How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last? – A Comprehensive Guide

Apr 12, 2023


Moises V.




April 12, 2023


December 13, 2023

Got Questions?

As a homeowner, you’re responsible for the upkeep of your house. You certainly don’t want leaks or loose shingles to take you by surprise or for experts to tell you you need a roof replacement when you don’t have the budget for it. So you ask the question: How long does a shingle roof last?

Several factors play into the lifespan of your roof shingles, as we’ll help you see at Viking Contractors LLC. Professional roofers like us have the industry experience and knowledge to help you estimate a roof’s lifespan and expand it with the best roofing material and efficient installation processes.

How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last?

The short answer is that it depends. To dissect the lifespan of roof shingles, you must estimate the lifespan of the entire roof rather than a single shingle.

This contextualizing helps you comprehend how different variables affect the longevity of your shingle roof. 

So let’s dissect each factor and how it reflects on the longevity of your roof shingles.

Construction Materials

As you’d expect, low-end roof shingles (costing about $70 per square) last less than high-end shingles (approximately $1,500 per square). 

Premium types can outlive your house, so work with roofers who use top-notch materials for an extended lifespan. 

Now, let’s cover the various shingle materials and their estimated lifespans.


The most common roofing material is asphalt (lasting 15 to 30 years), which explains why its warranty is up to 25 years. According to the Study of the Life Expectancy of Home Components by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), asphalt has a life expectancy of 20 years.

As for asphalt shingle pricing, cheaper types live 15 to 20 years, whereas architectural and dimensional shingles live up to 25 years. Only premium asphalt has a lifespan of 30 years.

Asphalt lasts for that duration because its durable layer shields it from UV rays, rain, and wind damage. To illustrate, heat exposure softens asphalt, causing shingles to bond to the other shingles around it and create a watertight seal that protects it against the elements.


The NAHB states that wood shake roofing (typically cedar) lasts about 30 years, which makes the hefty initial investment of $250 to $600 per square worth it. And opt for cedar for the most advantages

The popularity of wood lies in its visual appeal; it doesn’t merely last you ages, but it also ages well, developing a chic silvery gray tone with time.

However, the drawback is that it can only live up to 30 or 40 years with regular upkeep and maintenance. To elaborate, a wood roof shingle requires frequent staining and cleaning, split shingle replacement, and annual inspections to spot any damage. 

Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with disfigurement, leakage, and a shortened lifespan.


The lifespan of a metal roofing varies according to its type. Suppose you choose copper, zinc, or other premium materials. In that case, they’ll function for 50 years or even a lifetime, which explains why metal roofing is so popular

However, watch out for cheap roofs made of ribbed panels, as they aren’t as long-lasting (with a lifespan of 25 and 40 years).

Another aspect that interferes with a metal shingle’s lifespan is the gauge (the tile thickness), which influences its protection level. The lower the gauge, the thicker the panel is. Aim for a gauge of 22 to 24, and your roof shingles may live over 50 years. As for 25 to 29 gauges, they give you 20 to 25 years.

Concrete & Clay

NAHB claims that clay and concrete roof tiles will last you a lifetime. To explain, concrete tiles are super sturdy, thanks to their water, cement, and sand content, and clay tiles are fire and weather-resistant, protecting your house for ages. 

So set aside $600 to $800 per square, and you won’t have to worry about roof replacement or even maintenance for a long time.


The same NAHB research details that slate roofing lasts over 50 years. It’s durable and requires little maintenance, so if you make an upfront investment of $600 to $1,500 per square, you get to enjoy it for up to 100 years!

Environmental Conditions

You can estimate when you’ll need a roof replacement by considering the weather conditions in your area. Hurricanes, tornados, fires, and other natural disasters almost always call for immediate roof replacement. 

As for high winds, extreme coldness or heat, heat waves, and snowstorms take their toll on your roof shingles’ lifespan (regardless of their type).

Therefore, you should consider which roofing type best accommodates your weather conditions to get the most value out of it. For instance, asphalt and wood last longer in cold climates, whereas reflective metal lasts long in humid areas.

Roof Age

how long does a shingle roof last? - old asphalt roof shingles on house roof

If you purchase a house rather than build one, you should know how old the roof is. This way, you can predict how long you can go before replacing it. 

You can use that knowledge to determine if you want to do some maintenance work or a full-on roof replacement by assessing which is less expensive in the long run.


Your dedication to maintaining your roof shingles prolongs or shortens their lifespan. As you’ve gathered, some roof shingle types require high maintenance (like wood), while others are low-maintenance (like clay). 

Wood may last 15 to 30 years with upkeep, but clay lasts a lifetime with minimal upkeep. Maintenance measures and standards include:

  • Cutting the limbs of surrounding trees that make contact with your shingles
  • Getting rid of algae using water and bleach
  • Cleaning the gutters and ventilation

Installation Quality

Well-installed roof shingles last more than others, so the roofing service you hire must be top-notch. The impressive handiwork, attention to detail, long expertise, and time-tested processes will pay off when you witness the integrity of your home structure.

Final Words

Overall, we can’t answer the question “How long does a shingle roof last?” without factoring in the several aspects determining your roof shingle’s lifespan. They’re everything from the construction material and installation process to the maintenance level and weather conditions.

With that in mind, your roof shingles can typically last from 15 years to 50 or even 100 years! But the key to long-lasting shingles is to choose the right shingle material for your environment and install it correctly.

Get in contact with roofing experts like Viking Contractors LLC. We’ll help you decide on the suitable shingle material and installation method so that you can enjoy an extended roof shingle lifespan!

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