What Are the Longest Lasting Roofing Materials?

When it comes to choosing the right roofing material, longevity and durability are key components that you need to consider. With such a wide range of different roofing products available on the market, it can sometimes be difficult to narrow down the search and find a long-lasting material that you can rely on.

Although very affordable materials may seem like a good idea budget-wise, you need to consider whether they are going to generate costly repairs as soon as 5-10 years down the line. Investing in a high-quality roofing material that is built to last, will mean you won’t be out of pocket and can enjoy your roof decades into the future.

In this article, we have compiled a range of comparisons to give you the clearest idea of which roofing materials will last and which won’t. If you are on the hunt for the longest lasting roofing materials for your next project, take a read through.

Longest Lasting Roof Tiles

Material

Average Lifespan

Plastic

40 Years

Metal

30 – 50 Years

Fibre Cement

30 – 60 Years

Concrete

40 – 75 Years

Clay

50 – 100 Years

Natural Slate

80 – 100+ Years

When it comes to roof tiles, the longest lasting material on the market has to be natural slate. With an incredibly robust and hard-wearing natural build, slate tiles create a completely weatherproof and wear-proof roof structure that lasts for decades. Their impressive lifespan can reach over 100 years with correct installation, during which time only minimal maintenance is needed. Natural slate tiles are water and fire proof, non-corrosive, as well as highly resistant to insects, fungus, and microorganisms. 

Coming in second with an average life expectancy of 50 – 100 years is clay. Perfect for long-term installations, clay tiles offer incredible durability against harsh weathering, extreme temperature changes and even fire. They are 100% resistant to rot, decay, insects, mould, and water damage plus stand up very well against strong ultra-violet radiation.

Longest Lasting Roof Shingles

Material

Average Lifespan

Felt Shingles

15 – 30 Years

Metal Shingles

30 – 50 Years

Cedar Shingles

30 – 50 Years

Both estimated at a lifespan of around 30 – 50 years, cedar and metal shingles prove to be the most practical shingle choice if longevity is something you prioritise when buying roof shingles.

Cedar is a low-density wood which means it is subject to only very minimal shrinkage over its entire lifetime. Because of this, the shape and structure of the shingles are maintained excellently for years after installation. Additionally, as cedar also incorporates termite repellent properties, you won’t have to worry about insect infestations causing damage to your roof structure. With proven durability and resilience, cedar shingles can withstand all harsh weather conditions including rough winds, heavy downpour, and wintery storms.

Tough, sturdy, and reliable, metal roof shingles are designed to last. Resisting harsh weathering, extreme temperatures, and fire, metal shingles ensure hard-wearing protection for your roof structure all year round. They maintain a high-quality appearance through virtually all wear and tear, requiring only very minimal maintenance throughout decades of use.

Lasting a lesser average of 15-30 years, felt shingles are better suited as a short term roofing solution. Although fairly durable day-to-day, felt can be prone to damage when faced with hail storms and very rough weather. When also exposed to large amounts of UV light or moisture, the shingles can begin to break down, curling at the corners and allowing water to enter beneath.

Longest Lasting Roofing Sheets

Material

Average Lifespan

Polycarbonate

10 – 20 Years

Bitumen

15 – 20 Years

Fibre Cement

50+ Years

Metal

40 – 60 Years

Averaging at a 40-60 year life expectancy, metal roof sheets are the longest lasting sheet material available to buy. Although lightweight in structure, metal sheets can actually withstand high windspeeds of up to 120mph without damage. This means if you live in an area prone to some pretty harsh weather, you won’t have to carry out repairs and maintenance every time there’s a storm. Metal roof sheets are resistant to corrosion and fire, plus create a tightly sealed structure that minimises moisture issues such as rot and mould.

Contrasting with a typical lifespan of just 10-20 years, polycarbonate roofing sheets lack the level of durability needed for long-term use. Although great for smaller structures such as carports and patio coverings, polycarbonate sheeting can be prone to scratching and denting when exposed to falling debris and hail. We recommend that polycarbonate be used in shorter-term projects where only a decade or two of use is expected.

Longest Lasting Flat Roofing Materials

Material

Average Lifespan

Felt

10 – 20 Years

Built-Up

15 – 30 Years

Fibreglass (GRP)

20 – 30 Years

Green Roof

40 – 50 Years

EPDM

50 Years

The longest lasting flat roofing material, EPDM offers exceptional durability for both commercial and residential structures. With an increased rubber thickness, this resilient material provides excellent puncture and tear resistance, lasting for up to half a century. Although flexible enough to fit securely around skylights and guttering, EPDM membranes will not crack or damage even when exposed to extreme dry or moist conditions.

Beneficial for both the environment and your home, green roof structures are the second longest lasting flat roof solution. The nature of a green roof allows constant growth and replenishment which means, as long as you install and look after after your living roof correctly, you can enjoy a flourishing structure that lasts for 40-50 years.

What Are the Longest Lasting Roofing Materials?

Average lifespan of all roofing materials

Top 3 - Longest Lifespan

As you can see from the chart above, natural slate takes the top spot as the longest lasting roofing material available to buy. Thanks to its incredibly hard-wearing composition and consistent resilience against all types of weathering, slate has the structural ability to last for up to a century before replacement is needed. Its combination of hardy properties and high-performance resistance mean slate can even often outlive the property its been installed on.

Lasting anywhere from 50 up to 100 years, clay roof tiles are the second longest lasting material, perfect for long-term construction. When properly installed and maintained, clay tiles can last for up to a century, resisting weather, fire, moisture, and ultra-violet damage.

Offering an estimated expectancy of 40 – 75 years, concrete roof tiles take the number three spot in our list of long-lasting roof materials. Virtually impervious to rot, insect and moisture damage, the chances of decay are next to none with this incredibly tough material. Dense and fire-resistant, the tough structure of clay makes it one of the most reliable roofing materials you can opt for.

Bottom 3 – Shortest Lifespan

To correctly judge which is the most practical roofing solution for your project, it is also beneficial to discuss the roof materials with the shortest life expectancies.

Kicking off our list at an estimated 10-15 years of use, is standard roofing felt. This classic roofing material is popularly utilised throughout a variety of different projects. However, as the surface can be so easily worn out and torn, it is generally recommended that felt is only utilised for smaller-scale use such as shed roofing.

Once again, offering just a 10-15 year lifespan, polycarbonate sheets are more practically utilised in residential circumstances where only a decade or two of use is expected. Polycarbonate does hold up pretty well against general weathering and wear, however its lack of resistance to scratches and denting, makes it more susceptible to damage in very stormy conditions.

The third shortest life expectancy on our list is that of bitumen roofing sheets at a slightly longer 15-20 years. Bitumen is actually a pretty resilient roofing material with a high-tensile strength that makes it unlikely to crack. It is are also fire, wind, and hail resistant, so you won’t have to worry too much about impact damage. The downfall of bitumen, however, is its tendency to age prematurely when exposed to puddles and standing water. If your roof tends to hold a lot of rainwater after a heavy downpour, this may damage the bitumen layer and significantly reduce the longevity of the structure.

In Closing

A sure way of ensuring a long-lasting finish for your roof is sourcing your materials from a place you can trust. Here at Roofing Megastore, we stock an extensive, high-quality range of expertly manufactured roofing materials for virtually any kind of project. From roof tiles and sheets, to flat roofing and shingles, we have everything you need to get your next job started the right way.

To help you find the right products for your project and to answer any other questions you may have, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer service team who will be more than happy to help. Simply give them a call on 01295 565565, email sales@roofingmegastore.co.uk, or leave a message in our handy live chat.