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Survey of Best Roofing Materials

Which Materials Will Last the Longest?


CertainTeed Roof

CertainTeed's GrandManor™ Roofing Material on a Renovated House in Northville, Michigan

Copyright CertainTeed
Sometimes, it purely is a race between tortoise and hare: not who can go fastest but who can last the longest. And for many homeowners nervously contemplating four- and five-figure re-roofings, longevity looks pretty good.

Below are the best roofing materials in terms of longevity, counting down backwards:

7. Asphalt Roll

10 years.


Asphalt roll roofing is a piker: it's nothing more than roll-out roofing for your wood shed. Do not consider using it for your home.

6. Composite Shingles

15 to 50 years.


Longevity predictions for composite/asphalt shingles vary wildly because quality of this popular material varies wildly. Premium composite shingles from manufacturers like Owens Corning, GAF, or Certainteed come with accordingly high-end warranties pushing a half century. But watch out for cheap composite shingles that start to shed grains even in the first year.

5. Wood Shingles

25 years.


Wood is wood. And wood is prone to weathering. These shingles are thin, unlike wood shake shingles.

4. Sheet Metal

30 to 50 years.


Pre-formed metal roofing is mainstream now. After all, what can be stronger than metal overhead? But metal roofs are not for the average roofing company; make sure you contract with a company that specializes in metal roofing.

3. Wood Shake Shingles

35-40 years.


These thick wood shingles can last well over a quarter century, but you do need to baby them along with proper maintenance. There is no "set it and forget it" option for any kind of wood shingle.

2. Spanish Tiles

100 years.


Spanish tile roofs from the old California missions are still in service. Travel across Spain and South America and you will find even older Spanish tile roofs in reasonably good shape.

1. Slate

100+ years.


Slate is so durable it makes all other roofing materials look like rice paper. Slate roofs from Shakespeare's time are still holding tight. Slate is real stone, laid down thick on the roof. But adequate truss strength is required to hold up this heavy load.

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