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How Long Will a Roof Last Before It Needs To Be Replaced?

How Long Will a Roof Last Before It Needs To Be Replaced?

When Should I Get a New Roof?

It’s a question we get asked all the time, but unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” response.

Much like the proverbial “how long is a piece of string?” question, determining the lifespan of a roof is dependent on a number of variables. Some of these are environmental in nature, while others are dictated by building materials and home construction.

How is Roof Life Determined By The Environment?

The biggest factor in roof life expectancy is the climate that the roof encounters. Asphalt roofs can be affected by their surroundings, including sun exposure, temperature, humidity, and parasitic growth, as well as wind and hail damage.


The biggest enemy of asphalt shingles is the sun. If you look at an asphalt driveway, you’ll notice more cracks appearing around sunny areas than in sections covered by shade. As temperatures fluctuate, the oil retained within the asphalt is drawn to the surface, shrinking the material. This additional space allows for the formation of cracks. The same concept holds true with asphalt shingles, where granules come loose and imperfections begin to form along the surface of the shingle. Shingles on exposures that receive more sunlight have a tendency to wear out before those on other areas of the roof.

Algae, Moss, Leaves, and Lichen

Foliage and parasitic organisms will also reduce shingle life. Excessive shade and contact with adjacent foliage may encourage the growth of algae, moss, and lichen atop your shingles. Some of these elements can be managed with preventative maintenance by clearing any branches that may be coming into contact with the roof, and applying select anti-fungal agents may help halt shingle erosion.

The longer these organisms are allowed to grow atop your shingles, the quicker they will eat away at the structural integrity of the shingle. Lichen will even go as far as attaching themselves to shingle granules, actively removing them from the shingle’s surface. Failure to remove these pesky parasites may reduce a roof’s lifespan by as much as a decade!


Wind has a nominal effect on shingle erosion, but excessive wind conditions may lead to unintended shingle removal, causing leaks and requiring repairs. By using quality shingles warrantied with high wind resistance and ensuring your shingles are installed by a qualified installer, you can oftentimes prevent shingle damage in wind conditions as high as 100 miles per hour!


While wind may have minimal effect on shingle erosion, hail damage can have a significant impact on overall shingle life. Featuring a signature “pockmarked” erosion pattern, hail damage may require immediate emergency repairs and a complete re-roof depending on the severity of the impacts.

How is Roof Life Determined By Home Construction?

While mother nature may play a big role in how long your roof will last, the design of your home is just as important in determining when your shingles will need to be replaced. Whether it’s the type of roofing materials you select, the quality of ventilation in your attic, or the contractor you hire to install your roof, each of these factors comes into play when estimating roof life.

Roofing Type

The materials you select for your roofing project will play a major role in how long your roof will last. While some roofing options like cedar shakes may have a limited service life of about 20 years, other materials like metal, ceramics, slate, and tile may last as long as 60-80 years (at a much greater cost).

On average, you can expect a lifespan of 25-40 years for your standard asphalt shingle roof (based on all of the factors detailed in this article). While most shingles feature a roughly similar life expectancy, color choice, warranty, and design will often be the biggest considerations when selecting your brand of choice. All shingle brands offered by L.H. Krueger and Son have been vetted through years of past experience with the manufacturer.

Home Ventilation

As we mentioned before, heat from the sun is detrimental to shingle life. This holds true for heat retained in your attic as well! A properly insulated and ventilated attic will minimize the heat radiated from your home’s interior. An improperly ventilated attic will delaminate plywood and decking, requiring additional service and repair during the roofing process.

Early Indicators That Your Roof May Be Ready For Replacement

Now that you know all about the various factors involved in estimating shingle lifespan, here are a few visual indicators you can look for to determine whether or not your roof is ready for replacement:

  • Excessive Dark Streaking
  • Curled or Missing Shingles
  • A Large Number of Loose Granules

If you’re unsure whether or not your roof is ready for replacement, feel free to give us a call! L.H. Krueger and Son will be more than happy to schedule a Free Service Estimate for your home today.

Do you have a worn or leaking roof? Are you looking for advice or assistance with your next roof repair or replacement job? Contact L.H. Krueger and Son, Milwaukee’s home exterior repair experts.