How Long Does a Roof Last in Texas?

Between rough spring storms and scorching summer heat, Texas roofs take a beating. Here's how long you can expect yours to last.

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Given all the wild weather around here, how long can you expect your home’s roof to last in Texas?

The weather we experience here in Texas is no joke. From the unrelenting hot sun and hail the size of golf balls to thunderstorms that cause the whole house to vibrate, the weather in Texas can be downright brutal on the roof over your home. So how long is it reasonable to expect your roof to protect your home and its contents in Texas before it needs replacing?

Well, not all roofing materials are the same. As with most things in life, there is a direct relationship between quality and price. In the case of roofing, “quality” means “how long will it last?”

It rarely makes sense to choose a roofing material based purely on which is the cheapest, as a roof that needs to be replaced every 8 years is by no means a bargain. While it may be reasonable to expect a metal or clay tiled roof to last 40 years, it would be unrealistic to expect a 3-tab composition roof to make it even 20 years.

However, there is no definitive guaranteed number of years your roof will last, as there are so many contributing factors: the quality of your attic ventilation and insulation, how competent your roofing installers were, how many storms your home gets, and so on.

How long does a 3-Tab Composition Roof last in Texas?

Shingles, otherwise known as 3-Tab composition roofing, are the most popular roofing material used in the US. Most 3-tab shingles typically come with a 10-25 year limited warranty provided by the manufacturer. The reality for most Texans is that depending on the severity and amount of storms they experience, the average lifespan of a composition roof only lasts 10-12 years

The reason for the shortened lifespan of 3-Tab composition shingles in Texas is that 3-Tab compositions shingles typically are only able to withstand a maximum wind-uplift of 60 to 70 MPH. This makes it unlikely for your roof to remain intact when strong winds blow through. Along with wind, sunlight can wreak havoc to Texas 3-Tab composition shingles that are exposed to the strong, direct Texas sunlight and rapid temperature changes; with asphalt shingles developing cracks that greatly dimish the roof’s lifespan.

How long does an Architectural Composition Roof last?

When looking for a longer lasting roof than 10-25 years a 3-Tab composition shingle room offers, start with heavier composition shingles last longer than their 3-Tab cousin. They come with longer manufacturer warranties ranging from 20 years to the lifetime of the roof, and Architectural shingles are able to withstand higher winds, up to 110-130 MPH compared to 3-tab shingles and are more likely to remain intact during Texas storms.

However, it is important to know that the number of years on the warranty serves as more of a general guide, rather than the guaranteed lifetime of the roof. You should plan on needing to replace heavier composition shingles before the warranty date, as it is unlikely that a composition roof will make 25 years in Texas.

How long does a Metal Roof last?

Metal roofing is becoming an increasingly popular choice for Texas homeowners for its lifespan that can last forty plus years. It is weatherproof and non-porous, making it a great roofing option for keeping your home and its occupants dry during the unexpected thunderstorms, hail, and high winds we experience in Texas.

With any metal roof, its lifespan is also dependent on keeping up with periodic inspections and to repaint them with rust-resistant paint if and when needed.

How long does a Stone Coated Steel roof last?

With a wind uplift rating of 120 MPH, and an expected lifespan of 40 to 50 years, a stone coated metal roof is an excellent, light-weight roofing option for storm-prone environments.

How long does a Standing Seam roof last?

Standing seam metal roofs, depending on the profile and metal thickness, have a wind uplift rating of around 120 MPH. These roofs are virtually maintenance free and have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years, but as a relatively new product, information is still being gathered.

In good circumstances, metal roofs may well last 75 years. To maximize lifespan, regularly check them to make sure that fasteners and sealants haven’t failed, and inspect for distressed, bent, or slipped panels.

With hail being an ever-present threat in Texas it is important to know that although highly durable and long-lasting, depending on the size of hail and material chosen, standing seam metal roofs can experience cosmetic damage not covered by insurance during hail storms.

A key to a long-lasting standing seam metal roof is the quality of its installation, therefore make sure the installers have plenty of past jobs to demonstrate their experience and expertise, and knowledge of materials that will stand up to hail.

How long does a Copper roof last?

Copper roofs can last 100 years or more and require very little maintenance. And if that is not enough to make you long for one, if a copper roof is properly installed and any minor damage is repaired or addressed as it occurs, a copper roof can last longer than many people own the home. Unlike many other metal roofing materials, copper requires no painting or finishing.

Copper roofs can expand and contract when the temperature fluctuates which can cause the fasteners to loosen and require repair. However, this is not a major concern and is an easy fix should it occur.

How long does a Clay Tile Roof last?

As plenty of archaeological sites have proven, clay tiled roofs are incredibly long-lasting. Some clay roofs have a lifespan of up to 100 years. When it comes to a shorter lifespan of a clay tiled roof, it is usually the underlayment and flashing that are the cause for early replacement. Or if tiles are installed on a mortar bed system, they are susceptible to slippage and can last as little as ten years. Installation by professional roofers is critical, especially ones that have experience laying clay tiled roofs.

It is common for a clay tile roof to last for 80 years, so manufacturers often offer warranties for 50 years or more. You can prolong that length of time, by avoiding walking on your tile roof as much as possible and replacing cracked and broken tiles as soon as you spot them.

Despite their expensive price, clay tiles are still a popular choice due to their long lifespan, resistance to mold, hail, fires. Since clay tiles are created from sustainable materials they are also an excellent eco-friendly roofing option.

They are also able to withstand winds over 125 MPH, and are an ideal choice for Texas home as they allow air flow between the tiles, which keep your home cool during the hot summer months!

