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How Long Do Roofs Last? (Every Type of Roof Discussed)

A collage of different types of roofing.

The length of time your roof will last has a lot to do with the type of material used on the roof and the climate in your region. Not all roof types have the same aesthetic and life expectancy; some are tailor-made for particular conditions. Our discussion of the various roof types and how long they last will give you a good reference point for deciding on the best roof to use on your home.

How long a roof lasts depends on the roofing material used in the construction of the roof. Various roofing materials have different lifespans, costs, advantages, and disadvantages, which must all be weighed before a decision is made for the best roofing material choice for your home.

The roof on your home adds to the overall look, style, and feel of your home, making it as much part of the visual appeal of your home as the structural engineering. Since the roof is a large part of the investment in your home, choosing a roof that lasts a long time is key to the long-term protection of your home and limiting ongoing maintenance costs.

Related To: Parts of a Roof | Hip Roof Types | What is a Hip & Valley Roof? | Types of Roof Trusses | Types of Roof OverhangsWhat is a Bonnet Roof | Parts of a Roof Truss | What is a Parapet Roof? | What is a Clerestory Roof? | What is a Gable Roof?

How Long Do Different Roof Types Last?

Ancient Chinese building with hip-and-gable roof style.

Choosing the right roof type for your conditions will extend the roof’s life, limit maintenance and add value to your home.

Even if you have multiple roof options suitable for your climate conditions, understanding how long each roof type lasts will give you a better picture of the maintenance required to keep the roof in good shape.

Everyone wants to find a cost-effective roofing solution for their homes, but cost should not be the only factor that drives the choice of roof covering type for our homes.

The following aspects of different roof types are important in the decision-making process for the best roof for your home:

  • Durability. The durability of the roofing material will determine ongoing costs.
  • Aesthetics. Does the roof type fit with the design of your home and the general neighborhood look?
  • Climate suitability. Climate can be a primary driving factor in the decision on a roof type. High winds, hot sun, dry or humid conditions, snow, and hail should be considered when selecting a roofing material.
  • Insulation. Controlling the internal environment in the home can save money on energy costs for heating and cooling in the home and affect the overall comfort indoors.
  • Cost. Cost is one of the factors that should be considered, but choose the best roofing material for your budget; it will pay off in the long run.

Historically, the roofing material choices were limited, but with advances in roof types, we have a vast array of materials we can choose from to adorn our homes. Modern roofing materials allow us to choose many roof-covering styles but select a long-lasting material that presents a better investment for our homes.

Many roof types have various material options that allow selecting an aesthetic that suits the architecture of our home and neighborhood without compromising durability.

We will lay out how long various roof types last, the main characteristics of each type, and the variations in the material in each roof style to help you make the right choice for your home.

How Long Do Shingle Roofs Last?

Modern house with shingle roofing.

Shingle roofs have been used for roofing for a long time and are typically associated with wood shingles, but the term can also apply to shingles made from other materials.

Traditionally, shingles were made out of whatever material was most readily available for the homeowner, mostly wood, which led to the association of wood with the term “shingles.”

The name “shingles” is derived from the German word “Schindel,” which means roof slate, indicating the difference in meaning between cultures.

Shingle roofs have a very specific look; they are typically smaller than tiles and lend a textured, patterned aesthetic to the roof.

Shingles are installed from the bottom edge of the roof, progressing up towards the roof peak, with the shingles overlapping each other.

The type of shingle material must be considered before the shingles are laid since different materials require a different roof structure. Some shingles can be laid directly on the laths supported by the rafters, such as slate shingles.

Other shingle types, such as wood shingles, require a flat base layer such as a wood board or plastic sheeting to prevent leaks from driving rain, and where snow or ice can create pools of water on the roof as it melts, resulting in leaks in the roof.

The weight of the shingles must be taken into account in the design of the roof. Slate shingles are heavier than wood shingles, requiring a more robust roof structure to carry the weight of the roof material.

These design considerations mean that you may not be able to change the shingle material on your roof without making the necessary adjustments to the engineering design of the roof.

Shingle roofs usually require a steep pitch, which creates a larger roof area, which increases the cost of covering the roof. The minimum slope required by most building codes for shingle roofs is 4/12, but the preferred slope is between 5/12 and 12/12.

