A high-quality roof can protect your property for many decades. Nevertheless, no roof lasts forever. How long will yours last?

An onsite inspection from a professional roofing contractor can give you a better idea of your roof’s remaining life span. Periodic maintenance can help it last longer, but six factors influence how soon — or how often — you may need roof repair or replacement.

No. 1: Roof Material

Different roofing materials have different life expectancies.

California homeowners who choose asphalt shingles can expect their roof to last a few decades. Clay or concrete tiles, slate shingles and membrane systems typically last quite a bit longer.

No. 2: Weather

The weather is your roof’s greatest foe.

Roofing systems are designed to withstand extreme conditions, including heavy rain, strong wind and hail. But eventually, weather extremes will take a toll on the structure’s integrity.

No. 3: Sun Exposure

Some roof materials, such as metal and EPDM rubber membrane, are resistant to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, any type of roofing can eventually degrade as a result of UV radiation.

Sun exposure also heats the roof, which triggers thermal shock, or expansion and contraction. Over time, this weakens the support structure and accelerates material degradation.

No. 4: Roof Pitch

The pitch (angle) of a roof can affect its longevity.

Flat and low-slope roofs don’t shed water easily. Rain and melting snow can pool on the surface, speeding up the degradation process. Pooling water causes roof materials to lose strength, which leads to leaks and other damage.

To offset this, we advise property managers to install an effective gutter system and keep gutters clear of debris.

No. 5: Ventilation

Every building needs proper ventilation to give its roof a longer life span.

An efficient ventilation system keeps air circulating in the attic. This helps prevent moisture accumulation and lowers the external surface temperature. Without adequate ventilation, roof materials break down much faster.

No. 6: Proper Roof Installation

Quality workmanship plays a significant role in rooftop longevity.

Installation mistakes are a common cause for premature repairs and replacement. Property Owners or Managers who unwittingly hire cheap, inexperienced or unlicensed roofers can pay the price with leaks and other problems that develop due to workmanship errors. In many cases, leaks aren’t the result of simple installation errors, but due to the lower-quality products these roofers frequently use.