How Long Will a New Roof Last?


When we own a home, expenses can add up. Over time, major appliances age, the home structure needs repair and replacement or a new coat of paint. These costs are not to be taken lightly. When purchasing a home, we should always ask how old each major appliance is. We especially need to know the age of that roof.


What’s the cost to replace a roof?


Replacing a roof is expensive. The average roof is 1700 square feet. The cost per square foot can vary widely depending on geography, composition and company type, but will range between $2.75 and $7.50 per square foot for the common 20-year composition shingle, for an average of eight to ten thousand dollars including materials and labor. For most of us, that’s significant money.


How long will a new roof last?


Roof lifetimes can vary from 20-50 years depending on the materials used. At the high end of that spectrum, the roofs that may last 50 years are slate, copper or tile — highly expensive and not common in most areas. Composite shingles are much more common and last only 20 years. Hail damage, high winds, snow, overhanging tree limbs, etc. can decrease the life of our roof. To give this a little perspective, let’s say that you purchase a home in 2017 that was built in 1997 — which doesn’t really seem that long ago for most of us. If the roof has never been replaced, chances are it needs to be replaced soon. And it may already be leaking and causing even more expensive, but not yet identified, water damage in the home. While the previous home owner got the use out of the current roof with little or no cost because they purchased a newer home, if you purchase this home with a roof that is at the end of its life cycle, all of that expense falls to you. Ouch! So if we are considering buying a home that is close to 20 years old, we should add about $10,000 to the cost of the home to determine if it makes good financial sense. And that’s just the roof. Don’t forget the other appliances.


How do we know a roof may need to be replaced soon?


As shingles age, they become brittle. Brittle shingles can start to lift up at the edges. This allows wind and moisture to get underneath, which will cause the shingles to break and come loose.


Bald spots where these shingles broke away will be very obvious if you go up to see. This does not cause immediate issues, and we may just patch the bald spots. But this indicates a much bigger problem than just the bald spot. The bald spots are simply the first place that brittle shingles gave up on protecting that home. The other shingles are not in much better shape and will soon follow.


Holes, bulging and blistering of the shingles can make the roof look similar to the cratered surface of the moon. Once we get to this point, we’ve really let our roof go too far.


A big decision


Whenever we make a large purchase, it is easy to forget other costs that need to be factored in. By looking at the age of the roof, appliances, and structure, you can make the right decision for you. These factors can determine if you want to buy anew or an older homeor an older home. If you decide a new home makes more sense for your family, contact a Smith Douglas New Home Specialist today.