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How Often Should Your Roofing Be Replaced? A Comprehensive Guide

how often should roofing be replaced


Your roof is essential for protecting your home from the elements, and as such, it’s important to ensure that it’s in good condition. However, over time, even the most durable roofing material will start to wear down and eventually need to be replaced. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about how often your roofing should be replaced, including what factors can impact the lifespan of your roof and how to choose the right roofing material for your home.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of Your Roof

Before we dive into the question of how often your roofing should be replaced, it’s important to understand the factors that can impact the lifespan of your roof. Here are some of the most significant factors to consider:

  1. Roof Material: Different roofing materials have different lifespans. For example, asphalt shingles typically last around 20 years, while metal roofs can last for 50 years or more.

  2. Installation Quality: The quality of the installation can also impact the lifespan of your roof. If your roof was installed poorly, it may need to be replaced sooner than expected.

  3. Climate: The climate in which you live can also impact your roof’s lifespan. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, high winds, or heavy rain or snow, your roof may wear down more quickly.

  4. Maintenance: Proper maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your roof. If you neglect maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters or removing debris from your roof, your roof may experience leaks and other issues that can shorten its lifespan.

How Often Does a Roof Need to Be Replaced?

With these factors in mind, you may be wondering how often a roof needs to be replaced. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The lifespan of your roof will depend on the factors we discussed above, as well as the quality of the roofing material and installation.

As a general rule, most roofs need to be replaced every 20 to 25 years. However, this can vary based on the roofing material and the other factors we discussed. For example, a metal roof may last for 50 years or more, while an asphalt shingle roof may need to be replaced after just 15 years.

Signs that Your Roof Needs to Be Replaced

If you’re wondering whether your roof needs to be replaced, there are several signs you can look for. Here are some of the most common indicators that it’s time for a roof replacement:

  1. Age: If your roof is approaching or exceeding its expected lifespan, it’s a good idea to start planning for a replacement.

  2. Damage: If your roof has sustained significant damage, such as from a storm or falling debris, it may need to be replaced.

  3. Leaks: If you notice water stains on your ceiling or walls, it’s a sign that your roof may be leaking and in need of replacement.

  4. Shingle Damage: If your shingles are curling, cracking, or missing, it’s a sign that they are no longer functioning properly and may need to be replaced.

  5. Energy Bills: If you’ve noticed a significant increase in your energy bills, it could be a sign that your roof is no longer providing adequate insulation and needs to be replaced.

Choosing the Right Roofing Material

If you do need to replace your roof, choosing the right roofing material is essential. There are many different types of roofing materials to choose from, each with its own pros and cons. Here are some of the most popular roofing materials and what you should know about each:

  1. Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in the United States and for good reason. They are affordable, easy to install, and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. However, as we mentioned earlier, they typically have a lifespan of around 20 years.
  2. Metal Roofing: Metal roofing is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its durability, energy efficiency, and eco-friendliness. While it can be more expensive upfront than asphalt shingles, it can last for 50 years or more.

  3. Tile Roofing: Tile roofing is a popular choice in areas with warm climates, as it can help keep homes cool. It is also highly durable, with a lifespan of up to 50 years. However, it can be heavy and expensive, and it may not be suitable for all homes.

  4. Slate Roofing: Slate roofing is highly durable, with a lifespan of up to 100 years. It is also fire-resistant and has a unique, attractive appearance. However, it is one of the most expensive roofing materials and can be difficult to install.

  5. Wood Shake Roofing: Wood Shake roofing is a popular choice for its rustic, natural look. However, it is highly susceptible to fire and requires regular maintenance to prevent mold and rot. It typically has a lifespan of around 30 years.

Ultimately, the right roofing material for your home will depend on a variety of factors, including your budget, the climate in which you live, and your aesthetic preferences. Consulting with a reputable roofing contractor or professional can help you choose the right material for your needs.

When Should You Replace Your Roof?

So, how do you know when it’s time to replace your roof? As we discussed earlier, there are several signs to look for, including age, damage, leaks, shingle damage, and energy bills. However, it’s also important to have your roof inspected regularly by a professional to catch any issues before they become serious.