Shingles can be made from a variety of materials that have different levels of durability. The most common shingle types are as follows:

  • Wood
  • Organic asphalt
  • Fiber asphalt
  • Stone
  • Fiber cement

Organic materials such as wood and organic asphalt shingles are becoming less common due to these materials being more of a fire risk for homes than the other materials. Certain building codes no longer allow these natural material shingles for roofing.

How Long Do Shingle Roofs Last?
Shingle Type Lifespan Cost Maintenance level
Wood Shingles 30 years $7.30 to $11.60 per square foot (Cedar) High
Organic Asphalt shingles 20 years $4.25 to $8.25 per square foot High
Fiber Asphalt shingles 50 years $7.25 to $12.25 per square foot Moderate
Stone shingles 100 years $12.00 to $22.00 per square foot Low
Fiber cement (composite) shingles 25 years $7.50 to $13.00 per square foot Moderate
Rubber shingles 40 years $4.25 to $8.25 per square foot Moderate

How Long Do Metal Roofs Last?

A man installing a metal roof.

Metal roofing materials are available in a variety of forms, from metal sheets to corrugated metal, tiles, and metal shingles, with various coatings to create the required aesthetic for the roof.

One of the most outstanding features of metal roof products is the material’s durability, which translates to a roof with a longer lifespan.

Metal is becoming a popular roof material because it can be made to look like almost any roofing material while retaining the many benefits of the durability of metal. This makes metal roofing a versatile, durable choice.

The benefits of metal roofing material:

  • Fire resistance. Metal roofs are some of the most fire-resistant roofing materials available, making them the best roofing material in high fire-risk zones.
  • Storm resistance. Metal roofs can be fastened more securely to the roof structure to be more wind resistant. Metal roofs can hold more snow and ice weight and are hail-proof. Most metal roofs can withstand winds of up to 140MPH.
  • Cooler in warm climates. Metal roofs keep the home cooler inside in warm climates, lowering the energy bills for cooling.
  • Versatile. Metal roofing material can the transformed to resemble almost any roofing material, making it suitable for a wide range of home designs.
  • Lightweight. Metal roofing is generally lighter than many other roofing materials, requiring less structural engineering in the roof design. This makes for a lower cost overall for the roof.
  • Cost-effective. Metal roofs can be cheaper than many other traditional roof types, making them an option worth considering for your budget. Certain metal roof types can be quite costly, but the majority of the metal types are affordable for most homeowners.
  • Eco-friendly. Metal roofs do not contaminate the environment and can be recycled when the roof is removed.
  • Low maintenance. Most metal roofs require less maintenance than other roofing types, except for some metal roof types in coastal regions or high-humidity climates.

As with other roof materials, metal roofs can be manufactured from a wide range of materials and designs, which vary in durability and cost.

Metal roofs can be finished with paint, and various coatings, such as stone or asphalt, or left in their bare metal state.

One of the common disadvantages of metal roofs is how loud they can be in a heavy rain storm or a hail storm. However, the correct in-ceiling insulation can dampen much of the sound from these weather conditions.

Many metal roof types do not require any specialized underlayer materials to improve waterproofing, which reduces the time taken to install the roof and the costs associated with the installation.

Plastic sheeting is generally sufficient as an underlayment material to provide waterproofing at the joints, overlapping, or fastenings of the sheets, tiles, or shingles.

Metal roofs can be used in almost any climate conditions, but they suffer the most damage from corrosion in coastal regions and high-humidity locations.

The most common metal roof types are as follows:

  • Zinc roofs
  • Tin roofs
  • Corrugated metal roofs
  • Copper roofs
  • Aluminum roofs
  • Standing seam roofs
  • Metal tile
  • Metal shingles

Each of these metal roofing types has a difference in price point and the roof’s expected lifespan. The metal roof types that use large sheets are typically quicker to install, reducing labor costs and contributing to a cheaper installation cost.

Longevity Of Metal Roof Types
Metal roof type Lifespan Cost Per Square Foot Level Of Maintenance
Zinc 40 years $5.65 to $11.00 Low
Tin 70 years $3.00 to $15.00 Low
Corrugated metal 45 years $3.50 to $6.50 Moderate – must be treated against rust
Standing seam 30 years $8.00 to $14.00 Low
Aluminum 40 years $2.20 to $4.05 Low
Copper 100 years $14.10 to $25.40 Moderate
Metal tile 50 years $5.25 to $12,50 Low
Metal shingle 30 years $5.00 to $12.00 Low

Copper roofs are some of the most durable roof types available, but the price is significantly higher than most other roof types. However, a copper roof will probably outlast the homeowner if you have the budget to install this roof type.

