Freeman Exteriors

How Often to Replace a Roof

How Often to Replace a Roof

The state of your roof isn’t something to ignore. Your roof is one of the most critical structural elements of your home, protecting the interior and foundation from water and other damaging elements. It’s unsurprising that an old or damaged roof can negatively impact a home sale. 

Whether you’re thinking of selling or simply want to preserve the value of your home, it’s time to learn how often to a replace a roof. Answers will vary, so it’s important to get the full scoop on roof replacement.

Answering your burning questions is a passion of ours at Freeman Exteriors. Today, we’re going to talk about how long you can go before replacing your roof and signs that it’s time to contact your roofing contractor.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about when to replace a roof.

How Often to Replace a Roof Based on Materials

If you’ve kept up with roof maintenance over the years, there’s still one factor that’s going to lead to the need for roof replacement eventually, and that’s age. On average, roofs can last between about 20 and 50 years, and it all depends on the materials used.  

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are some of the most popular roofing materials, in large part because they’re the most economical choice. They’re also widely available, take about one to two days to install, and provide good durability.

They do have the shortest average lifespan, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at. A roof made from asphalt shingles can last between 20 and 30 years when well-maintained. 

Clay and Cement Tile

Clay and cement tiles are often chosen for their impressive aesthetic and durability. Neither of these materials are quick to fade and come in attractive earthy tones. However, they are more expensive than asphalt shingles and can take between six days and two weeks to install.

How durable are we talking? Clay and cement tile roofs can last between 50 and 100 years when well-maintained. In other words, you’re unlikely to have to replace the roof during your time as a homeowner if you go with clay or cement.

Slate Tile

If you don’t want to think about installing a new roof ever again, slate is the way to go. Slate tile is the most durable roofing material on the market but, as you might expect, it’s also one of the most expensive. Slate tile is also quite delicate and takes great time and care to install, leading to an installation timeline of between six and ten days.

How much longer will slate last than clay or cement? Slate tile can last between 75 and 125 years before it needs to be replaced. This is in no small part because slate tile is flame-resistant and mold-resistant. 

Wood Shingles and Wood Shakes

As far as popular roofing materials go, wood shingles are low on the list. The biggest appeal comes from the aesthetic, and it’s not one you’ll find much of in Indiana and Illinois. Wood shingles are often used for beachside houses and country homes.

Wood shingles aren’t as economical as asphalt shingles and you’ll get about 30 to 40 years out of them. It’s not always easy to find roofing contractors that will work with wood shingles and they’re not the best choice for the varied climate we have here in the midwest. 

How do wood shakes compare? Wood shakes have a rougher texture than wood shingles and you’ll see them used for rustic styles of architecture. Wood shakes will last about 20 to 40 years before you need to replace them. 

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing offers a unique form of temperature control, reflecting sunlight and providing strong insulation. This can keep cooling costs low in the summer season. Metal roofing can also withstand the test of high winds, which is why you’ll see it used most in regions that are hit by frequent hurricanes or tornadoes.

Thanks to this impressive wind-resistance, metal roofing tends to last between 40 and 70 years before it needs to be replaced. This is a big range in part because there’s a lot of variation in quality when you’re choosing metal roofing materials.

Signs That You Need Roof Repairs or Replacement

What if you don’t know how old your roof is or how well it’s been maintained over the years? What if your roof seems to be showing serious signs of damage well before you’ve hit that average life expectancy?

Age is an important factor in roof replacement but it isn’t the only factor that can tell you that it’s time. Let’s take a look at some of the other signs that you need to have your roof inspected and repaired or replaced.

Visible Wear and Tear

If you stand in your yard and look at your roof, what do you see? Some damage is hard to spot from the outside, but if you see visible wear and tear, it’s time to get in touch with your local roofer. When you’re doing a DIY roof inspection, look for signs of a damaged roof that include:

  • missing shingles
  • curling or cracking shingles
  • loose nails

It’s especially important to take a look at your roof after a storm. High winds, rain, ice, and snow can cause shingles to break or come loose.

When your shingles are no longer flush with the materials below, you’re vulnerable to leaks and escalating damage and it’s important to act fast. Your homeowner’s insurance policy most likely won’t cover the cost of water damage if it resulted from general wear and tear.

Mold and Mildew Growth

A little bit of mold or mildew growing on your roof may not seem like a big deal at first glance. The reality is that if you’ve got mold or mildew, your roof is providing a consistently damp environment that allows that mold and mildew to thrive. In other words, you’re looking at the potential for serious water damage.

Removing mold from a porous material like asphalt is difficult and not the most cost-effective choice. If you catch the growth quickly, you may be able to replace only the materials that are already impacted. If the mold and mildew is able to spread, however, you’re looking at a major roof replacement.

