A Roof of One’s Own: How Often Should You Replace it?

Owning a home is perhaps the most significant manifestation of the American dream, but it is a lifetime investment for most homeowners. If you plan on living in your home for 15 years or more, you must factor in maintenance costs.

Annual home maintenance costs can range from 1-4% of the value of your home, with roof replacement making up a bulk of it. Replacing a roof could set you off by $6,700-$80,000, depending on the size of your home, materials used, damage, and the like.

Because it’s such a hefty figure, you must budget for it, so you know how often you can afford it. But how often should you replace your roof? There’s no simple answer to that question.

How Long Should a Roof Last?

Ronald Greene, a certified home inspector, explains, “The short answer is from 10 to over 100 years. The long answer is: It depends on the roof covering type, its quality, the quality of installation, and the degree of maintenance by the homeowner.”

As you can discern, roof life expectancy depends on multiple factors, types of roofing materials being an important one.

Shingled asphalt roofing, the most common roofing found in American homes, could last 15-30 years

Slate and clay tile roofs can service your home for 50 years without needing replacement

Depending on the gauge of metal used, metal roofing can go strong for 20-50 years if maintained well

Local weather conditions like daily sun exposure, tropical storms, and snow can heavily affect roof lifespan too. The quality of installation, pitch, insulation, and underlays also come into play.

So, how long does a roof last in reality? There’s still no telling.

The only certainty is that the lifetime of a roof is finite. Even the most well-maintained roof shingles that don’t endure harsh climatic conditions depreciate. So, when to replace roof? Most roofing contractors worth their salt advise replacing a roof once it reaches 80-85% of its life expectancy.

How Long Should a Roof Last

That means you need a new roof every 15-20 years for safety. So, if your roof has a life expectancy of 50 years, replace roof at least twice.

Replacing a roof could become a necessity if you plan on going solar. But first, let’s understand when a traditional roof might need replacement.

Signs You Need a New Roof

Irrespective of the average life of a roof, it could need replacement at least once in its lifetime.

Stephen Meeks, a building maintenance technician with 38 years of experience, explains, “Hail can damage asphalt shingles and clay tile. Wind values above 60 mph can blow roofing, loosen the edges, and maybe blow some apart.”

So you need to keep an eye out for signs of damage:

Sagging/Disheveled Roof

Your roof should maintain its alignment and incline at all times. It should not sag or look uneven. If it does, it’s a sign of damage that could result from various factors and needs immediate attention.

Damaged Shingles

Visible signs of weather damage on roof shingles can indicate when to replace a roof. From high wind speeds to hail and heavy snow, harsh weather can eat its way into your roof at an unprecedented rate.

Watch out for loose/curled/ missing shingles, loss of granules in patches, chimney issues, and damaged fascia—all these signs indicate weather-induced damage.

Damaged Shingles


Another surefire indicator of when to replace a roof is leakage. Unfortunately, leakage may not be apparent to the naked eye until wet spots appear in the ceiling or it starts dripping. Sagging and soft/spongy shingles also indicate leakage.

You can check for leaks by inspecting your roof from the inside—if you notice chinks of light streaming in, your roof most likely has leakage.

Green Encroachment

Plants may make for a significant decorative element for the house, but creepers and moss are not suitable for the health of your roof. Unwanted plant growth can weaken your roof and make it susceptible to damage. Because lichens and algae thrive in the roof's moisture, the infestation can spread fast, causing ugly stains that you could mistake for water damage.

In short, damage to the roof could result from one or more underlying factors. So if you’re unsure when to replace a roof, watch out for these signs.

Do You Need a Roof Replacement For Going Solar?

While the primary reason for roof replacement is maintenance, you might wonder if you need one when going from traditional to solar.

There’s a caveat.

If you replace your roof only because you’re going solar while there are still ample usable years left, you incur a loss on your investment. But if you don’t replace your roof before getting solar, you still spend a fortune if any critical problem arises.

The real question is, how much do roofs cost? How long should a roof last with a solar setup?

It is a financially troublesome dilemma, compounded by the cost of going solar.

So the wisest way to arrive at a decision is to inspect your roof and take advice from solar experts. They know all about roofing and can provide suitable roof installation services. Under their guidance, you can find an ideal solution for your roofing concerns.

Roof Replacement For Going Solar

Get Quality Roofing Solutions With AMECO

Backed by about 50 years of experience in the solar roofing industry, AMECO provides end-to-end roofing solutions from repair to maintenance and replacement. Whether it’s residential roofing installation or commercial roofing installation, AMECO has the best-in-class solutions focused on convenience and efficiency.

AMECO’s dynamic roofing solutions can help you keep the roof over your head at its functional best. If you need a new roof, visit amecosolar.com today and schedule a virtual consultation.