Copper roofs can oxidize within about 20 years if left untreated, giving the roof a green appearance. To maintain the original coppery sheen, the roof is treated with a clear lacquer coat, which needs to be re-applied periodically.

Metal roof tiles often have textured coatings to resemble other roof tile designs and give the appearance of a tiled roof without the noise typically associated with other metal roof types.

Many people confuse tin and zinc roofs, but the distinction is that tin roofs are metal roofing materials with a layer of tin to protect the metal from corrosion. Zinc roofs are a metal of their own that is naturally resistant to corrosion from moisture.

Metal roofs do a great job of keeping a home cooler in hot climates because the metal has a lower mass that does not absorb as much heat, and the metal reflects much of the heat rather than absorbing it. This reduces the energy required to cool the house in summer.

Metal roofs are less desirable in climates with cold winters because they absorb less heat from the winter sun, making it more costly to heat the home in winter.

How Long Do Slate Roofs Last?

An artisan installing a slate roof.

Slate is a natural roofing material made from a fine-grained rock cut into smooth flat sheets, producing an extremely durable roofing material. The nature of the rock grain makes it relatively easy to split along the longitudinal plane into thin sheets.

Slate roofing can be manufactured from sedimentary rock or rock produced from compressed volcanic ash. Both rock materials are equally fine-grained and produce a quality roof and an aesthetically pleasing finish on the roof.

Slate offers several advantages as a roofing material:

  • Slate is a good electrical insulator. This quality makes the roof a good choice in areas prone to lightning strikes.
  • Fireproof. Slate does not burn, making this roof useful in forested areas where fires are a constant threat.
  • Low maintenance. Slate has one of the lowest maintenance factors of any roofing material because of its durability.
  • Environmentally friendly. Slate is a natural product that produces no ecologically dangerous waste in its manufacture. When it has served its purpose as a roof, it can be returned to the environment without causing contamination.
  • Highly energy efficient. Slate keeps your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter because it does not absorb heat easily due to the density of the material.
  • Climate-resistant. Slate is impact resistant, making it durable against hail. The weight of the material makes it more wind-resistant than other materials and not easily blown off. The strength of the material makes it able to withstand the weight of snow accumulation.
  • A slate roof adds value to your home. A slate roof looks good, is low maintenance, and is durable, making it an investment that will increase the value of your home.
  • A slate roof looks good. Slate can be used to add beauty to various architectural designs, complimenting and enhancing the visual appeal of the home.
  • Durability. The durability of slate as a roofing material is its most attractive feature for many homeowners.

As with any building and roofing material, slate also has some negative aspects which detract from its advantages.

The disadvantages of a slate roof are few but significant:

  • A slate roof is heavy. Slate is rock, which is a naturally heavy material. The weight of slate tiles will require a specially designed, reinforced roofing structure to support the weight of the slate material. This contributes to increasing the design and installation costs of the home. It also means that a roof designed for other materials must be re-engineered to accept slate.
  • Slate can crack easily. If weight is not distributed evenly across the slate tiles, such as someone walking on the roof, the tiles crack easily and will require replacement.
  • A slate roof is expensive. Slate tiles look good, but they are one of the most expensive roofing materials you can use on a home. While this cost can be offset against the lower maintenance and longer lifespan of the material, for many homeowners, the initial costs are simply too high.

The aesthetic value of slate as a roofing material has led to various products being manufactured that look like slate but have a lower financial impact on the building project.

Synthetic slate is made with a combination of various plastics and rubber. Some manufacturers use various other synthetic materials in combination with plastic and rubber.

While synthetic slate is not made from eco-friendly products, it can be made by recycling rubber and plastic, a valuable way of reusing non-eco-friendly materials.

The advantages of synthetic slate over authentic slate are that it is lighter, requires less engineering in the roof structure, is easier to install, and is significantly cheaper than real slate.

Synthetic slate does not crack as easily as real slate, and it has the same longevity as the natural material.

