Understanding Various Types of Roofing Materials and Their Expected Lifetimes

Sooner or later, every home owner is going to have to make decisions about the type of roofing materials to invest in. It may not be the most glamorous of tasks, but researching the best roofing materials can add many extra years to your roof. This is important for hot sunny locations, like Arizona, as well as rainy and snowy locations like the Northeast regions of the country.

There is an Irish adage which says, “There is no such thing as the wrong type of weather. There’s only the wrong type of clothing.” The same applies to your roof. Finding the perfect roofing materials for your unique needs, and the right contractor can add several additional years, if not decades, to your roof.

 Roofing type: Slate roofing

Ideal for: All weather types, especially cold or damp climates. Slate tiles on a pitched roof is the ideal roofing style for rainy or harsh climates.

Lifespan: 100+ years.

Benefits: There are buildings that are centuries old and still proudly displaying their slate roofs. This type of roofing material is suited to all weather types and is made to last.

Maintenance: Both your slate tiles and flashing should be in good order, and any damage or cracks to either should be repaired immediately.

 Roofing type: Clay roof tiles

Ideal for: Hot climates. When installed with a foam adhesive, clay tiles work well in windy regions.

Lifespan: 100 years.

Benefits: Clay roof tiles are the perfect choice for dry hot climates. Clay reflects the heat and keeps homes cool in extremely warm temperatures. They are an incredibly durable roofing material for any climate.

Maintenance: As with any roof tile, when it breaks you should replace it. While clay or terracotta has an extremely long natural lifespan, they are very brittle. Avoid walking on your clay tile roof as you may break the tiles. Add a layer of alkyd primer to prolong the lifespan of clay tiles.

 Roofing type: Metal roofing

Ideal for: Wet or tropical climates, windy regions.

Lifespan: 40 to 70 years.

Benefits: The new age of metal roofing is rust-resistant and waterproof, making it an ideal roofing seal in wet climates. Metal is eco-friendly and fireproof also. Metal resists algae, so has a durable lifespan when it comes to the elements in that regard. It can mainly be damaged by the types of extreme weather conditions which would damage any roof.

Maintenance: While metal roofing is more expensive to install, it requires very little maintenance. Periodically inspect the roofing to ensure no repairs are needed.

 Roofing type: Wood shake shingle roof

Ideal for: Most weather conditions.

Lifespan: 35 to 40 years.

Benefits: Better than standard wood shingles, the wooden shake shingle is cut directly from the log which adds to the longevity of this type of roofing material. They can better withstand weather elements and UV rays.

Maintenance: Wood roofing, in all its forms, requires continual maintenance. However, the longevity gained is worth the attention. Removing moss and debris will help to keep your wooden roofing in good condition for as long as possible. Wooden roofing materials should be treated to make them fire resistant.

 Roofing type: Composite shingle roofing

Ideal for: Cold and harsh conditions. Very versatile, they are suited to almost any weather conditions. Not advised for high wind regions.

Lifespan: 20 to 50 years, depending on the composition of materials.

Benefits: Composite shingles are mainly made from asphalt or fiberglass. They work as a cost-effective substitute for slate, but aren’t as durable. However, composite shingle roofs are cheap and easy to install, making them a very popular choice for any roof type.

Maintenance: Composite shingles require little or no maintenance once installed, except the usual occasional visual inspection. Replacing old or damaged shingles will keep the roof in good condition for longer.

 Roofing type: Modified asphalt shingle roofing

Ideal for: Windy regions, areas prone to hail.

Lifespan: 20 to 40 years, depending on the rubber composite used and how they’re installed.

Benefits: These asphalt shingles are modified with a rubber polymer for durability. Unlike regular asphalt shingles, the modified versions bend in high winds rather than tear, and are generally impact resistant. They are a cost effective roofing option for housing and are durable in most weather conditions.

Maintenance: They are a generally low-maintenance option. Regularly inspect the shingles for tears or damage. However, should you need to carry out maintenance, asphalt shingles are easy to replace.

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