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How Long Does a Roof Last? (and Other Roofing FAQs)

BY: Andy Seifert | Jul 19, 2018

Roofs: they protect you from being rained on, and other than that ... you might not know much about them. If you're looking at this article, you're likely either trying to figure out if you need roofing services, or you do know you need roofing services and you don't know where to start.

Never fear. This guide will answer questions like "how long does a roof last" (so you know when it should be replaced) and "Help! My roof is leaking! Oh no!" (which is not actually a question). Simply quick on the questions you're most curious about below. Good luck!

 


How Long Does a Roof Last?

For homeowners, it's a nagging question: when should you replace your roof? How long your roof lasts depends on what the roof is made of and the climate you live in. Use the following as guidance:

  • Slate roofs can last 50 years (some say as long as 100 years or more)
  • Concrete tile roofs can last up to 50 years, but could need replacing after 15.
  • Fiber-cement shingles can last up to 25 years.
  • Asphalt singles can last up to 20 years.
  • Cedar shake roofs can last up to 40 years
  • Roofs in excessively hot climates have shorter lifespans (check them every 15–20 years). Clay tile roofs are less susceptible to heat damage and thus a popular option for desert climates.

Where Can I Find Deals on Roofing Services Near Me?

To save when you replace or repair your roof, simply click on your city below, which will take you to roofing deals near you.

New York City Los Angeles Chicago Dallas
Houston Washington, DC Miami Philadelphia
Atlanta Boston Phoenix San Francisco
Detroit Seattle Minneapolis San Diego
Tampa Denver Baltimore St. Louis
Charlotte Orlando San Antonio Portland, OR
Pittsburgh Sacramento Las Vegas Cincinnati
Kansas City Austin, TX Columbus, OH Cleveland
Indianapolis Nashville Toronto, ON Providence
Milwaukee Jacksonville Raleigh, NC New Orleans

How Much Does a New Roof Cost?

To figure this out, first determine how big of a roof you have. Naturally, the bigger the roof, the more it'll cost. Simply multiply the length of your roof by its width to figure out exact square footage.

Typically, a new roof job will cost about $3.50–$6 per square foot, or $350–$600 per roofing square (which is a term you might see—it means 100 square feet). That translates to about $5,000–$15,000 for a new roof.


What is the Best Type of Roof Material?

Again, that all depends on your budget, the climate, and your aesthetic preferences.

  • If you're most concerned about your budget, the cheapest roofing materials tend to be asphalt shingles, which can cost as little as $100 per square.
  • If you want longevity, you can't beat slate, which can sometimes last for centuries.
  • If you live in an area with risk to hurricanes or wildfires, the best option might be metal. Metal roofs have been shown to be more wind resistant, whereas a shingled roof might spray pieces of your roof in all directions.
  • If you're recreating the charming Hobbit community from The Lord of the Rings, then you really have no choice but a thatched roof.

How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Roof?

For a leaky roof, you're probably going to need to replace at least one or two roofing squares, so most repair jobs will end up around $350–$1,000.



My Roof is Leaking. What Do I Do?

Take a couple of deep breaths, then go get a bucket for the water to accumulate. Next, see if you can plug the leak—the best way is to take a screwdriver and fit a screw into the leak.

Whether or not that works, call a roof-repair specialist right away. The sooner you fix a roof leak, the better. Otherwise, the situation will likely get worse—and so will the final bill.


What are Signs That a Roof is About to Leak?

It's much better to be proactive about a potential roof leak than to wait for it to happen. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Stains or other discoloration in your ceiling
  • The roof is starting to sag
  • Shingles are buckling
  • Moldy or rotten shingles

If you spot any of the above, schedule an examination by a roof specialist.


What is Roof Sheathing?

In your researching, you might keeping hearing the term "sheathing" (or "decking") and wondering "what is roof sheathing?" This refers to the layer of wood in between the structure of the home and the tiles, shingles, or other roofing material on the top. In other words, it's an additional layer of production and one that provides a foundation for your roof to live on.


What is the Plural of Roof?

Great question. It's "reeves."

 


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