How Long Does A Slate Roof Last?
Slate roof type Lifespan Cost Per Square Foot Level Of Maintenance
Natural slate 100 years $10.00 to $25.00 Very low
Synthetic slate 100 years $10.00 to $15.00 Very low

Even though synthetic slate is cheaper to install than natural slate, it is still comparatively more expensive than many other roof materials.

How Long Do Thatched Roofs Last?

A cabin in the woods with thatched roof.

Thatch is a roofing material with the longest history of all the roof material types. Thatch has been used for thousands of years as a roofing material and is still a popular material in our modern age.

Thatch adds an old-world look to a structure and conjures up images of old taverns in England or dwellings in Africa. Using the right material for a thatch roof can result in a surprisingly durable roof!

Thatch is a natural roofing material that can be made from several plants. Straw, reeds, and palm branches are common thatch materials, but robust regional grass species are the most popular.

The regional grasses used for thatching are usually tall grass species with robust, woodier stems that lend structure and insulating properties to the roof.

Thatched roofs are waterproof due to how tightly packed the material is when installed and the thickness of the layers placed on the roof. The high roof pitch required on thatch roofs also promotes fast water runoff, limiting the water’s penetration into the material.

Although thatching has a rustic, rural connotation, it is considered an exotic roofing material in modern society and is often seen as a display of affluence by homeowners.

Historically, thatch is a roofing material of convenience, where people found natural materials close at hand that provided a cheap and effective means of roofing their dwellings.

Modern thatching techniques are vastly improved over old methods and offer a good roofing option for certain climates. That is typically a suitable roof material in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates. It is a favored material in hot, dry climates due to its insulating properties.

The material used in thatch roofs is a good insulator itself, but the structure also traps air in the layers of thatching, which further promotes the excellent insulating properties of this type of roof.

Thatch keeps the interior of the home cooler on hot days and keeps the heat indoors on colder days, making it an energy-efficient roof type.

Thatch roofing has several benefits:

  • Excellent insulation. Very good insulation is one of the most beneficial aspects of thatch roofing. This reduces cooling and heating energy costs for the home.
  • Good acoustic insulation. That is an excellent sound-dampening material, reducing noise from overhead aircraft, road noise from traffic and limiting sound from inside the home bothering neighbors.
  • Thatch is lightweight. Thatch is a very lightweight roofing materials and does not require specially engineered roof structures. This benefit helps reduce installation costs.
  • Thatch is eco-friendly. Most modern thatch materials are harvested sustainably; the material is bio-degradable and does not contaminate the environment.
  • Durable. Thatch can be a durable roof material if installed and maintained properly, lasting as long as many other roofing materials.

Thatch roofing is popular in many regions worldwide, but there are some disadvantages to this roofing material that may dissuade homeowners from choosing this roof type:

  • Specialized skills are required for thatching. Thatching is a specialized skill that not all roofing contractors are capable of installing. This increases the cost and the risk since a poorly installed thatch roof will result in many expensive repairs.
  • High installation costs. Thatch is relatively expensive to install due to the labor costs and the specialized skills required.
  • High insurance costs. Insurers will often charge higher insurance premiums because of the higher risk of damage to the home due to fire and other risk factors.
  • Thatch requires more frequent maintenance. Thatch requires more frequent maintenance than many other roof types, which increases the long-term costs of this type of roofing. Inspections must be performed annually, and the ridge cap may need to be replaced every 5 years. The thatch will also need to be combed every 5 years to maintain its good looks.
  • Prone to pest infestation and damage. Thatch can become infested with insect pests as well as damaged by local wildlife that views the material as an ideal shelter and nesting material.
  • Allergenic. People with grass allergies may find living under a thatch roof difficult. The grass fibers and dust particles can exacerbate respiratory problems such as asthma.
  • Installation time. Installation for a thatch roof can take between 2 and 4 weeks, which is significantly longer than most other roofing materials.
  • Higher fire risk. Thatch is not as flammable as you may think, but it is a higher risk than many other roofing materials.
  • A high pitch roof is required for thatch. Fast rain runoff is necessary on a thatch roof to prevent the material from becoming soaked through and developing leaks or causing mold or rot. A pitch of at least 12/12 or a 45° angle is a building requirement for these roof types.
How Long Does A Thatch Roof Last?
Thatch roof material Lifespan Cost Per Square Foot Level Of Maintenance
Water reed 65 years $25.00 to $30.00 High
Wheat reed 40 years $18.00 to $25.00 High
Grass thatching and straw 25 years $15.00 to $18.00 High

Is A Thatch Roof A Fire Risk?

