How Long Does A Roof Really Last?

We all expect roofs to last a minimum of the lifetime guarantee that is claimed by the manufacturer, but the lifetime guarantee rating of shingles is simply a number manufacturers can safely claim based on normal weather conditions. 

Unfortunately, a 30 year rated shingle may only provide 20 to 25 years of effective protection on your roof. As sturdy as most roofing materials are, like anything else with your home, a roof should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure you get the maximum years of coverage. 

The following factors can determine how long a roof can really last. 


The Hidden Factors You Can’t See:

Regardless if you have roof shingles with a 40 years rating, it is critical that the base materials, essentially the infrastructure, are properly designed and installed. Roofing contractors who provide quality services will ensure that openings through the roof, such as vents, pipes, and skylights, are surrounded with an ice and water shield underlayment. The same applies along the eaves of the house, where all the water cascades over the edge. Also, proper selection and installation of underlayment ensure water does not reach the roof sheathing, which could eventually compromise the shingles.

As previously stated, the roof’s infrastructure plays a critical role in the life of a roof. If the attic is not adequately vented, moisture will become trapped inside, and if allowed to collect, it will eventually cause shingles to curl. When this happens, water can seep under the shingle, further compromising the infrastructure and the life of the roof. 

The External and Environmental Factors:

The effectiveness of the shingles is greatly reduced when the roof experiences significant weather events, such as hurricanes and hail storms. Fortunately, shingles are designed to resist uplift forces from wind speeds up to 90 mph for Class D shingles and up to 150 mph for Class H shingles. Despite the rating, homeowners should conduct an inspection after any severe storm and call a qualified roofing contractor to fix any issues.

Severe temperature fluctuation can also play a role in how long a roof lasts. The state of Alabama is classified as humid subtropical under the Köppen climate classification but isn’t exempt from potential temperature spikes. Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause asphalt shingles to develop cracks or split completely. If gone unnoticed, moisture can seep through the cracks and undermine the layers below the shingles. 

Trees that are close to the house and whose branches extend over the roof can impact the life of your roof in several ways. If the sun does not reach the roof, it can cause fungus to develop, which will cause the roof material to remain damp and promote rot. There are simple methods to remove the fungus, however, the primary cause must be eliminated by trimming branches that cover the roof. 

Trimming the tree also eliminates the possibility of branches falling on the house and causing further damage to the roof. 

The simple answer to how long a roof really lasts is that it depends on a number of factors. Contact our team at Timeless Roofing Solutions on (205) 447-7585 today to learn more or visit our website at