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What Type of Roofing Material Lasts the Longest?

What Type of Roofing Material Lasts the Longest?

February 18, 2019
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Roofer

A roof is a very expensive investment, which is why if you are looking to replace your old one or build a completely new one, you will want to ensure it lasts as long as it possibly can. There are a wide variety of different factors though that affect how long a roof lasts.

There are many of these that are beyond your influence or control. Like the environment you are living or the local weather conditions. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that roofs that are exposed to less severe weather and temperature conditions will last longer than those that are.

That does not mean there aren’t things you can do to improve the longevity of your property’s roof. Things within your control include:

  • Maintenance – You can add considerably to your roof’s lifespan by carrying out regular inspections and maintenance.
  • Construction – Choosing experienced and qualified roofers can make a huge difference to how long a roof lasts, as a roof that has been constructed to a high standard will last longer than one that isn’t.
  • Design – The design can also play a big part in how long it lasts. As a rule of thumb, the more different elements and materials there are used in the construction of the roof, the greater the chance there is of damage.
  • Materials – As we are going to discuss, the materials used in the construction of a roof can have a huge effect on how long it lasts, or not.

Different Types of Roofing Materials and Which is the Longest Lasting

Roofer fixing

According to the National Association of Home Builders, slate is the roofing material that lasts the longest, with an average lifespan of 150 years or more. Slate is closely followed by concrete and clay with lifespans of around 100 years.

Although these statistics would suggest they are the perfect choice when planning work on your property’s roof, there are some downsides that need to be considered:

  • Slate, clay, and concrete are all premium-quality materials and are therefore very expensive. Although they will provide exceptionally high lifespans, the upfront cost may be too much for some budgets.
  • All three of these materials are heavier than alternatives (highlighted below), and as such, require sturdy support, increasing the overall cost.
  • Choice with regards to the aesthetics of concrete and clay tiles are limited. Even slate presents you with the option of just different grey tones. On the right building, this might look sophisticated and smart but could make the roof an eye-sore on more contemporary buildings.

Therefore, it may be worth considering alternative materials. According to the NAHB, suitable alternatives include:

  • Metal – Metal roofing can last around 40 to 80 years
  • Wood Shakes and Shingles – Although wooden roofs require a higher level of maintenance, they can last around 30 years or more with the right level of care and attention.
  • Asphalt Shingles – One of the most common materials used in roofing, especially in America, is Asphalt shingles and has an expected lifespan of 10 to 30 years.
  • Architectural Asphalt – This is a top grade of asphalt of around 30 years.

Obviously, the numbers and advice in this post are estimates and should only be used as guidance. It is best to discuss your options with the contractor you settle on to carry out the work on your roof.