Exploring the Longevity of Different Roofing Materials

When it’s time to invest in roofing for your home, your first question is likely to be how long a new roof will last. Investing in a new roof is a substantial investment, so you want your money put to good use. Ultimately, the longevity of a roof depends on many factors, the most important of which is the type of roofing material used.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the longevity of different roofing materials as well as tips for making them last longer. Once you have the facts, you’ll be ready to start your roofing project with confidence.

Factors Affecting the Life Span of a Roof

In a perfect world, your roof would last for decades. In reality, many homeowners are surprised when their roof degrades sooner than expected. Knowing the factors that affect how long your roofing material lasts will help you understand why some roofs fail prematurely while others reach or even exceed their anticipated service life.

Climate and Weather

Although modern roof materials are made to protect your family and belongings from the elements, heavy downpours, strong winds, snow accumulation and even intense summer heat will eventually take a toll on even the best roofing system. Before choosing a roofing material, consider your local climate. Extreme weather conditions affect roofing materials in different ways and can impact your roof’s overall life span.

Installation and Workmanship

If you want a superior roof, you need a trusted roofing contractor. Regardless of materials, hiring the right company has a tremendous impact on different aspects of your roof installation. As you weigh the pros and cons of different roofing materials, research and find a local roof builder with expertise and a stellar reputation.

While some roofers may offer a better price, it’s wise to go with a company with outstanding credentials. Improper installation and poor workmanship could leave you facing costly repairs sooner than expected.

Maintenance and Care

Once the roof is in place, most homeowners forget it’s even there. Yet, even the strongest roofing materials need a little care and attention now and then. Regular inspections and maintenance, either by the homeowner or a professional contractor, can significantly increase your roof’s longevity. Although, if a homeowner does inspect their own roof, they should only do so if it can be can be safely and knowledgably.

Underlying Structure and Support

Your roof may seem simple, but a lot is going on beneath the visible layer. The beams and rafters act as the roof’s underlying structure and supply the necessary support to hold the materials on top. The roof’s underlayment, insulation and ventilation help roofing materials withstand all weather types, making high-quality components an essential factor for a long-lasting roof.

The Different Roofing Materials and Their Longevity

Choosing the right material is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when booking a roof replacement. The factors mentioned above affect how long your roof lasts. However, each roofing material has its own distinct characteristics and life span. Let’s explore some of the most popular roofing choices including shingles, metal, slate and more!

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far the most widely used roofing material. Asphalt has a decent life expectancy, so this type of shingle may last up to 50 years when properly maintained. The material is popular due to its relatively low cost, all-around weather resistance and ease of installation. Asphalt roofing can also add a bold look to your home, as it’s available in many attractive colors and shapes.

Wooden Shingles and Shakes

Wooden shakes and shingles crafted from pine or cedar have a timeless appeal many homeowners cherish. Wooden shingles can last 25 to 30 years, while the thicker, sturdier wooden shakes can survive up to 30 years with proper care.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is an increasingly popular type of material. While steel or aluminum are the usual choice, zinc and copper are also used. When they undergo routine inspections and receive maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer, metal roofs have the potential for long life spans — upwards of 50 years.

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is a form of tile roof using pieces crafted from actual stone. These flat slabs create a natural aesthetic that many homeowners crave. When installed by a trained professional, slate has the ability to last 100 years or more — you may find historic homes sporting slate roofing with many original pieces. However, slate is also the one of the most expensive roofing material. Additionally, changing to a slate roof may require consulting with a roof design professional or engineer that can evaluate the impact of the additional weight added to the structure.

Flat Roofing Materials

Flat roofs are more common for commercial properties and have special roofing material considerations due to water pooling, sun exposure and debris buildup. Some of the most common materials used for flat roofs include:

  • EPDM: This synthetic rubber roofing membrane is a lower-cost solution that can last up to 50 years.
  • TPO: Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is an innovative material that can last 30 years if properly maintained.
  • Modified bitumen: This hybrid material tends to have a shorter life span of about 20 years.

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

With each new season, you should check the general condition of your roof and perform a few basic tasks such as:

  • Removing debris like sticks, leaves and moss.
  • Cleaning out the gutters.
  • Checking for missing, damaged or misshapen shingles.
  • Looking for damaged flashings, the thin metal materials that redirect water away from critical areas like vents.

Along with checking the roof yourself, an annual inspection from a roofing expert can help prevent minor issues from turning into major problems.

Addressing Roofing Issues Promptly

A small leak, a damaged shingle, a little rot — these issues seem small. However, even a slight weakness in your roofing system can turn into a costly concern if left unattended. If you have any concerns about your roof, it’s best to contact a local roofing professional to address roofing issues promptly.

Proper Installation By Reputable Contractors

Longevity begins with proper installation by a trusted roofing contractor. The best, longest-lasting roofing materials are wasted in the hands of subpar roofers, as you can’t trust the quality of their work.

Ventilation and Insulation Considerations

A surprising amount of roof damage begins with ventilation and insulation concerns. Roofing ventilation allows air to flow through your roof system to keep your home’s atmosphere comfortable, while insulation helps maintain proper temperatures within. Without adequate ventilation and insulation, roofs are more susceptible to heat damage or moisture-related issues like rot and mold.

The Cost vs. Life Span Trade-off

When it comes to your roof, quality matters. A new roof is an investment. While working within your budget is important, the price often should not drive all your decisions. Quality roofing materials and components are more durable, so they will be more expensive — but that extra cost can greatly increase your roof’s overall longevity.

When you go for cheap materials or labor, you may end up paying for it in the long run by virtue of needing more repairs and a premature full roof replacement. Investing in quality greatly increases your chances of getting a long-lasting roof.

Book High-Quality Roofing Services With Equity Builders Roofing

Quality and expertise — that’s what you want when choosing a roofing contractor. At Equity Builders Roofing, we work with homeowners and businesses to provide the highest-quality roofing solutions in the industry.

Understanding a roofing material’s longevity is crucial, so if you’re unsure which option is best for your property, we’d be happy to lend our experience to your decision-making process. Contact us today for outstanding roofing services in your hometown.

Book High-Quality Roofing Services With Equity Builders Roofing