due to their extra weight and substantial costs. Like metal, you get the high fire resistance, rot resistance, and not many critters like to nibble on tiles, so that helps as well.

On the flip-side, they come with increased demands in the installation department (specialists are needed), and they’re not hard to break. After a while, the lower-quality tiles get downright brittle – luxury slate is 100% natural. Tile roofs can become quite the nuisance in certain contexts if you aren’t careful – where storms are prone, with low maintenance, too many trees or certain kinds, etc.

Ceramic (Clay) Tile Roofing Systems: 30 to 50 Years – Many Variables

All across the Southwest and California you’ll find homes with ceramic tile roofing systems because they often borrow their design from southwestern cultures. Once again, you get what you pay for. The more impressive the quality and installation expertise, the longer the likely service lifespan of the roof is.

While on the expensive side (typically twice the price of more common materials like asphalt), premium clay tiles can require very low maintenance, they’re a hygienic option, and they can be exceedingly resistant to staining or bleaching.

Asphalt Shingles Roofing Systems: 30-50 Years – Lifetime!

Here at Houston Roofing & Construction, we focus specifically on GAF asphalt shingles, the #1 roofing solution and systems in America. When properly installed, GAF systems offer the very best coverage in the industry – which can include:

  • LIFETIME Limited Warranty Term on manufacturing defects in your shingles.
  • 50 Years Warranty under their Smart Choice Protection Period
  • 15 Years Limited Wind Warranty Coverage (No Maximum Wind Speed Limit)

That’s only a cursory look at the coverage basics. Because honestly, when you ask how long does a roof last, you’ve got to consider two angles:

  1. Installer Coverage: ex. Houston Roofing & Construction
  2. Manufacturer Coverage: ex. GAF

When you work with us, here in the Houston area, the performance of your roof is covered for life from multiple angles, with coverage on each part of the system – shingles, ridge caps, accessories, etc.There really is no equivalent when you talk about roofing systems of other less common materials. GAF is the #1 in America, and they often rank highest with home builder quality ratings as well.

The more specialty you get, the more you need to rely on contractors only. Or smaller more niche manufacturers who simply don’t have the infrastructure, specialist installers across the nation like us, and products specifically engineered for different regions like Houston’s.

The Advantages of GAF Asphalt Roofing Systems

The reason a GAF roof replacement has such a long lifespan with exceptional coverage is because of their level of manufacturing. But before we go into the benefits of working with a roofing company life GAF, let’s consider this example.

Example: Specialty Metal Roofing Install with Indie Contractor

Let’s imagine you invest in a wonderful, custom metal roofing system that’s assembled and installed by a general Texas roofing contractor and their crew of subcontractors. What happens if there’s a defect in a few of the sheets used to make the metal tiles? What if there’s a storm here in the Houston area that damages the roof?

Can you count on that roofing contractor? Will you get the same kinds of dual-coverage? Hopefully so! Because if not then you’ll find yourself in a roofing pickle no homeowner wants to be in.

On the other hand, here are a few of the Core Advantages of GAF.

  • GAF is the biggest yes, but also the most well-known roofing manufacturer among homeowners (and builders) in North America. We’ve all seen their roofing systems on homes in neighborhoods across our country for generations.
  • By generations, we mean specifically over 100 years of history. Now that’s social proofing!
  • When you get a roof replacement with Houston Roofing & Construction, we aren’t going to toss something unique together, but a highly-reliable SYSTEM designed by GAF.
  • They’ve been the leading innovators in the roofing industry, with the resources to continually push value forward for everyone involved (including installers).

Explained – The GAF Lifetime Roofing System

In their own words, this is how you become eligible for their Lifetime Roofing System here in the Houston area:

“Install any GAF Lifetime Shingle & at least 3 qualifying GAF Accessories & you’ll automatically get: a Lifetime ltd. warranty on your shingles and all qualifying GAF accessories!* PLUS Non-prorated coverage for the first 10 years! To get even stronger coverage, choose a System Plus or Golden Pledge® Ltd. Warranty from a GAF factory-certified contractor!”

Pretty simple, right?

As a certified highly-specialized and recognized GAF installer, Houston Roofing & Construction does this for our Houston customers on nearly a daily basis. In reality, what you get with the shingles + ‘accessories’ is a complete top-to-bottom system designed specifically to work together, from a single manufacturer rather than a hodgepodge.

One last thing to touch on are the differences to consider between the 30-year shingles and 50-year (Lifetime).

30-Year v 50-Year Asphalt Shingles

GAF doesn’t make only one line of shingles, they have a solid long-standing and constantly improving selection. The differences between the 30-year are about less materials, less weight, and none of the upgrading involved in lifetime shingles. Truth is, not every single solitary homeowner needs the lifetime shingles unless the extra coverage and upgrades make sense – due to climate, elevation, moisture, budgeting, home sales, etc.

To make a story short, 50-year asphalt shingles are designed to:

  • Withstand more UV radiation exposure here in the Houston area.
  • Generally experience less granule loss as a result of wind and time.
  • Be more durable and better withstand heavier weather systems in general.
  • Deal with dramatic temperature changes, again, dependent on local climate.
  • Provide more hail resistance and undergo less wear and tear.

Wrapping Up

Alrighty, that should about do it. Does that help you answer the question “How Long Should A Roof Last?” in terms of basics?

Where the rubber meets the roof – the three important variables – are your chosen material, your manufacturer of said material, and your installer. Keep in mind the most common reason folks don’t get roof replacement under warranty is because of installer error that fails to meet manufacturer requirements! With Houston Roofing & Construction, you know you’re getting a professional job done right.