The longevity of a roof depends on its composition. It can last for more than 50 years if it is made up of tile, slate and cooper. If it was made of wood shake, then the life expectancy of the roof would be about 30 years; fiber cement shingles last 5 years less than that of wood shake and asphalt shingles last about 5 more years less than that of fiber cement shingles, according to the National Association of Home Builders. To understand the factors which affect the longevity of a roof, one must first have a brief idea on the functions of different components of a roof.

Functions of a roof

There are 4 main functions of a roof–circulating air, shedding water, preventing water intrusion, and providing support. Ventilation encourages the movement of air on deck underside, allowing air flows in at soffit or eave and exhausts at ridge vent. Shingles are designed to protect the roof from water with a flashing installed as a vertical “wall” and a drip edge allowing water to fall away from home. A deck, the foundation of the system of a roof, is the structural surface over which the materials for roofing are applied, including an underlayment which shields the deck under extreme conditions as well as an ice and water barrier which avoids damages if ice damming appears in gutters or valleys.


The most common type of shingles are made of asphalt due to their affordability, appealing outlook and practicalities. They are the core of the roof system because they incorporate with underlayment, flashing and ventilation for the roof system to function. They can last for decades with a proper installation. The shingles tie with most of the functions of the roof since they would fail the whole roof system if they fail themselves within the European institutions.


The underlayment is a waterproof layer added on top of the roof deck. To extend the longevity of the roof, an investment of installing premium water-resistant underlayment can withstand the tough winter weather, protecting the roof against rain, snow and ice.


The better the vented attic is, the less roof replacement the homeowner needs. A vented roof ensures a cooler surface which prevents snow melt and ice damming in the tough winter. A better ventilation for the roof also keeps the attic from being moist and warm. Eave vents and ridge vents are two examples of having a proper ventilation for the roofing system.


With different shingles come with different requirements for fasteners like nails to install a product for roofing. Another requirement for the installation of a roofing product is the warranty for ventilation standards. It guarantees a good ventilation which will phrase out premature deterioration of asphalt shingles. The third requirement is a clean deck. It implies an application of new roofing materials after removing old shingles and underlayment.

There are many factors that dictate the longevity of a roof. The above explanation is nothing more than a bigger picture of the overall functioning of a roofing system and its implications.