The roofing system protects people and their belongings from all kinds of weather for decades and therefore, the roof is a significant part of their investment. Selecting the correct roofing materials for the home can affect the structure’s integrity and longevity.

However, other factors can affect the roof’s lifespan besides the roofing materials. According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Bank of America Home Equity, the roof’s life expectancy depends on the quality of installation, maintenance, and weather and climate conditions.



Here are six factors that can affect the roof’s lifespan:


1. Roofing materials

The roof is comprised of different layers, including the roof frame, ice and water protector, underlayment, flashing, roof edge, gutter, and shingles. And each material used for the roofing components has varying lifespan and durability. Therefore, homeowners need to select durable roofing materials, particularly for their roofing shingles, to increase their roof’s lifespan.

According to NAHB, slate, copper, clay, or concrete roofing shingles have the longest life expectancy as they can last over 50 years. Roofs made from wood shakes, coal, and tar can last for about 30 years, while roofs made of fiber cement shingles have a life expectancy of nearly 25 years, and roofing shingles made from asphalt or modified bitumen can be expected to last for about 20-30 years.


2. Installation

The installation of the roofing materials is also one of the critical factors that affect the roofing system’s life expectancy. When the roof is installed correctly, it can guarantee a long lifespan and homeowners’ safety. On the other hand, when the roof is poorly and incorrectly installed, it can lead to premature replacements and early deterioration, causing leaks and other forms of failures in the roofing system.

Homeowners need to work with a professional roofing contractor to ensure quality installation of their roofs, which will improve the roofing system’s longevity and prevent defects on roofing components.


3. Roof pitch

The roof’s longevity is also affected by its pitch. The roof pitch defines how steep its inclination is and determines the roof’s ability to shed rainwater and snow efficiently off its surface. A steep-pitched roof can efficiently manage water flow on the surface, allowing the roof to dry up fast and prevent water saturation on roofing materials.

Roofs with flat or low slope do not get rid of the water as quickly. When rainwater or snow build up on the roof’s surface, they will cause roofing materials to lose their durability and fail to do their function, which is to prevent water seepage in the roofing system’s inner layers.

Moreover, the roof pitch also determines the surface area, which is consistently hit by the sun’s heat during the day. Consistent sun exposure can accelerate wear and tear of roofing materials, which, in turn, can reduce the roof’s life expectancy.


4. Insulation and Ventilation

Homes with proper insulation and ventilation can enhance the roof’s life expectancy. Having proper roof ventilation will prevent heat and moisture build-up in the attic and adequate roof insulation can make it easier to regulate indoor temperatures. Insulationhelps keep the home cool in summer and warm in winter.

When the roof has improper insulation and ventilation, it may accumulate heat and moisture in the attic, leading to mold and mildew growth in the area and even damaging roofing components, such as the wood decking. Roof damage from the inside can affect the structure’s integrity. In turn, it will affect the longevity of the roof.


5.Weather and Climate

New York experiences an unstable climate as different air masses collide overthe city: it experiences cold air masses from Canada and warm air masses from the Gulf of Mexico. Because of this, the city endures waves of bad weather, alternating with clear and sunny days. New York also receives an abundant amount of precipitation, averaging about 4 feet of rainfall in one year.

The roof’s constant exposure to weather and climate conditions can put a lot of pressure on the roof and cause materials to wear or tear. Although roofing systems are one of the most durable housing components, they will sustain damage from extreme weather conditions over time. Thus, exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, strong winds, heavy hail, thunderstorms, rain, and snow can affect the roof’s longevity and durability.


6. Maintenance

Regular maintenance of the roof improves the efficiency and prolongsits lifespan. It also reduces the need for roof repairs and replacements. Additionally, conducting preventive maintenance allows homeowners to address developing roofing problems, enabling them to avoid even bigger issues that could cost them more money in the long run.

To ensure proper roof inspection and maintenance, homeowners must hire highly-trained professional roofers who know what to look out for, such as leaks, water damage, mold and moss growth, sunlight coming through the roof, and damage to different layers of the roof.



Understanding the factors that affect the roof’s life expectancy will help homeowners determine when and how to maintain their roofing system and prevent premature roofing failure. It will also help them select the right roofing materials and roof designs for their houses.

Besides knowing the factors that affect the roof’s lifespan, homeowners should also look into the 2020 Residential Code of New York State to learn the provisions that govern the design, materials, construction, and quality of roof assemblies.

Homeowners need to remember that installing, repairing, or replacing the roof must be done correctly and adequately because it dictates the roofing system’s longevity and durability. It will also allow people to maximize the safety the roofing structure provides. It is ideal to consult professional contractors to advise them on the perfect material for their roof and ensure quality roofing installations and repairs.

Contact Long Island Roofing and Chimney today at 631-205-6177 (Suffolk County), 516-605-6108 (Nassau County), or click here to request a quote.