How long does a roof last?

A roof is an integral part of a house, but it is also one of the most vulnerable.

Heavy wind and rain can be tough on a roof. If you’ve sat through a heavy wind and heard the sound of roof tiles being dislodged, or sat during a rainfall and heard the dripping of a leak coming through your roof, then it is time to act.

Every roof has a life expectancy. But not all roofs are the same.

Different materials and different shapes all have an effect on the longevity of a roof, and by assessing yours, you can gain a clear idea of how long your roof should last.

Let’s take a look.

The Different Materials

There are many different materials that are used to make roofs across the world. In the UK, the most common are clay, slate and concrete tiles.

Knowing the material of your tiles is important as you will get a clearer idea on how strong your roof is against the elements.

Clay Tiles

A clay roof should last for around 60 years.

Clay is a hugely popular choice in the UK due to its longevity and durable nature. It is also one of the more cost-efficient options when making repairs.

Though not as strong as some other options, clay tiles do hold their own against tough weather, and boast some resistant qualities when it comes to mould and water damage.

They also look great, in the famous terracotta shade and a wide range of curved shapes to really make your roof stand out.

Slate Tiles

Slate costs a bit more than some other options, but due to its toughness, great look and longevity it is often worth every penny. Used for centuries across the world, slate roofing is a popular choice in the UK.

Slate is often seen as a luxury and is sure to be a huge plus when it comes to selling your home, but with a life expectancy of more than 100 years, it is always a worthwhile investment.

It is also easy to maintain and keep clean which helps to maintain the stunning visual benefits.

Concrete Tiles

Another popular choice in the UK is concrete tiles.

This is another choice that is tough and durable against all weather, and can easily last 100 years on top of your roof.

Rarely susceptible to leaks and environmentally friendly, using concrete tiles ticks many boxes.

Like the tiles above, this option is also low maintenance. It is also a good choice if you are looking to save money, costing much less than many other roofing alternatives. There’s a reason concrete tile roofing is so popular across the UK. They are efficient in every sense of the word and are sure to last a long time.

Metal Roofing

A metal roof is predicted to last around 50 years.

Despite some benefits, metal roofs are often seen more in hotter countries due to their ability to reflect heat and keep the inside of a home cool.

While not as strong as the tiles mentioned above, metal is good at deflecting water and is better suited to battling strong winds than tiles which are susceptible to coming lose.

Metal is a costly roofing option and this can be off-putting to many people, but when it comes to a tough material that is strong against extreme weather conditions, it is a good option.

Green Roofing

green roof is hugely beneficial for the environment and can provide a great outdoor space for people living in cities such as London.

With a life expectancy of around 40 years, they are also a long-lasting option.

Great to look at and energy-efficient due to the thermal mass that a green roof entails, green roofs are increasing in popularity as more and more people look to go ‘greener’. Whether picking intensive or extensive green roofs, you are always getting a material that can soak up the worst of the weather with minimal damage, and if cared for can last for a long time.

Slightly more expensive than other options due to the extra weight that is needed to be supported, but a great choice for anyone living in London or other surrounding areas who want to do their bit for the environment.

Felt Roofing

A cheaper alternative to all of these options is felt roofing.

Most often used on flat roofs due to its ability to stay watertight, a felt roof should last around 30 years.

Despite not having the longevity and durability of the other material options, a felt roof does have some benefits.

It does the job it is made to do well, and at a low cost. It is also easy to replace and maintain, meaning any issues can be dealt with quickly without breaking the bank.

Felt roofing isn’t used on a huge scale and is only advantageous for small roofs, but it is a great option and does exactly what it needs to against wet and windy weather.

How long does a Pitched Roof Last?

When it comes to the shape of the roof there are two options, pitched and flat.

A pitched roof has some advantages over its flat rival, most notably in longevity and durability.

For example, some of the materials mentioned above such as slate tiles are known to last for a century, whereas flat roofs don’t last as long.

A pitched roof will last for a long time if it is cared for and checked regularly so any issues are quickly resolved.

How long does a Flat Roof Last?

Flat roofs do have some advantages over pitched roofs though, and these are commonly seen in commercial roofing.

Firstly, they can be constructed quickly and are much easier to maintain. They are also a much cheaper option than installing a pitched roof.

Despite only having an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years, a flat roof won’t cost a huge amount when the time comes to fix and repair it.

They also provide a great look and have grown in popularity as a way to make your property, or a part of it, really eye-catching. There are various materials you can use when building a flat roof, but felt, lead and green roofs are some popular options.

When is it Time for a New Roof?

So now you know how long each roof should last, what checks can you carry out to know when its time to replace yours?

The first thing to do is perform visual checks. Either from inside your loft or from outside your house, it is vital that you take a look every now and then to check all tiles are still in places and there are no rips or holes. This is especially important after a heavy wind or rain storm.

Another thing to look out for is moss or mould. This may seem innocent, but can actually be a sign of trapped moisture. If your roof is retaining water, then something has gone wrong and this should be looked into by a professional.

A roof should stop any light and water from breaking through into your loft space, so if there are signs of this, then it is a sign that something is wrong.

From blocked gutters to broken tiles, keeping an eye on your roof regularly is the best method to make sure your roof is healthy and to know exactly when it may be time for a new one. Of course, if you aren’t confident in your knowledge but believe something may be wrong, calling a professional to give some expert advice is always a good idea.

How to Extend Your Roof’s Life

Keeping a roof healthy is all about keeping it well maintained.

If you can make sure there is nothing that may be about to damage your roof such as heavy snow or large piles of leaves that are stuck, you can avoid issues. By keeping your roof clean, you are keeping it healthy.

And of course, don’t forget your gutters. Keeping these clean means you are not risking heavy blockages pulling on your roof and causing damage.

Of course, things do happen to roofs. Tiles break and felt rips. What’s important is that when this does happen you act quickly and seek professional help. Problems left unsolved only grow and before you know it what would have been a quick fix turns into a huge job.

Prevention is the best cure, so if you keep an eye on your roof regularly, at least once a year for example, you can be sure to stay on top of any issues that risk the health of your roof.


No-one wants to have to pay for a new roof, but it is often necessary.

A new, well-structured roof can boost the energy-efficiency of your home massively, as well as fixing errors with damp and leakages. If you have issues with your roof and want some professional advice, get in touch with RoofPro London today. No matter your roofing needs, our team of professionals can provide assistance and quotes for any job that needs doing.

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