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How Long Does a Roof Last?

Metal roofs last up to 50-70 years. Asphalt roofs last up 15-30 years. Slate last up to 50-200 years. Tile roofs last up to 50-100 years. Solar roofs last up to 25-30 years and wood shingle roofs last 25-80 years.

In this article we will breakdown each common roof material and it’s lifespan. We’ll also showcase each material and items to consider when picking the right roof material for your home.

Types of Roofs and Their Lifespan

Metal Roofing

A standing seam metal roof

Constructed from durable materials like steel or aluminum, the longevity of a metal roof largely hinges on its gauge, which refers to its thickness. A roof with a lower gauge implies a thicker and more robust panel, thereby providing increased protection.

Roofs with gauges between 22 and 24, considered the top-tier in metal roofing, are expected to offer half a century of reliable service. On the other hand, roofs with gauges from 25 to 29 typically guarantee about two decades of protection. It’s important to note that warranties usually start at 20 years, dependent on the materials used.

Standing Seam Metal

Standing seam metal roofs, characterized by mechanically seamed panels, have an advantage in thermal movement as they can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. These roofs can endure for 30 years or more if properly installed and accompanied by suitable attic ventilation. Under optimal conditions, their lifespan might even extend beyond 50 years.

Screw Down Panel Metal

Screw down panel metal roofs, or exposed fastener roofs, are named for their mode of installation, with screws and washers fastening the panels in place. Without maintenance, a screw down metal roof should survive about 20 years, but with regular upkeep, you might stretch it to 30 years.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

A complex dimensional asphalt shingle roof with multiple doormers

The roofing of a house is its first line of defense against the elements. For that reason, homeowners must choose wisely when deciding on the type of roof to install. Among the myriad of roofing options available, asphalt shingle roofing is the most prevalent, known for its affordability and practicality. However, understanding its lifespan and nuances will better equip homeowners in making informed decisions.

Three-Tab Asphalt Shingles

Three-tab asphalt shingles are the most basic and economical type of asphalt shingle. They are called “three-tab” due to the cutouts—tabs—along their lower edge, which makes a single shingle look like three separate pieces when laid on the roof. This design results in a flat, clean-lined appearance that suits various architectural styles.

In terms of durability, three-tab shingles generally offer a lifespan of 15 to 20 years under optimal weather conditions and with proper maintenance. They provide adequate protection against environmental elements but might not fare as well under severe weather conditions as other shingle types.

Dimensional Asphalt Shingles

Also known as architectural or laminated shingles, dimensional asphalt shingles are a step up from the basic three-tab shingles. They consist of two or more layers of shingles, lending a three-dimensional, textured appearance that mimics the look of authentic wood or slate shingles. This extra thickness contributes to their enhanced durability and aesthetic appeal.

Dimensional shingles tend to be heavier, more durable, and more resistant to wind uplift compared to three-tab shingles. They have a longer lifespan, typically between 25 to 30 years, and come with extended warranty periods reflecting their superior durability.

Luxury Asphalt Shingles

As the name suggests, luxury asphalt shingles also known as designer asphalt shingles are the top-tier option in the asphalt shingle category. They offer the highest level of durability and aesthetic appeal among asphalt shingles. Not only do they mimic high-end roofing materials like slate or cedar shakes, but they also provide maximum resistance against harsh weather conditions.

Luxury shingles are often multi-dimensional in design and thickness, providing a more authentic, rich, and stunning appearance. They are typically heavier than other shingles, contributing to their resilience against extreme weather. These shingles boast an impressive lifespan, often exceeding 30 years, depending on the climate and maintenance level.

Slate Tile Roofing

A Slate tile roof being installed on a concrete home

Slate tile shingles, known for their elegant and distinctive appearance, are crafted from natural stone. They offer a unique blend of aesthetic appeal and robustness. Noteworthy for their fire-resistance and suitability for diverse climates, they come with the caveat of high weight, necessitating a strong structural foundation. Nonetheless, they provide a timeless, refined look that enhances a home’s charm.