Many roofing professionals recommend having your roof inspected at least once a year, ideally in the spring or fall. This can help identify any damage or wear and tear that may need to be addressed and can help extend the lifespan of your roof.

In addition to regular inspections, there are several maintenance tasks you can perform to help extend the lifespan of your roof. These include:

  1. Cleaning Gutters: Cleaning your roof gutters regularly can help prevent water from backing up and causing damage to your roof.

  2. Removing Debris: Removing debris from your roof, such as leaves or branches, can help prevent damage and keep your roof looking its best.

  3. Trimming Trees: If you have trees near your home, it’s important to trim any branches that could potentially fall onto your roof and cause damage.

  4. Checking for Leaks: Regularly checking your attic for leaks can help you catch any issues before they become serious.


In conclusion, the question of how often your roofing should be replaced depends on a variety of factors, including the roofing material, installation quality, climate, and maintenance. Most roofs need to be replaced every 20 to 25 years, but this can vary based on these factors. If you notice any signs of damage, such as leaks or shingle damage, it’s important to have your roof inspected by a professional to determine whether it needs to be replaced. Choosing the right roofing material for your home is also essential, and consulting with a reputable roofing contractor or professional can help ensure that you make the right choice for your needs. With proper maintenance and regular inspections, you can help extend the lifespan of your roof and keep your home safe and secure for years to come.

Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Des Moines Iowa
Cedar Shake Roof before & after cleaning

Meet Bruce

50 Years of Experience &
Over 2,000 Shake Roofs Cleaned

Bruce Sullivan has over 50 years of experience in maintaining, cleaning, and restoring cedar shake roofs. Making him one of the top authorities on cedar shake roofs in the US.

Watch the Cedar Shakes Cleaning Process in Action in this video

Play Video about Roof Cleaning How to Remove Moss, Lichen, Fungi from a Cedar Roof Sullivan Roof


What can I say? Bruce and Keith provided an exceptional service, and they are really nice guys too. Found out at the last minute they were in Minneapolis, and they fit me in for a cedar shake roof cleaning the next evening after their regular job was done. Even cleaned up my gutters, small fence, and small deck at no charge. The place looks outstanding! Highly recommended.

Mike Richards

I highly recommend this business. Due to the work performed we are going to get another 10-14 years out of our cedar shake roof. We were told by some roofing companies that the roof should be replaced in 2 years. I lucked out and found Sullivan Roof Cleaning while researching companies that perform this service, and was pleased to learn that the company does work outside of Iowa. If you need your cedar shakes cleaned, go with Sullivan Roof Cleaning.

Eric Oelrich, 
St Cloud, MN

Bruce did a great job cleaning the whole exterior of my house. The roof has new life! It looks practically brand new. All the mold and moss on the roof, on the gutters, under the eaves, completely gone. He exceeded all our expectations. When he tells you what he can do for your house, you can believe and trust him. Great guy, great service.

Stuart Malone
Kansas City, MO


Cedar shakes are organic. Though a resilient material. Being organic they need to be maintained. Over time, like any organic material that are subjected to weather elements, they reach a stage of deterioration. Like UV exposure, moisture and seasonal changes. Which results in moss, mold, mildew, lichen and brown rot fungi. These infestations need to be removed to further preserve the integrity of the cedar shake.
The proper way to clean a cedar shake roof is from a ladder. By spraying a special formulated solution onto the shakes and then rinsed with a garden hose pressure. Best done by a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Not DIY recommended.
No. Pressure washer will require walking on the shakes, which will harm them, and even at its lowest setting will also damage the shakes.
On average, cedar shakes should be cleaned every 10 ten years. Subjective to the grade of the shakes and the amount of surrounding tree cover.
Avoiding walking on a cedar shake roof, other than for repairs.
Never seal a cedar shake roof. Cedar shakes need to breathe. They expand and contract in rain conditions. Seal will shorten the lifespan, to the point of premature replacement.
Staining has no real preserve value and can also harm the integrity of shakes, as stated, they need to be able to breathe. Also, if the shakes are not properly cleaned staining can seal the deteriorating infestation within the shakes.
Depending on the grade of the shakes and installation, and if maintained properly, 40 to 60 years.


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