Most homeowners consider the fire risk of thatch to be its biggest disadvantage. Is this a reality or a perception; how flammable is a thatch roof?

Most insurance reports show that a thatch roof is no more flammable than most other roof types. However, if the thatch roof does ignite, the damage to the home is more substantial than with other root types.

Thatch roofs are generally treated with a fire retardant to further reduce the fire risk, but this fire treatment may need to be repeated every few years to maintain its effectiveness.

Thatch roofs in regions that experience heavy thunderstorms are at risk of being struck by lightning. The intensity of a lightning strike would be sufficient to ignite the thatch. For this reason, thatch roofs in these locations must have a lightning conductor installed close to the home.

The lighting conductor is a tall pole that extends above the height of the roof and will attract a lightning strike that would otherwise strike the roof. The high voltage charge from the lightning strike is then directed safely into the earth.

The most common cause of fires in thatch roofs is poorly maintained chimneys and flues in wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Sparks landing on the thatch from these structures can result in a fire.

Recent entrants in the thatch roofing market are synthetic thatch materials, which address many of the disadvantages of thatch but retain the rustic appeal of natural thatch.

How Long Do Tile Roofs Last?

Old city building with tile roofing.

Roof tiles have a long history, beginning in China in 10 000 BC when kiln-dried clay tiles became a popular roofing material in the region.

The use of roof tiles spread to Europe, and European immigrants transferred the preference to the USA in the 1600s. Dutch and Spanish immigrants were the main influencers that spread the tile roof trend across the USA.

Tiles are installed on a roof in overlapping parallel rows, with the tiles at the bottom edge of the roof laid down first and the tiles at the ridge or peak of the roof installed last. The overlapping of the tile rows improves the waterproofing of the roof.

In most cases, modern tiled roofs will also have a plastic underlayer to provide additional waterproofing protection for the timber structure of the roof.

Roof tiles can be made from various materials, but the most popular are clay roof tiles and cement roof tiles.

Clay tiles are made by molding clay to the desired shape and form, coloring the clay, and firing the tile at various temperatures to gain various tile densities and strengths. The most common clay roof tile color is terra-cotta, which works very well with homes designed in the Spanish style.

Clay tiles do not need to be painted since the firing process bonds the color into the clay material, which prevents the color from fading.

The density of clay tiles means they do not absorb moisture and are less susceptible to discoloration, mold, and mildew development.

Clay tiles are relatively light, reducing the need for specially engineered roofing support structures to support the clay tiles on the roof.

The climate best suited for clay tiles is hot regions with very little temperature fluctuations. Drastic temperature changes can cause clay tiles to crack and break.

In contrast, cement tiles are heavier and more porous than clay tiles. The weight of cement tiles requires structurally engineered roofing designs to support the weight of the tiles. The porous nature of the cement results in the susceptibility to the development of mildew, staining, discoloration of the tiles, and fading of the tile color.

Cement tiles are typically poured into molds and air or kiln-dried. They are quick to manufacture, with relatively few complicated processes in the manufacturing, which keeps the costs low.

Cement roof tiles can be sealed to lower the tiles’ mildew, discoloration, and fading characteristics, but this will increase the installation cost.

Clay Vs. Cement Roof Tiles
  Clay Tiles Cement Tiles
Weight Light Heavy – 40% heavier than clay tiles – required engineered roof support.
Durability Very durable Less durable
Water absorption 6%

Less mildew and discoloration

13%

More mildew and discoloration

Maintenance Low Moderate
Climate suitability Warm or hot climates with minimal temperature fluctuations. Suitable for any climate
Color durability Does not fade Fades quickly

Tile roofs, whether clay or cement, has several useful advantages:

