Roof life expectancy

I have been getting requests for roof inspections to determine life expectancy for insurance purposes. Is there some kind of formula to factor in all the variables to make that determination?

How much life expectancy are they asking for, a couple of years?


For your information.

Life Expentancy reporting is outside the scope of the NACHI Standards of Practice. Few of any do this type of reporting because many found it to be a very slippery slope that can often lead to serious implications and lawsuits.

Not that I’m aware of except experience with roof installation and replacement coupled with good eyes and some thinking regarding what is present, what the roof type is, what is the general life expectancy for your area and has there been problems such as deterioration already starting and repairs already made.

I know a 25 year fiberglass shingle will last about 12.5 years here (if you’re lucky).

BUR needs to have a reflective coating applied generally every 5 years.

Foam roofing needs a reflective coating every 5 years.

Wood shingles might last 15 years if maintained correctly (here).

Tiles, should to be inspected for cracks and disloged areas yearly, other than that they usually outlast everyone living in the home.


Yes, predicting life expectancy may be allowed and accepted if, while writing the report, your finger’s are crossed. :roll:

I would have to say that looking at a roof is kind of like looking at your tires, they might last another year if their getting to the point where it depends whether you want to spend the money or take your chances.

Most folks take chances, its easier than acquiring money to some.

A bald set of tires will go a long way, but you might be walking during one of the trips.

A roof might not leak with all the mineral covering gone, but it could the next time it rains.

One reason I don’t do it…But there are many…:smiley:

Hi Craig,

Three Tab= 12 to 15 years
Architectural= 20 + years
Tile= 30 +years
Metal= 30+ years
Roll roofing= 10-12 years

These are what I use as an average for these type of inspections. The actual time will differ based on several factors.

Just be sure to write something to the effect

The roof is a three tab shingle that has an expected life of 12-15 years in Florida. Given the age and appearance of this roof it could last up to another 5 years.

Just an FYI for those of you that are not in Florida;

These estimates are not for a home inspection. They are a part of the four point inspection. Every inspector that performs these knows to write a disclaimer on the report.

Think I’d write a disclaimer no matter who it was for…:smiley:

When I put down my thoughts of the roof life I aways put 8~
That little mark is in the very top left of your computer and it means ± or aproximatly . This if you get in court could give you a little more protection as I did not say it would last I said it could last aprox 8 years I also put down to moniter it . so if they have not been looking at their roof to see how well it is doing then Too Bad end of story . Works for me .
The name of this (~) is a tildie Roy Cooke

Thanks for the comments. I think I can figure it out with all this info.

In San Diego, with appropriate attic ventilation and regular homeowner monitoring and maintenance, a 5-year roof can easily last 10 years, a 10-year roof can easily last 20 years, etc. However, while we people enjoy our 11 months of sunshine here, our roofs hate it. Add in a few weeks of extremely hot temperatures due to the Santa Ana winds coming out of Nevada, and our weather can wreak havoc on our roofs here.

My standard recommendation for my Clients is, notwithstanding anything I say in my report, and notwithstanding what month I did the home inspection, when the turkeys are all gone in November (or when they re-set their clocks in October), have a licensed roofing contractor come out and inspect the roof. They will then provide a 1-year guarantee against leaks. It costs anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the size of the roof, penetrations, chimneys, etc. Do the same thing next year and every year thereafter, and one will always have a good roof and a warranty against leaks from a good roofing company.

Out of all the states I’ve worked in, that only works here because we have so little rain overall, no lightening storms and thunderstorms, hail storms only once a decade, etc. A “deluge” here is when we get ¼" of rain in 24 hours (that’s when the mudslides start).

Does this mean the guarantee is only good until you do get a rain? And then the Guarantor is no longer around?
Is the guarantee worth the ink and paper that was used.
Warranty is different than guarantee. Which one do they use?

Up here, a 20 year will last 25 and a 30 will last 35 if installed properly.
A 20 year will last 15 when installed improperly like my nest door neighbor had done ten years ago.

Sounds like these guarantees is a false comfort level for the Owners that cost them $200 a year.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Hey RR, sorry, but out here, that may be considered a conflict of interest. recommending a roof warranty for X amount of years, Please fill me in on the details on how you separate yourself from the roofer, Just not clear on that. Thanks.

No. Why would you think that based on my post? Those roofing companies who offer the service “guarantee” that the roof will not leak for a period of one year. It’s a very useful guarantee but is only offered by the big boys who can afford to either self-insure themselves or buy appropriate insurance in their industry.

The Guarantor sticks around because it is only the big boys, those in business for thousands of year throughout the universe, offer it

Indeed it is. I can speak on its behalf both personally for my properties and from what my Clients have told me through my customer follow-up.

You’re right. I should have said “guarantee.” They guarantee that there will be no leaks for one year. However, the caveat is that if they inspect it and discover problems, then the guarantee is no good until repairs are made.

I went back and read my post and don’t understand how you got that “false comfort level” out of what I wrote.

Down here, a 20 year will last 40 to 60 years if installed properly and maintained. A 20 year will last 2 years if installed improperly like this inspection:


It would depend upon…

  • shingle quality
  • installation method
  • number of layers
  • structure orientation
  • roof pitch
  • climate (snow & rain)
  • building site (overhanging tree branches, protection from wind, etc.)
  • shingle color (amt. of heat absorbed)
  • elevation (UV)
  • roof structure ventilation (heat)
    *]quality of maintenance
    Easier to just tack the variables onto your report. If they still don’t understand why you won’t supply an estimate… they never will.

I’ll Ditto that synopsis of evaluation.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: