What is the Average Roof Life Expectancy in California?

Average Roof Life Expectancy in California

Whether you are putting a roof on a new home in California or replacing an existing roof, you’ll want to ensure the material will last for decades, require minimum maintenance and contribute to curb appeal.

Average Roof Life Expectancy in California

Three of the most popular roof tiles for upscale homes include slate, cedar shake and clay barrel tiles. Each offers extended durability and high curb appeal, but comes with a high price tag for installation and maintenance. This article will present some options that provide the long life and beauty of natural roofing materials, without the high cost of installation and maintenance.

Natural Tile Roof Life Expectancy

How long a roof will last in any given region depends somewhat on the weather extremes it is exposed to. However, there are some general guidelines that can be used to determine an average life expectancy for a roofing tile.

Natural Slate Tile

Natural Tile Roof Life Expectancy

Slate is produced in mines located in Brazil and Spain, as well as the U.S., Britain, and Asia. It has been used as a roofing material for centuries and has proven its value by being the premier roofing material on homes and castles of distinction. A slate roof can last 50-75 years, or more, if properly maintained. However, installation and maintenance are the two biggest factors that make natural slate difficult to fit in the budget.


Slate is extremely heavy, which leads to 3 potential cost issues:

  • Transportation costs are higher.
  • Your roof structure may need to be upgraded to support the weight.
  • The roofing contractors charge more.

Installation requires professional roofers experienced with slate tiles, and equipped with the specialty tools and fasteners required to safely work on this type of roof. These contractors are much more expensive than a regular roofer. Maintenance will also be expensive, because the same specialty roofers will be needed to repair any damage.

Clay Barrel Tiles

Clay Barrel Tiles

Clay roof tiles have been used for more than 10,000 years, dating back to their first use in China and the Middle East. Over time, they became popular in Europe and the U.S. because the raw material was easy to source, production was simple, and their lifespan was five decades or longer. Southern California homes found clay barrel tiles to be a perfect fit for the hot, humid weather they often experience.

Like slate, however, installation and maintenance can be a budget roadblock for many would-be owners for the following reasons:

  • On average, clay roof tiles weigh between 9 ½ and 12 pounds per square foot, which is up to 4 times as much as an asphalt shingle roof. This means your new roof will need to be engineered to carry the additional load, or your existing roof will need additional support structure to carry the weight. Engineering and construction can significantly increase the cost of your roof project.
  • Regular roofing contractors will not be familiar with the tools and procedures necessary to install clay tiles, and you will need professionals who know how to properly handle and install them to ensure there are no leaks, and minimum breakage.
  • Similar to slate, maintenance will have to be done by the same professionals to ensure that tiles aren’t broken and the repairs are done safely.

Cedar Shake Roofing

Cedar shake roofing has been popular throughout America for decades because of the rugged character it adds to a home, its insulating value compared to other roofing options, and the fact that they are lightweight. A natural cedar shake roof has an expected life span of 30 years, if proper maintenance is performed.

However, wood roofing products became an issue in California due to the high incidence of forest fires every year, and severe restrictions were placed on their use. Additionally, cedar, though insect resistant, is not insect proof and therefore subject to infestation unless treated. Cedar shakes also provided a suitable environment for mold and algae wherever moisture pockets were found.

Brava Synthetic Roofing Tiles Provide Beauty And Durability

Unlike natural roofing materials, synthetic composite tiles are manufactured to withstand the elements, meet most codes in the U.S. (including California’s Title 24 requirements), offer easy installation, and no maintenance.

Brava Synthetic Roofing Tiles Provide Beauty And Durability

Brava’s roof tiles are manufactured from recycled materials and can be recycled again rather than going to a landfill. Our synthetic options perfectly mimic their natural counterparts:

Brava Spanish Barrel Tile - Perfect for the California weather extremes, as they can handle the heat and freezing cycles without damage.

Brava Old World Slate - looks like slate, comes in an almost unlimited color selection, and is molded from actual pieces of slate, in multiple widths and thicknesses.

Brava Cedar Shake - One thing a real shake can’t do without treatment is carry a Class A fire rating. Our shakes do. They also have two options that meet Title 24 requirements, and bugs don’t eat our roof tiles

Brava synthetic roof tiles carry a 50-year limited warranty and can be shipped to most places in the world. Contact us today for more information and free samples of our roof tiles.