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How Long Does a Roof Last in Wisconsin?

Date: June 15, 2023

In Wisconsin, a roof typically lasts 20-25 years. Wisconsin has a mix of different weather conditions, like cold winters and warm summers, which can put some strain on roofs. Over time, these changing weather patterns can cause wear and tear on the roof materials, like shingles or tiles. Additionally, heavy snowfalls and ice buildup during the winter can add extra weight and moisture, potentially leading to damage. Regular maintenance and addressing any issues promptly can help extend the lifespan of roofs in Wisconsin. So, while roofs in Wisconsin have a decent lifespan, it's important to keep an eye on them and take good care of them to make sure they last as long as possible.

Factors that affect your roof’s lifespan in Wisconsin:

an example of roof in WI

It might seem quite amazing when you read advertising or hear people state that roofs can survive for 30 to 50 years. They give the impression that your roof will be sturdy and stable for a very long period of time. The fact is, this isn't always the case. Roofs occasionally don't last all that long, and sooner than you may think, they can require maintenance, repairs, or even replacement if not well taken care of.

It's important to know that many factors can affect how long your roof may last. Things like the weather, how well it's taken care of, and the materials used can make a big difference. So, even though roofs are advertised to last for several decades, it's good to remember that this might not always be the case. 

Let's explore some key factors that can impact the lifespan of roofs in Wisconsin and understand how they specifically influence our roofs.

Four extreme seasons:

Due to our four extreme seasons, the asphalt breaks down sooner than it should. The lifespan of roofs, especially those built of asphalt materials, can be impacted by Wisconsin's four distinct seasons, which are distinguished by dramatic temperature changes and weather conditions. Asphalt roofing suffers from a cycle of expansion and contraction brought on by Wisconsin's hot summers and icy winters. The asphalt softens and expands in the summer due to the strong heat. The material becomes weaker due to constant expansion and contraction, which increases the likelihood of cracks, leaks, and general degradation.

In contrast, the cold winter months bring freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and ice accumulation. The constant freezing and thawing cycles can further degrade the asphalt. The weight of snow and ice on the roof can also add extra stress, potentially leading to structural damage. Over time, these extreme weather conditions in Wisconsin accelerate the asphalt breakdown, shortening the expected roof lifespan compared to areas with milder climates.

The heat and then freezing weather:

Asphalt is damaged by heat and then freezing weather while drying out more quickly. The unique climate of Wisconsin, with its hot summers and freezing winters, can significantly impact asphalt roofs. The intense heat during the summer months causes the asphalt to become soft and more vulnerable to damage. As the asphalt expands and contracts due to temperature fluctuations, it can develop cracks and deteriorate more rapidly.

When winter arrives, the freezing temperatures take their toll on the asphalt. The repeated freeze-thaw cycles cause the material to contract and expand, further weakening its structure. Heavy snowfall and ice accumulation add weight and stress to the roof, potentially leading to structural issues. The combined effects of heat and freezing temperatures accelerate the aging process of the asphalt, drying it out faster than it would in milder climates.

Ice on the roofs:

In addition to the impact of heat and freezing temperatures, ice accumulation on roofs in Wisconsin poses another challenge to the lifespan of asphalt shingles. When snow and ice build up on the roof, they can cause granules to dislodge from the shingles. These granules act as a protective layer, shielding the asphalt from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

As the granules are removed by ice and snow, the underlying asphalt becomes more exposed to the sun. The UV rays can then accelerate the deterioration of the asphalt, causing it to dry out, become brittle, and lose its ability to protect the roof effectively.

This process of granule loss and exposure to the sun can lead to further damage and deterioration of the shingles. Over time, it can result in premature aging, cracking, and a reduced overall lifespan of the roof.

Lack of basic maintenance:

Roof in WI

Basic maintenance tasks, such as cleaning gutters, inspecting for damage, and addressing minor issues promptly, are often overlooked or neglected.

Small roof issues may worsen over time if adequate maintenance isn't performed. For instance, if a minor crack or missing shingle is not repaired, water can seep in and cause leaks, water damage, and possible structural problems. The more severe and expensive the repairs will be, the longer these problems will continue.

Regular maintenance additionally helps in seeing problems early and resolving them. Regular inspections can spot signs of deterioration, damage from severe weather, or other hidden issues that may compromise the roof's strength. Homeowners may prevent additional harm and increase the lifespan of their roofs by taking care of these problems as soon as they arise.

Maintaining the quality of the roof and extending its lifespan requires performing simple roof care procedures like clearing away debris, removing moss or algae, and ensuring adequate ventilation. Regular expert inspections, particularly following extreme weather events, may offer insightful information and suggest preventative steps to maintain the roof in top condition.


Although roofs in Wisconsin typically have a lifespan of around 20 to 25 years, this timeframe considers the varying weather conditions and challenges faced in the region, along with proper maintenance and regular roof inspections. 

To make sure your roof lasts a long time and performs at its best, you may want to get professional help. Their knowledge may assist in spotting possible problems, performing routine maintenance, and providing required repairs or replacements as necessary. You may increase the longevity of your roof, shield your house from potential harm, and have peace of mind knowing that your roof is in good hands by working with roofing specialists. Don't be reluctant to get in touch with roofing experts for their informative advice and help in preserving the sturdiness of your roof.

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