  • Versatility. Tiles can be molded to almost any shape, making them suitable for roof designs with many angles, facets, curves, and shapes.
  • Durability. Clay tiles are more durable than cement tiles, but both types offer good longevity to lower the initial investment.
  • Climate-resistant. Tile roofs provide excellent durability against rain, hail, snow, ice, and wind.
  • Tile roofs are energy-efficient. Tile roofs can lower your energy costs to heat and cool your home. A saving of up to 20% on these costs can be achieved with a tile roof.
  • Wide color range. The color range of roof tiles allows for color coding the roof with walls or creating multi-color designs on the roof itself.
  • Fire-resistant. Tile roofs do not burn. They may crack in the heat of a fire, but they will not ignite and be the cause of a fire.
  • Easy to install. Most roofing companies have the skills to install tile roofs since no specialized training or knowledge is required.
  • Sustainability. The materials used to manufacture roof tiles do not deplete any rare or threatened natural resources.
  • No corrosion. Tiles do not corrode in high humidity and coastal climates, making them a popular roofing material in these regions.

Tile roofs have many advantages, which are evidenced by the popularity of this roof type, but they also have some disadvantages which may factor into the decision-making for some homeowners:

  • Not suitable for all roof pitches. Interlocking tiles can be fitted on a roof with a pitch of 15° or 2/12, but standard tiles generally must have a roof pitch of 25° to 30° or 3/12 to 4/12 pitch. A roof with a steeper pitch is generally not suitable for tiles. Shingles are a better choice in this case.
  • Weight. Roof tiles are heavy, with some tiles requiring specially designed roof structures to support the weight. The tiles are also heavy for the installers.
  • High cost. The tile roof cost is relatively high compared to some other roofing materials.
  • Tiles can be brittle. Some tiles can be brittle, which can result in broken or damaged tiles if the installation is not performed correctly. Clay tiles have this issue, while cement tiles are more robust in this aspect.

One of the main advantages of a tile roof is the product’s longevity, especially with clay roof tiles. Clay tiles can be expected to last more than 100 years, with little maintenance required. Cement roof tiles do not last as long, but the lifespan is still long enough to warrant the cost of the material.

How Long Does A Tile Roof Last?
Tile roof material Lifespan Cost Per Square Foot Level Of Maintenance
Clay tile 100 years $7.00 to $10.00 Low
Cement tile 45 years $4.00 to $9.00 Moderate

How Long Do Rubber Roofs Last?

Building roof top with flat rubber roofing.

Rubber roofing may not sound like a particularly appealing roofing material for your home, but it can provide a surprisingly good slate-like look with some very beneficial properties.

The most popular method of using rubber roofs on a residential home is in the form of rubber tiles, but the roof can also be installed in sheets if the slope of the roof makes the material less visible.

The rubber roof material in sheets or rolls is often referred to as membrane roofing and is mostly used in flat roofs on industrial and commercial buildings rather than residential homes.

Rubber roofs are typically used on structures with low-pitch roofs because of the superior waterproofing of this roofing material. Where other roof materials have problems with leaks at seams and joins on a low-pitch roof, rubber roofing excels at solving these issues.

Rubber roofing is made from rubber, plastic, sawdust, and slate dust in various combinations to produce different rubber roofing materials. The most common rubber roofing materials are EPDM, TPO, and PVC.

The main advantages of rubber roofs:

  • Rubber roofs are weather-resistant. Rubber roofing is resistant to cracking in hot and cold temperatures and can withstand hail that would seriously damage other roof types. It has good wind resistance, especially when installed in sheet form.
  • Easy and quick installation. Rubber roof sheets are quick and easy to install and do not require specialized skill sets. The shingle or tile version of rubber roofing must be nailed to the roof structure like other shingle materials would be fixed to the roof.
  • Durable. Rubber roof tiles do not break when walked on to clean gutters or perform maintenance.
  • Low maintenance. Rubber roofs have very low maintenance, and if tiles or sheets need repairs, they are easily performed with a latex-based sealant.
  • Rubber roofs are fire-resistant. Rubber roofing material is impregnated with fire-retardant chemicals to make the tiles a low-risk roofing material for roof structures.
  • Rubber roofs are cost-effective. Rubber roofing is durable, effective, and reasonably priced.

Despite these advantages, rubber roofs are unsuitable for all roof types and designs due to several disadvantages:

  • Limited color options. Rubber roofing is generally grey or black. There is very little option for color variations in the product.
  • Industrial look. The rubber sheeting may be functional, but it has an industrial look that is unsuitable for all house designs. The rubber tile option has a better aesthetic appeal since it adds texture to the roof surface.
  • Limited installers. Most rubber roof installers are commercial roofing specialists rather than residential roofers, mostly due to the lack of visual variety for the residential market. This may make it difficult to find an installer in your area capable of installing rubber roofs on homes.

