A home is not really a home. It is a collection of systems. These systems are surprisingly varied when it comes to their lifespan. Specifically, the may last a long time or, in the case of a roof, they may not.
Why is there such a difference in the expected ages of a roof? Well, the obvious issues are the quality of the materials being used and installation, but the bigger issue has to do with Mother Nature. Simply put, she is plenty strong and must be respected.
When you think about it, a roof lasts an amazingly long time. It expands every day when the sun beats down on it and then contracts when night comes. It takes all the wind can give, gets pummeled by rain and even holds up snow many feet thick.
That being said, the primary material used in your roof system can make a world of difference. The most durable is the slate roof. Slate is a beautiful form of rock. Build a roof out of this and it can last up to 100 years. It is costly, however.
On the other end of the range, we have the wood shingle roof. Depending on the type of shingle, you can expect it to last anywhere from 10 to 25 years. It is important to understand that these shingles basically come from left over wood pieces with all that implies.
An additional concern with wood shingles is obviously the fire issue. Wood and fire are a bad mix. If you must go with wood shingle roofing, make sure you get a fire retardant treated shingle set. It will not stop them from catching on fire, but will make it more difficult.
A happy middle point between the cost of slate and the fire risk of wood roofs is the tile roof. It is highly fire resistant and will not cost you an arm and leg to install. Most tile roofs will also last up to 45 years, which is a nice lifespan.
One really interesting new type of roofing you might want to check out is solar shingle roofing. These roofs come in rolls that are spread out in vertical columns down your roof. They are layered so that they look like flat shingles overlapping from top to bottom.
There are a couple of really cool things about these shingles. First, they are essentially solar panels. They will generate electricity for your home, which can do some major cutting to your utility bill. They also come in many colors, so they can match most homes.
Sooner or later, you are going to have to improve or replace the roof on your home. Instead of just automatically putting up the same type of roof, take some time to explore your options. You have plenty of choices.