When it comes to investing in a new roof, you want to make sure you’re getting a great return. And there are many things to consider before you decide on which type of roof to install: from the upfront costs to the style, but even more importantly, you want your roof to last a long time.
Some lifespans mean you’ll need a new roof more than once during the time you own your home, but others will mean you get to set it and forget it forever. A typical residential roof will last between 15 to 30 years, but this can vary greatly depending on the material. So let’s find out how long a roof lasts on average by each type.
How Long Do Asphalt Shingles Last? — 10 to 50 Years
Asphalt shingles check all of the boxes—they’re affordable, easy to install, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing—which is why they are the most popular type of shingle used in the United States. Homeowners really can’t go wrong when it comes to installing asphalt shingles. They will give your home a nice refreshed look, boosting curb appeal and enhancing your home’s value. However, the one downfall is that they don’t last as long as other roofing materials.
With a lifespan of 10-50 years, depending on installation and maintenance, it’s not unheard of to have to replace your roof more than once throughout your home’s lifetime. But that doesn’t mean they’re a bad option. They often come with 25+ year warranties that can protect them from basic wear and tear and any unforeseen damage. Overall, asphalt shingles last around the national average for roofs and are a great option for any new or longtime homeowner looking to replace their roof.
How Long Does BUR Last? — 15 to 30+ Years
BUR or built-up roofing is primarily used for flat or low-slope roofs but is considered a great option for both residential and commercial properties. BURs are made up of alternating layers of reinforced and waterproofing fabric, materials, asphalt, and finishing with stone or gravel (something aggregate). BUR is the most commonly used type of roofing material on flat roofs due to its imperviousness to water.
Built-up roofing is relatively easy to install (although stinky due to the tar underlayment) and can be done relatively quickly and easily depending on the side of the building. BURs will last about as long as an asphalt shingle roof (15-30+ years), likely due to having similar materials, but can last 40 years or more with superb installation and maintenance.
How Long Does Clay Tile Roofing Last? — 50 to 100 Years
Clay tiles are one of the longest-lasting roofing materials to choose from. However, they aren’t ideal for every climate and are especially popular in the Southwest region of the United States in places like Arizona and Nevada. The terracotta clay tiles work well in dry desert climates and fit the area’s style but can last from 50 to 100 years!
Terracotta clay tiles are super durable and low-maintenance, and most come with warranties covering them for 30+ years. They do come with a hefty price tag right away, but that pays off big time as you will never have to replace your roof again. Plus, clay tiles can add a significant amount to your home’s resale value should you ever want to sell.
How Long Does Concrete Tile Roofing Last? — 50+ Years
Concrete tiles are incredibly durable—more so than just about any other material besides clay, its closest competitor. It is fireproof, insect-proof, and weather-resistant, withstanding winds up to 125+ miles per hour. Although they remain fairly low-maintenance, homeowners often express issues with moss or mildew growing in the cracks of the concrete tiles, particularly in wetter climates. So similar to clay tile roofs, concrete may work best in those drier, desert-like climates. Another added benefit is that you can get similar durability and lifespan with concrete tiles but at about half of the cost of installing clay tiles.
How Long Does A Green Roof Last? — 40 Years
A green roof is not incredibly common on your average home in the U.S. but more so on commercial buildings or large modern builds that have a flat roof area suit for a green roof installation. They are highly beneficial, especially in more urban populations, and over their 40-year lifespan, they can save the owner thousands of dollars due to their incredible energy-efficient capabilities.
Green roofs are basically a green space on a roof made up of plants that can provide extensive coverage over the surface, improving stormwater management, insulating the building, and even improving air quality. Green roofs have been found to collect up to80% of rainwater compared to only 24% in standard roofs. This water only helps to grow the plants on the roof and can be collected for gardening and helps create a home for bugs and birds in the area.
Not only that, but green roofs reduce the urban heat island effect (which re-radiates heat in large cities with lots of pavement). It also improves air quality, naturally insulates the building, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and extends the life of the roof that would otherwise be lost with other flat roof materials.
How Long Does Metal Roofing Last? — 70 years
Metal roofing is one of the most long-lasting roofing materials out there but can range greatly in both look and cost. For example, standing-seam metal roofs can run a lot cheaper, from $100 to $200 per square, which is why you might see them on very large barn-type or industrial-sized buildings. You’ll see stone-coated steel tiles or standing-seam copper panels on the far other ends of cost at around $900+ per square. Metal tiles are not only beautiful but incredibly low maintenance, and the high cost paired with the long lifespan definitely pays off very quickly.
How Long Does Rolled Roofing Last? — 5-10 Years
Rolled roofing is a roofing material applied in thin rolls using heat on the asphalt material to adhere to the roof. It is most common on low-incline roofs of commercial structures or residential apartment buildings and lasts the least amount of time out of all of the roofing materials. At just 5 to 10 years, rolled roofing will need to be closely monitored and replaced frequently to retain its ability.
People might choose to go with rolled roofing because it is incredibly affordable, easy to transport (very lightweight), easy to replace, and can be cut into whatever size or shape is needed very easily. Some downfalls are that it’s not exactly attractive and won’t boost curb appeal by any means. It’s also much less durable than shingles or other types of low-incline roofing material, and it won’t add much resale value to whatever structure it is installed. But for quick, easy replacement, it’s a prime option.
How Long Does Slate Roofing Last? — 100+ Years (wow!)
Slate tiles are often referred to as the “forever roof” because they can last seemingly forever. Their lifespan can be anywhere from 75 to hundreds, yes hundreds, of years. Thanks to slate being a natural metamorphic rock, it can withstand just about any weather throws at it. Slate tiles aren’t for everyone or every home, though. Their unique style is best suited for older-style homes that can both pull off the look of slate tiles and withstand the immense weight.
Structures may need to be re-enforced before installing slate. Their increased weight also makes installation more difficult, thus the increased cost of both labor and materials. They can range upwards of $1,500+ per square, making them the most expensive roofing material. However, because they last for 100+ years, it also comes with the greatest ROI of all the roofing materials.
How Long Does Synthetic Slate Last? — 50+ Years
A cheaper and more modern improvement on the centuries-old authentic slate shingles is synthetic slate. Synthetic slate shingles can last as long as the real thing but boost several added benefits. The synthetic material looks like the real thing but is much lighter, more durable and can withstand the wear of UV rays, better impact resistance, and are fully recyclable. And homeowners may find it costs less than its authentic counterpart, but not by a whole lot.
How Long Do Wood Shingles Last? — 20 to 30 Years
Yet another natural choice for a roof is wood. Wood shingles (or shakes) can come in a wide array of sizes, textures, colors, and types of wood. And shingles are a more clean-cut option, while cedarwood shakes are a little bit rougher but last a long time while also being both rot and insect-resistant. Wood shingles cost a mid-range around $200 to $600 per square, depending on the type of wood and the manufacturer.
Wood is a little more maintenance to upkeep and ensures they last for 30 or more years. They may require replacement more frequently and might need to be re-stained or painted a few times throughout their lifespan. But with that in mind, they are still a great choice for both the cost and durability.
As you can see, there is no shortage of amazing roofing materials out there, all lasting for a wide array of time. If longevity is what you’re looking for, you will find yourself paying more upfront costs but can sit back and relax, knowing your roof will last for as long as you own your home and even longer in some instances.
For more simple, budget-friendly roofs, there are just as many great options to choose from there. No matter what you choose to do, Gouge Roofing can help you get there. Our well-versed team can get you an estimate and a game plan to get your new roof installed in no time.