Rubber roofs offer a durable, long-lasting roofing solution, but the lack of variety for the residential market has resulted in low popularity for this roofing material.

How Long Does A Rubber Roof Last?
Tile roof material Lifespan Cost Per Square Foot Level Of Maintenance
Rubber tiles 50 years $4.25 to $8.25 Low

How Long Do Solar Roof Tiles Last?

Modern houses with solar tile roof.

Most homeowners are familiar with solar panels installed on top of the original roofing material. Advancements in solar panel technology have allowed the manufacture of solar shingles, which have the flexibility of being installed on top of existing roof materials or instead of traditional roof materials!

Solar roof shingles or tiles allow homeowners to combine their roofing budget with their solar panel budget and install a roofing material that performs both functions.

Solar tiles are small, slimline photovoltaic panels designed to replace traditional roofing material. They are much smaller than standard, bulky, unsightly solar panels, and in some designs, it is difficult to see that these tiles are solar panels.

These new solar roof tiles allow homeowners to use solar energy for their homes without compromising on the visual appeal of their roofing material.

Some solar tiles are made from a flexible semiconductor, giving the tile the flexibility to be fitted over curves, ridges, and corners on the roof.

Other solar tiles are made from a combination of steel tiles and glass-covered PV cells. This version is more rigid and is best suited for roofs with straight lines rather than curves.

Solar tiles provide excellent insulation since they do not allow the sun’s rays to pass through the material and into the home. The rays are absorbed and converted to electrical energy. This helps to keep the home cool in summer and warm in the winter, making your home more energy efficient.

The climate where solar tiles would make the most sense is where sunshine is abundant. While the tiles can withstand a wide range of climates, they may not be practical for energy generation where the sunshine hours are insufficient.

The benefits and advantages of solar roofs are as follows:

  • Roofing and solar budget can be combined. Combining the roofing budget and the solar budget to install solar tiles will provide an effective roof covering while offering a roof that can generate electricity for your home.
  • Weather-resistant. Solar tiles are built to withstand outdoor conditions in all climates. The tiles can handle the weight of snow and ice, and the specialized glass will withstand hail.
  • Solar tiles look better than solar panels. Solar tiles fit in with the lines and design of the home better than large traditional solar panels fitted on the roof.
  • Lifespan. Solar tiles are made to be robust and handle all climate conditions, and offer a lifespan comparable with many other roofing materials.
  • Easy maintenance. No painting or periodic coatings are needed. Solar tiles are also easier to maintain than traditional solar panels.

Solar tiles have some disadvantages that mostly affect the electrical generation efficiency of the tiles:

  • Solar tiles cannot be tilted. Solar panels cannot be tilted to an optimal angle for the sun’s rays but have to follow the roof’s slope. This can affect the efficiency of the solar tiles in electricity production.
  • Limited color options for solar tiles. The requirement for the tiles to be clear to generate power limits the color variations available. Essentially the available colors are only dark colors, usually black, grey, or dark blue.
  • Cost-effective only if you are building a new roof. Solar tiles are only a cost-saving if you install a new roof or need to completely replace your original roofing material.
  • Cost. Solar tiles are more expensive than standard solar panels, but they are not the most expensive option as a roofing material.
How Long Does A Solar Tile Roof Last?
Tile roof material Lifespan Cost Per Square Foot Level Of Maintenance
Solar tiles 30 years $21.00 to $25.00 Low

Solar tiles are a good option for homeowners that want to implement solar power generation as part of their home design. The 30-year lifespan of solar tiles makes them a viable alternative to other roofing materials, which have similar longevity, with the added advantage of providing an alternative power source.

How Long Do Green Living Roofs Last?

Classic house with green living roof.

Living green roofs are becoming more popular as environmental awareness, off-grid living, and water and energy conservation increase.

How do green living roofs work? Living roofs are generally considered more suitable for flat roofs, but recently they have been used for pitched roof types as well. The roof’s pitch cannot be too steep; otherwise, the runoff will not be conducive to supporting the plants.

