There's good news if you're a glass-half-full kind of person. Your roof doesn't need to look new to perform its duties of protecting your home and everything in it. How long it appears new is another question, and if you want it to stay looking that way for as long as possible, there are a few variables you likely need to consider. A roof's appearance comes down to the color, the type of product, the climate, and of course maintenance.
If you're looking at darker colors such as Charcoal or Midnight Blush, they are likely to fade over time, especially when exposed to more sunlight. That is because darker colors absorb more heat than lighter colored shingles causing them to contract and expand more often over their life spans, causing them to fade. Most roofing manufacturers claim that all of their color offerings last the same amount of time which, is likely accurate as lighter-colored products tend to darken over time.
Type of Product
If you're considering wood roof shingles or shakes, understand that they can weather to gray in a single season, so if you have your hopes set on a new wood-look for an extended time period, it's essential to understand that may not be an option. Unless your wood roof is protected from constant UV light, it will gray, but it doesn't have to decay so easily. Applying a preservative treatment like CCA will keep the wood attractive, clean, odorless, and non-staining by boosting its natural resistance to decay. Avoiding rot avoids termites too.
Aside from color fading, your asphalt shingle roof has a greater enemy to combat especially in humid climates. Those infamous black streaks you see on asphalt roofs is not dirt, mold or mildew, and it's not defects. The culprit is blue-green algae known as Gloeocapsa Magma that spreads by airborne spores. Not only is algae, lichen, and moss growth unattractive enough to affect your home's resale value, it can retain moisture causing shingle deterioration and rot.
One of the biggest pros to a steel metal roof is longevity. it will function and looks newer longer than other types of roofs. But like other roofs, they will also fade. Water and other atmospheric chemicals will eventually break down the pigment of the paint and lighten the color. Organic pigments (usually bright vibrant colors) are more prone to fading than inorganic (ceramic). Look for products that use silicone-modified polyester (SMP) or polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resins for the best pigment protection. Some sections may not fade uniformly since not all areas of the roof all dealing with the same elements. Most importantly, you should perform maintenance as needed to clear of any dirt, dust, or debris that could make your roof look unsightly.
To keep your roof looking its best, choose the best product for your application.
Is your home facing north-south? Does your roof or other roofs in the area have large black streaks on their shingles? The direction your home is facing is a significant consideration in regions more prone to precipitation when selecting a new roof. Algae build-up can be quite the eyesore that can lead to unseen compromises to your roof's structure. Consider shingles that prevent algae growth by incorporating zinc and copper into the manufacturing process. Both of which prevents algae build-up and can keep your roof looking new longer.
Last but not least is maintenance. If you're not the type of person to get up on your roof, or more importantly, it's not safe to do so, consider having your roof cleaned periodically by a professional cleaning company. If you can clean your roof, never use more water pressure than a garden hose, as pressure washers can damage your shingles. Don't let leaves, pine needles, or branches accumulate on your roof for long periods. Trim back tree branches and dead branches to increase sunlight and wind and enable your roof to dry faster. A properly maintained roof will keep it looking new much longer.