Mold and mildew does more than damage your roof and indicate water damage. If mold spores are entering your home, it could lead to health complications and exacerbate symptoms for anyone in your household with respiratory problems. 

Water Damage or Roof Leaks

Water damage is one of the few signs that you need a new roof that you’re going to spot from the inside, rather than the outside. You might notice leaking as it’s actively happening or discover signs of water damage once the water has already dried. Signs of water damage inside your home include:

  • discolored spots
  • bubbling paint or wallpaper
  • sagging ceilings
  • warped wood

If you’ve ruled out the possibility of a burst or leaking pipe, it’s time to consider your roof as the source of water damage. If your roof is leaking, that means that water is getting under the shingles and through materials like flashing before entering your home. This much penetration indicates some serious damage and it needs to be addressed quickly to mitigate damage to other areas of your home.

Sagging and Drooping

What if you notice that a portion of your roof is sagging or drooping inward? If so, do not climb on your roof and take precautions when using the uppermost floor of your home. A sagging roof could be on the brink of collapse and you should consider it a safety hazard.

What causes sagging and drooping? It could be a number of problems ranging from water damage to termite damage and you’ll need a professional’s opinion to find out more. No matter what, you’re going to need roof replacement to address such severe damage.

Shedding Shingles

If you don’t have an asphalt roof, you can skip this one. If you do have asphalt shingles, you’re going to want to take note. This is a sign that’s easy to overlook, especially if you don’t spend a lot of time cleaning your gutters.

Prolonged exposure to the elements will take a toll on asphalt shingles, which is why they tend to last a maximum of 30 years. If you start to notice that your asphalt shingles are shedding and leaving granules in your gutters or around the perimeter of your home, take it as a sign that the shingles are starting to break down and leaving your roof vulnerable to further damage.

What Impacts How Often to Replace a Roof?

As we mentioned earlier, not every roof is going to make it to the end of its average life expectancy. There are a ton of other signs to look out for in the meantime but the question is, what are some of the factors that can cause those signs to make an early appearance?

Let’s take a look at the factors that impact how often you’re going to need to contact your local roofer for regular maintenance or a new roof. 

Quality of Workmanship

The materials you choose can make a big difference in the longevity of your roof, but so can the workmanship. If your roof was installed by someone other than an experienced professional, it’s likely that corners were cut or mistakes were made in the process. When the materials aren’t installed the right way, they’re more prone to early damage and your roof won’t provide as much insulation and protection from the elements as it should.

Inclement Weather

You can’t always control the factors that will impact the lifespan of your roof. When your neighborhood gets hit with high winds or a full-blown tornado, you might find yourself facing early damage. 

It’s also worth noting that certain climate patterns can also impact your roof’s lifespan. Extreme heat and extreme cold can both cause shingles to warp and contract, leaving them weakened and more prone to cracking or curling.

Nearby Trees and Foliage

We all love the shade and beauty our trees provide us with but if you have trees growing in your yard, take note of how close they are to your roof. If a nearby branch breaks off a tree and lands on your roof, it can cause major damage. Even foliage growing close to your roof can increase moisture and encourage mold growth, so keep tree branches pruned if they’re starting to grow over your roof.


Keeping up with regular roof maintenance is one of the best things you can do to elongate your roof’s life. When you notice a small issue, like a few missing shingles or a contained leak, don’t hesitate to put in a work order. By repairing small issues as they arise, you can preserve the structural integrity of your roof and keep those issues from spreading.

Type of Roofing Material

As you’ve learned already, the type of roofing material you invest in will make a big difference when it comes to your roof’s lifespan. However, you don’t need to invest in something like clay or slate to get several decades out of your roof. Get to know your local roofer and call them often to keep your roof in good condition no matter the material.

Need to Replace a Roof in IN or IL? Call Freeman Exteriors

Whether you’re a new homeowner looking to preserve value or a long-time homeowner looking to sell, it pays to know a thing or two about roof replacement. Now that you know how often to replace a roof, you can make great choices for your property.

Are you ready to talk to a roofer in Indiana or Illinois? Contact Freeman Exteriors to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss your next roofing project.

Jake Freeman

Jake Freeman

Freeman Exteriors is a family owned and operated general contracting company. We specialize in roofing and commercial renovations. We serve Champaign County, Vermilion County, including Champaign, Danville, Paris, IL and Crawfordsville, Covington, West Lafayette, IN and surrounding areas. Our goal is to be the general contractor of choice through our pledge to maintain the highest quality of standards and workmanship. Give us a call today to begin your next project!

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