Roofing is no tiny project, and it is bound to be a financial investment. Whether you are building a brand new roof or replacing an old one, you want to choose a roof material that is going to last long enough for you to get your money’s worth. Of course, the material alone is not enough to dictate how long it will last. There are factors, like where you live, maintenance, and the kind of weather your roof endures, that factors into your roof’s overall longevity.
Still, even if a roof material is guaranteed to last 100 years or longer, is it right for you? We’re going to answer that question while introducing you to the most durable and long lasting roof materials available.
Composite Asphalt Shingles
Found on 80% of homes in America, composite asphalt shingles are surprisingly durable. Asphalt shingles can be made of either organic materials or a fiberglass base and are covered in asphalt and slathered with reflective granules of schist, quartz, ceramics, and slate. Most composite asphalt shingles will last between 25-30 years, but cheaper types may only last 15 years. Consider investing money into architectural asphalt shingles, since some of them will have higher impact and wind ratings and lifespans of up to 50 years.
Wood Shake Roof
Not to be confused with the thinner wooden shingles, shakes are thicker, stronger, and slightly more expensive. They can last at least 40 years with proper maintenance. Wooden shakes are better against UV rays, resistant to moisture and pests, and can be treated to resist fire, too. There is one major disadvantage to wooden shakes—maintenance has to be consistent. Unlike other roofing materials on this list, wood shake roofs have to be babied. You can’t just install them and leave the roof alone like you can with asphalt shingles.
You will need to remove any debris as soon as you can, get rid of moss, and replace any broken or split shakes as soon as you can. Shakes may also cup, curl, and splinter.
Standing Seam Metal Roof
There are many kinds of metal roofs out there, but not all of them are as popular as standing seam metal roofs. These are an excellent choice for areas where wildfire is common. A standing seam refers to large panels of metal that are placed on the roof deck with the seams overlapping the ridges running vertically along the roof’s slope. All kinds of metals can be used, including copper, zinc alloy, aluminum, and steel.
It is estimated the metal roofing can last between 30-50 years, but seeing how standing seam metal roofing is still relatively new, more research is needed. In the best conditions, metal roofing may last up to 75 years. You can maximize lifespan by inspecting your panels and repairing them as needed.
Cement or Clay Tile Roofing
Clay tile roofs are common in the Southwestern states and throughout the Mediterranean and Europe—and for good reason. Clay and cement tiles are durable and resilient to all kinds of inclement weather. Traditionally, clay tiles were fabricated from terracotta, giving them a bright orange color, but you can see ceramic clay tiles crafted from fired clay and concrete on roofs throughout the world these days. No matter the material, clay or cement tile roofing consists of overlapping pieces. Both cement and clay have the same degree of durability. When properly installed and maintained, clay tile roofs can last 100 years or more.
Slate Tile Roofing
Did you know that there are some slate roofs in Europe that date back to Shakespeare’s time that are still functional? To get that kind of longevity takes maintenance, like replacing cracked tiles as soon as they form and switching out the flashings when they start to get tarnished. Still, slate has unmatched durability, and with its tendency to split into flat slabs naturally, it is ideal for roofing. Though it needs to be installed by certified craftsmen and is one of the most expensive materials for roofing around, slate will last several lifetimes.
As you can see, the top-rated roofing materials in terms of durability include clay, slate, and metal. While it might seem like a good idea to choose the most inexpensive materials when faced with the overall cost of roofing materials, it is always better to choose a roof that is going to protect your home and reduce your utility costs. Although slate, clay, and metal are pricier than asphalt, they last twice or three times as long and do a wonderful job of keeping your home protected throughout the years.
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