Life Expectancies for Roofs by Material Type

5 August 2017
 Categories: , Blog


Roofs are not all created equal. If you are currently staring a roof replacement in the face (er, shingles), you may want to know how you can replace your roof and not worry about it again for some time. Here are the various roofing materials from which to make a selection, based on their life expectancy. 

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles do not last, regardless of how a roofer installs them, makes them waterproof, or seals the inlets that would let water inside your roof. They look fantastic on a cabin-in-the-woods or a Shaker-style home, but their life expectancy is around ten years or less. They simply cannot take the abuse of sun and weather, and they need constant upkeep just to last that long.

Terracotta Roof

Terracotta roofs are known for their unique look, impermeability, and their decorative, curved, red terracotta shingles. The problem with these roofs is that they are fragile. If they are hit with hail the size of golf balls or larger, you will be replacing your roof within just a few years of installation.

If you do not get hail where you live, then the roof may last longer. However, hurricanes and tornadoes can do some serious damage as well when heavy debris pummels the terracotta. These are all things to consider when you decide you want a terracotta roof.

Traditional Asphalt Shingles

Traditional asphalt shingle roofs last between ten and twenty years. It depends on the frequency and type of bad weather you receive. If you live where the weather is quite mellow for at least a decade, then your roof will last longer than the projected ten years. If the weather is really violent (e.g., you live in "tornado alley"), then you may have to replace parts of your roof or the whole roof much more often than every ten years.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are engineered roofs that are designed to outlast just about every other roofing material. Thirty to fifty years is the going rate. While they are some of the most expensive roof replacements you can buy, they pay for themselves because you will not have to replace them over the course of the term of your thirty-year mortgage. They also increase the value of your home, should you ever decide to sell your home. You cannot say that about any other roofing material.

To learn more about roofing material, talk to companies like Earhart Roofing Company Inc.