How long does a Wood Shake Roof last?

Wood shake is a traditional material that has been used on roofs for hundreds of years. Wood shake tends to be made from pressure-treated wood or cedar and is a more expensive option compared to composition shingles, but they tend to last longer at between 25 to 35 years. The lifespan of a wood shake roof is highly variable depending on your local climate, the type of wood used and the thickness of the shake. 

Of all the different types of roofing material, wood shakes require a lot of attention. To maximize their lifespan, you will need to stay on top of periodic maintenance. The roof will need to be cleaned and chemically treated periodically to preserve the wood.

The main issue with wood shake is its vulnerability to rain or general moisture. Since wood is an organic material, it will decay and moss can grow if it is not properly treated. This is particularly a problem during the rainy Texas spring. However, wood shake roofs can withstand winds up to a whopping 245mph, so they are more likely to survive the Texas storms intact.

While there are many species that can be used for wood shakes, the most common are:

  • Redwood
  • Cedar
  • Pine
  • Cypress

Cedar is one of the world’s strongest natural materials for roofing and can last for 30 years or more if well-maintained. Redwood is often appreciated as the most visually appealing wood shake option, however, there is usually a limited supply of redwood in Texas making it a more expensive option. Both pine and cypress are budget-friendly alternatives, but are not as long-lasting as cedar and will typically only last 20 years.

How long does a Slate Roof last?

You can expect a slate roof to have a lifespan of between 50 to 100 years when they are properly maintained. Slate isn’t easily damaged by fluctuations in the weather, so in Spring when it is heavy storms in the morning followed by the hot sun in the afternoon, it won’t affect your slate roof the way it could a composition roof. It is resistant to wind and storms, hail and fire. It’s also less prone to leaks and moisture collection. Slate is impervious to mold and mildew.

Like tile, slate can be fragile, and require extra support due to its weight. Slate roofs generally require very little maintenance; however, fasteners and nails are usually the culprits to any problems with slate roofs. These components should be inspected regularly to ensure the longevity of the roof. Because of how heavy slate is, it is an expensive roofing option. Though, if you can afford it, you will have a roof that should protect your home for as long as you live there and can also increase the resale value of your home.

How long does a Concrete Tile Roof last?

Concrete tiles are very similar to clay tile in their makeup and properties, however they pretty much last half as long at around 40 to 50 years and thus are a cheaper option for your roof at approximately $700 per square. Like clay, they are heavy, so your roofing contractor will need to ensure the foundation of your home can withstand the weight.

This type of roofing is virtually maintenance-free and is resistant to rot, insects and fire.

Concrete tiles are baked to hardness, providing protection against Texas wildfires. These tiles can also withstand 120 MPH winds with no damage. They are also a great option for helping keep your home cool through the Texan summers, as they take a long time to heat and only a short time to cool.

Factors other than materials that affect the lifespan of your roof

While the material used for your roof will have the biggest impact on its longevity, there are other factors that come into play too.

The elements

Nature can give your roof a tough beating over the years! While roofing systems can withstand extreme conditions, over the years strong winds, heavy downpours, and hailstones will take their toll on even the strongest roofing system. So it is worth seriously considering how the different roofing materials withstand these different elements. For example, if you are considering composition shingles, we highly advise getting impact resistant shingles that are hail resistant and can withstand higher wind forces. In addition, composition shingles are more prone to damage from the sun.

Pitch

The slope of a roof determines its ability to shed water. Every resilient roofing system has a limit in terms of how much ponding it can tolerate before it loses it strength. Higher sloping roofs will shed water or snow faster and thus will dry faster and avoid over saturation of the roofing materials. Installing an effective gutter system and keeping the gutters clear will help with water runoff.  

Sun exposure

Unfortunately for Texas homeowners, our long and hot summers will impact the lifespan of your roofs. Excessive heat accelerates wear and tear and shingles are particularly at risk. Roofing materials that are dark colored in nature are more prone to sun damage as they will absorb the heat. Lighter hues will reflect heat more effectively and will help prevent a shortened life span due to heat and UV damage. But don’t panic just yet if you have your heart set on a darker colored roof! You can opt for roofing materials such as metal, clay, concrete, and slate that are better at withstanding Texas summers.

Ventilation

The humidity in Texas can be painfully unforgiving, for both you and your home. If condensation occurs in your attic, the buildup of moisture can cause mold growth, decay the wooden beams in your roof and attic and ultimately lead to structural damage. Poor attic ventilation also causes heat buildup in your attic, which can cook roofing materials, particularly composition shingles, from the inside.

Insulation

Inadequate insulation can cause the temperature in your attic to soar. Combined with bad ventilation, this makes it very difficult to regulate the temperature in your attic and lead to the problems mentioned above for poor attic ventilation.

Installation

It is essential to hire a competent and experienced roofing contractor to install the roof.

Workmanship errors are the most frequent cause of premature roof failures. Installation defects can cause early deterioration. Not even the best roofing materials can last long due to improper installation and may lead to a preemptive roof replacement.

Maintenance

After proper installation, maintenance is your best friend when it comes to prolonging the life or your roof. Every roof needs care and attention, and by not tending to your room means you will most likely be replacing it before its estimated life span. It is also important to know, you might lose the validity of your warranty if you forgo specific maintenance duties. 

Deciding on the right roofing material for your home isn’t an easy task, especially when there are so many options. But if you get it right you may not need to think about it again for 50 years or more! It is worthwhile thinking long-term even if you don’t plan to live in your home for long, a roof with a longer lifespan will add ease and value to your home.