If you're paying for a roof installation, you'll want to know that it can last at least a couple of decades. How long can it go before you'll need to contact a roof repair contractor, though? Your roof's performance will depend on the following three factors.
The most honest answer is that dumb luck plays a major role. After all, the roof could be damaged by a falling tree during a storm while you're still in the middle of the installation process. Unsurprisingly, bad weather is the main driver of dumb luck. If you can control the number of large trees near the house, that should improve your luck. Still, it only takes one hurricane-strength wind gust to rip shingles off a roof or punch a hole in it.
Moisture is never the friend of a roof. When a roof installation contractor does a job, they will put down plywood decking so they have something to nail a vapor barrier and shingles into. If you live in an area that receives lots of snow or rain, that moisture can sneak into the plywood and damage it. The odds you'll have roof repairs go up significantly once water gets into the underlying structure.
Fortunately, you can do a few basic things during the roof installation process. Adding ventilation at the edge and top of the roof can provide airflow and relieve problems. It is also a good idea to have climate control in your house because humidity can rise from the living space into the attic where it can cause condensation.
Asphalt shingles are among the most popular materials in America, and they are cost-effective and may provide between 15 and 30 years of service without much maintenance. In many cases, you can just nail more shingles into them at that point and get a couple more decades of performance. However, asphalt shingles tend not to do as well in sunny regions because UV rays and high temperatures can damage the materials.
Wood shakes are another common option. These may deliver 30 to 40 years of service. However, they require maintenance in the form of staining or painting every 5 years.
There are other options like clay, metal, and slate roofs. Some of these can last up to 100 years and are low-maintenance. However, they're significantly more expensive. Also, many roof installation companies don't do this work because it often requires specialized equipment.