The roofing material that lasts the longest is concrete, clay or slate shingles. These materials significantly outperform other natural products, such as wooden slats or any manufactured roofing material, including asphalt shingles and metal roofing. Concrete, clay and slate tiles have an average lifespan of 100 years or more. They are undoubtedly the materials that last the longest, but they are also, without exception, some of the most expensive.
Slate roofs are often referred to as a “forever roof” because they can last seemingly forever. If you ever travel abroad, you may notice that many houses in Europe have slate or clay tile roofs simply because they were easy to manufacture years ago and have been proven to stand the test of time (and the elements). Metal roofs are the most durable and can last up to 50 years under the best conditions. The metal requires little maintenance and can withstand strong winds, storms and hurricanes.
The most durable roofs are generally made of materials that break down very slowly, such as concrete, clay, and slate. Metal roofs are also very durable. Asphalt shingle and wood roofs tend to have the shortest lifespan. The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) rates slate as by far the most durable roofing material, with a life expectancy of more than 150 years, followed closely by clay and concrete, with approximately 100 years.
Polymer roofs are made with polymers that create long-lasting durability in any type of building structure. That said, the roofing material you choose plays an important role in the roof that will last the longest. The final lifespan of a metal roof depends largely on the type of material and how well it is installed. Ultimately, the house with a strong roof cover has to its credit good insulation, a solid foundation to withstand unwanted environmental hazards, such as severe hailstorms, rain, snow, etc.
In addition to its long lifespan and ease of use, builders have always used copper roofs for their beauty, both in its raw and eroded state. Based on the list above, you can see that there is a wide range of life expectancy in all roofing materials. Shaking tends to last longer than regular wood shingles, but any wood roofing material will have the shortest lifespan among common roofing materials. In general, the lifespan of any roof is about 20 years, but it can be much longer depending on the type of material you select.
The subfloor is water resistant, not waterproof, but serves as a good emergency barrier in case of damage to the tiles above it. These roofing materials come with a warranty of between 15 and 50 years, depending on color change or discoloration. Not all roofs require a subfloor, but it's important to consider that, as it can be the Achilles' heel of even the most durable roof. If homeowners are looking for the most durable roof, they should absolutely consider clay, concrete or slate.
So, while clay, concrete, and slate are the most durable roofing materials, they may not necessarily be right for you. The roofing material that lasts the longest can prove to be the least expensive when the costs are spread over its entire lifespan. Similarly, an asphalt shingle roof should be inspected after a severe storm or other severe weather and repaired as needed.