A living roof incorporates nature into the structure of the roof. The roof is first covered with a waterproof membrane upon which growing trays are placed. The trays are filled with a growing medium, and plants are planted in the trays.

A drainage system is installed in the growing trays to take care of excessive moisture and drain it away from the roof.

Rain waters the plants on the roof, and the growing medium absorbs some moisture, preventing water from pooling on the roof’s surface and causing leaks. Excess water filters out through the drainage system. Food crops can be grown on the roof, but turf is a frequent choice for this type of roofing material.

Thus, the roof becomes a living ecosystem, and the building becomes part of the landscape and contributes to the environment.

What are the benefits of using a living roof as a roofing material?

  • Good insulation. Soil is a good insulator due to the air pockets contained in the medium. The plants also create a stable micro-climate above the roof. This insulating effect makes for an energy-efficient roof that reduces the building’s heating and cooling energy requirements.
  • Natural drainage system. The soil absorbs rain and moisture, preventing water from pooling on the roof surface and reducing the risk of leaks.
  • Natural air bio-filter. The green material plant material help to filter air pollutants and increase the available oxygen in the air surrounding your home.
  • Easy maintenance. If you are an avid gardener, maintenance is similar to gardening, but if you are not a gardener, self-sustaining options are available that require little maintenance. Plants in the trays can easily be swapped out or replaced to create the effect you desire.
  • Natural beauty. The roof becomes part of the natural world and can add natural beauty to the building with greenery and colorful flowers.

Living roofs have some negative aspects, which may lead some people to discount this roofing material option:

  • The attraction of insects. A natural environment attracts insects and other typical garden-life creatures that you may not want living on your roof!
  • Weight. Soil is heavy and gets heavier as it absorbs moisture. The roof structure must be constructed to handle this kind of weight, which can add to the roof construction cost.
  • More maintenance. A living roof is essentially a garden and requires maintenance the same as a traditional garden would. The plats must be watered, fed, trimmed, and maintained. If you are a gardener, you may enjoy this maintenance, but it is an additional time factor that must be included in your schedule.

Despite the disadvantages of a living roof, the popularity of this roof type is on the rise, especially in the off-grid home sector, where the insulation benefits and the additional growing space are attractive advantages.

How Long Does A Living Green Roof Last?
Tile roof material Lifespan Cost Per Square Foot Level Of Maintenance
Living green roof 50 years $10.00 to $25.00 Moderate

Summary

To summarize the question of how long a roof last, a table with a side-by-side display of the lifespans of the different roof types is in order:

How Long Does A Roof Last?
Roof Material Lifespan Cost per square foot
Shingles    
Wood Shingles 30 years $7.30 to $11.60 per square foot (Cedar)
Organic Asphalt shingles 20 years $4.25 to $8.25 per square foot
Fiber Asphalt shingles 50 years $7.25 to $12.25 per square foot
Stone shingles 100 years $12.00 to $22.00 per square foot
Fiber cement (composite) shingles 25 years $7.50 to $13.00 per square foot
Rubber shingles 40 years $4.25 to $8.25 per square foot
     
Metal    
Zinc 40 years $5.65 to $11.00
Tin 70 years $3.00 to $15.00
Corrugated metal 45 years $3.50 to $6.50
Standing seam 30 years $8.00 to $14.00
Aluminum 40 years $2.20 to $4.05
Copper 100 years $14.10 to $25.40
Metal tile 50 years $5.25 to $12,50
Metal shingle 30 years $5.00 to $12.00
     
Slate    
Natural slate 100 years $10.00 to $25.00
Synthetic slate 100 years $10.00 to $15.00
     
Thatch    
Water reed 65 years $25.00 to $30.00
Wheat reed 40 years $18.00 to $25.00
Grass thatching and straw 25 years $15.00 to $18.00
     
Tile Roofs    
Clay tile 100 years $7.00 to $10.00
Cement tile 45 years $4.00 to $9.00
     
Rubber Tiles    
Rubber tiles 50 years $4.25 to $8.25
     
Solar Tile Roof    
Solar tiles 30 years $21.00 to $25.00
     
Living Roof    
Living green roof 50 years $10.00 to $25.00

Many of the roofing types have similar lifespans, which funnels your decision-making to the roof that best suits your home design and the budget you have for the roofing material!