Homeowners have plenty of choices when it comes to roofing materials. An important thing to know when choosing among types of roofing materials is that the lifespan varies. Weigh this against the cost and the appearance of the material. For example, it might be more cost-effective to purchase an expensive roof with a longer life expectancy.

The Lifespan of Types of Roofing Materials

If you’re shopping for a roof for the long term, it’s helpful to understand the expected lifetimes of different materials. When installing a new roof, you want one that is going to last, is affordable, and that compliments the style of your home.

  • 3-tab asphalt shingles will last an average of 20 years.
  • Asphalt architectural shingles last between 30 and 50 years.
  • Wood shingles have a lifespan of 20 years.
  • Metal roofing lasts between 40 and 80 years.
  • Slate shingles and concrete or clay tiles have a lifespan between 60 and 150 years.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Roofing Materials

3-Tab Shingles

Many homes have 3-tab asphalt shingles that are durable, affordable, and easy to install. Typically, asphalt shingles last 20 years. Asphalt shingles are the least durable of the types of roofing materials.

Wind, heat, and storms can damage these shingles, which are not considered environmentally friendly because of the greenhouse emissions released by their production.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are similar to 3-tab shingles in durability and appearance. The addition of an extra tab makes these shingles both more durable and more aesthetically pleasing than standard 3-tab shingles. Premium options can last up to 40 years with proper care and maintenance.

Wood Shingles and Cedar Shake

Wooden shingles have been popular for hundreds of years, and homeowners still choose them today because of their natural beauty. Modern versions may be made from hardwood or wood composites. When shopping for roofing materials, cedar shakes are also an option. Shakes are hand split and have a more rustic appearance than tapered wooden shingles, making them ideal for historic homes.

Some cities ban wooden roofing options due to fire hazards. For maintenance, you will have to periodically apply fire retardants, preservatives, and fungicides to a wooden roof.

Metal Types of Roofing Materials

Homeowners who like an industrial look or want a longer-lasting roofing material should take a look at metal options. Modern metal roofs look great with many different architectural styles.

This type of roofing can be made from copper, aluminum, or steel, the latter of which is treated with a coating and paint to prevent rust. Aluminum panels are naturally resistant to rust, making them a better choice for humid environments. Metal is lightweight and relatively easy for a trained professional to install.


Along with the aesthetic appeal of slate, clay, and concrete, their durability is second to none. These tiles can last over 100 years. Homeowners who are shopping for a new roof can choose from the various tile designs and colors to suit their tastes and budget.

You most often see clay tiles, the least expensive of the tile options, used on Spanish villa-style buildings. Slate tiles cost more, both to buy and install. They also weigh more but are eco-friendly and will last up to 150 years. Before installing a tile roof, homeowners should consult with a structural engineer to determine that their home can support the weight of tile roofing.

Point Home Inspection offers home inspections to customers in Central Florida. Contact us to request an appointment.