Architectural background. Texture of a metal roof tiles of black, blue and red colors.

A roof is no small investment, so whether you are building a new one or replacing an old one, you want it to last as long as possible. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to how long your roof will last. Some of these are outside your control, such as the weather and environment where you live. A roof that is regularly exposed to extremes of temperature or severe weather conditions will not last as long as one in a more temperate area. Industrial pollution will also have an adverse effect on roofing materials.

But there are things that you can control when it comes to roof longevity, and these include:

  • Design, the more elements there are to a roof, the greater the possibility of damage.
  • Construction, a well- constructed roof will keep your family warm and dry for years, so make sure you choose a reputable contractor.
  • Maintenance, regular check-ups, and maintenance of your roof will add decades to its lifespan.
  • And last but not least, our topic for today, materials.

The big question is, of course, what is the longest lasting roofing material?

The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) rates slate as by far the longest lasting roofing material, with a life expectancy of 150+ years, followed closely by clay and concrete at roughly 100 years. This would seem to make them the ideal choice if you’re planning a home to last for generations but there are drawbacks to these materials that you will need to consider:

  1. First, there’s the cost. These are premium materials and they come at premium prices. With such a long life-expectancy, they’ll provide value for money in the long term but the initial outlay is extremely high.
  2. Another problem is weight. All these materials are heavier than the alternatives and require very strong support, adding to the cost of construction. This is particularly true for slate, which is, after all, solid stone.
  3. Finally, there are aesthetic considerations. With clay tiles and concrete, your choice of color and appearance are very limited.  With slate, it’s reduced to choosing between shades of grey. This can look very elegant on the right building in the right setting but would look extremely out-of-place on most suburban homes.

So although clay, concrete, and slate are the most durable roofing materials, they might not necessarily right for you.

The next question on your mind is probably; How long will alternative roofing materials last?

This is what the NAHB has to say about the other options available:

  • Asphalt shingles – The most common roofing material in the U.S., these can be expected to last from 10 to 20 years, although products that have come on the market in recent years claim a life-expectancy of up to 50 years. This, however, remains to be seen.
  • Architectural Asphalt – A higher quality asphalt with an average lifespan of 30 years.
  • Wood shingles and shakes – wood roofing is high maintenance but, with the proper care and attention, should last 30 years or so.
  • Metal – metal roofing is expected to last from 40 up to 80 years.

Of course, these are only rough estimates and, as we stated before, roofs can be influenced by many factors. The best thing to do when choosing your roofing materials is to consult with your contractor about what is the most appropriate for your situation and budget.

Here at Ridgecon, we’ll help you choose what is best for you and your family, so contact us today with your roofing related inquiries and we’ll be happy to help.