When choosing roofing materials for a new home or to replace your old roof, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Evaluate any potential roofing material on its longevity and resistance to common sources of damage such as sunlight, pests, rot, and fire.
Asphalt shingle roofs last about 20 years, on average, and composite roofs have a similar lifespan. You can expect a roof made from fiber cement shingles to last about five years longer. Wood shake shingles are even more durable and generally last around 30 years.
Roofs made from metal, including copper, aluminum, and steel, can be expected to last around 50 years without significant degradation.
If longevity is your largest concern, consider slate or tile roofing materials for their outstanding durability. Roofs made from these materials can last up to a century.
Fade-Resistant Roofing Materials
Your roof is under constant exposure to the elements. Over time, ultraviolet light from the sun can cause asphalt shingle roofing materials to fade, changing their appearance. If your shingles fade before you need a new roof, you’re stuck with the discoloration or a costly, unnecessary replacement.
Concrete roof tiles are impervious to UV light and will not fade even with prolonged exposure. Clay tiles also resist sunlight well, although painted tiles are susceptible to fading over time. Metal and stone roofs do not fade in the sunlight.
Fading isn’t always a bad thing. Some roofing materials are designed to weather naturally. With exposure to air, sunlight, and moisture, cedar develops a desirable silvery hue. Copper roofs oxidize to a pale green color as they age.
Insect and Rot Resistance
Roofs made of sheet metal are a popular choice if you live in a particularly wet, humid, or insect-heavy environment because they are not susceptible to rot and pests.
Wood shingles are visually appealing, but they are not insect-resistant. Termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and powder post beetles are all potential sources of damage to wood-shingled roofs.
Fire-Resistant Roofing Materials
Clay, concrete, slate, and metal are all fireproof roofing materials, meaning they will not catch fire. Asphalt shingles can resist flames for around two hours.
When constructing a roof with wood shingles or wood shake, the wildfire risk of the area must be considered. Wood roofing materials can be treated with fire-resistant chemicals, making them less likely to catch fire.