Natural Slate

Natural slate stands out for its unique texture, color, and longevity. Known for its high resistance to environmental damage, it’s heavy and requires strong structural support. This roofing type has a lifespan of 100 to 200 years, justifying its higher upfront cost with minimal repair or replacement needs.

Hard Slate

Hard slate is a premium slate roofing material offering unmatched lifespan and durability. Withstanding the elements for 150 to 200 years, hard slate’s resilience makes it worth its higher cost. It’s a prime choice for long-term homeowners and those who appreciate its unique aesthetic.

Soft Slate

Soft slate offers a balance between cost-effectiveness and durability. Lasting 50 to 125 years, it’s a more affordable yet long-lasting slate option. Soft slate’s varied colors and textures offer homeowners a natural look that fits more budget ranges.

Synthetic Slate

Synthetic slate mimics natural slate’s look but is more lightweight and cost-effective. These tiles, made from rubber, plastic, or clay, typically have a longevity of 20 to 50 years. They are less expensive and easier to install and maintain, making them a practical choice for a broader range of homes.

Tile Roofing

A Barrel style tile roofing being installed on a home.

Tile roofing, particularly clay and concrete variants, offers a distinct, Mediterranean-inspired aesthetic that’s both striking and versatile. Clay tiles, naturally colored by the earth, exude a classic charm, while concrete tiles offer the advantage of customization, including a wide array of colors and styles. Their thermal properties make them energy-efficient, providing an added layer of insulation to homes, while their durability promises longevity.

Clay Tile

Clay tile stands out with its vibrant, distinctive color and energy-efficiency, making it a cost-effective choice. These roofs resist weather and fire, require minimal maintenance, and offer customization options. With easy repair ability and a lifespan of over 50 years, clay tile roofing offers a balance of aesthetics, functionality, and durability.

Concrete Tile

Concrete tile roofing is known for its versatility and strength. Available in flat, low-profile, and high-profile styles, these tiles can mimic the look of other materials like stone, slate, wood, and clay. Concrete tiles can be painted in various colors, complementing your home’s aesthetic. Made from water, sand, and cement, they provide a sturdy roofing solution with a long lifespan.

Wood Shingles

Wood Shingle Tiles up close

Wood shingles, especially those made of cedar, teak, or wallaba, provide a rustic and natural aesthetic to any home. They are popular choices for cottages, Tudor style homes, and cabins for their warmth and charm. Beyond their beauty, wood shingles offer inherent protection against insects and rot, adding functionality to their appeal. They serve as an ideal choice for those desiring a roof that is as practical as it is visually captivating.

Cedar Shingles

Cedar shingle roofing, popular for its natural beauty and aging quality, offers unique protection against insects and rot. It requires annual inspection to ensure the roof’s integrity, but with proper care and maintenance, it can last for 30 to 50 years or more. Its aesthetic appeal combined with its functional longevity makes cedar a worthy investment, especially for cottage owners and wood cabin enthusiasts.

Wallaba Shingles

Wallaba wood shingles are an excellent choice for those seeking durability and a natural look. With their high density, they are resilient to weather conditions, insect attacks, and decay. If properly maintained, Wallaba shingles can easily survive the elements for 35 to 60 years, outlasting many traditional materials.

Teak Shingles

Teak shingle is another exceptional choice due to its longevity and beauty. Known for its high oil content, teak is water-resistant and incredibly durable, making it ideal for roofing applications. With proper maintenance, you can expect a teak shingle material to have a life of between 50 to 80 years, making it a long-term investment for homeowners.


Choosing the right roofing material is crucial. Long-term homeowners might opt for durable materials like slate, while budget-conscious homeowners could favor asphalt shingles. Considerations like home style, neighborhood aesthetic, and local weather conditions are also essential.

For a unique, heat-resistant option, clay or concrete tiles can be a fantastic choice. If a natural, aging gracefully charm is your preference, wood shingles might be the way to go.

Remember, your roof is not just about cost and durability. It’s about complementing your home’s style, fitting in with the neighborhood, and withstanding the local climate. The perfect roof can elevate your home’s appeal and provide reliable protection for many years.