The Longest Lasting Roof: Expert Insights of Longevity, Styles & Materials (2024 Update)

September 9th, 2021 BY First American Roofing

Trying to find the longest lasting roof for your home?

Not all roofs are created equal. Some can last for decades, while others might need to be replaced every ten years or so. The longevity of a roof is determined by the type of material, quality, installation, and regular maintenance done over time.

There are many types of roofing materials—metal, clay, asphalt, wood, and more—each with its own expected lifespans. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the different materials used for roofs to see which is the longest lasting roof for your home.

Things to Consider Before Choosing a Roofing Material

It might seem like a no-brainer to choose the longest lasting roof available to you. However, there are many other things to consider when deciding on a new roof.


Yes, longevity should matter, especially if you want to set it and forget it. For homeowners who don’t mind doing house projects every few years, a cheaper roof that lasts 10 to 15 years might be perfect for them. Whereas a family who found their forever home might want to invest in a roof with extra longevity, so they never have to worry again.


Cost is a major deciding factor for many home and business owners. Your roof is one of the most significant investments you can make in your home, and so you want to make sure you’re making the right choice and spending the right amount of money. But just because something is cheaper doesn’t always mean it’s lesser value, especially when it comes to roofing materials.


ROI, or return on investment, is a combination of that longevity and cost. ROI might be more or less important for some people, but if you are trying to get the biggest bang for your buck, this will be a major factor.

Required Roof Maintenance

roof maintenance for longest-lasting roof solutions

Some people may not want to have anything to do with maintaining their roof. But, unfortunately, most roofs do require proper maintenance throughout their lifespans to upkeep them and maintain their longevity. Some require less than others, and that can be a great option for those who don’t want to do the work of maintaining a roof.

Roof Repair Costs

Asphalt shingle roofs can be relatively affordable to repair and can often be covered by insurance for hail or wind damage. It can be as easy as removing the damaged shingle and replacing it with a new one. On the other hand, metal roofs are more challenging to replace and don’t have as many warranties or give when it comes to insurance coverage. Keep this in mind when choosing a roof.


cedar shake roofing curb appeal on house

Lastly, you want your roof to look nice! Enhancing curb appeal is one of the main reasons people replace their roofs in the first place. So choosing a roofing material that is aesthetically pleasing and pairs well with your siding should be a major deciding factor.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

What can you do to ensure the longest lasting roof? What materials are the best for it? How long is a roof actually meant to last? Now we’ll go into how long a roof is actually meant to last. We’ll list some of the most common types of roofing materials and how long they are expected to last, in order from least to the most amount of years.

Commercial Roofs

commercial roof materials for longest-lasting roof

We think it’s important to note some commercial roof materials that last for the least amount of years but are the best choice for flat roofs. They work great for protecting commercial structures for the time being, but the low-slope can cause a slew of issues with standing water, and the constant pummeling from weather and UV rays cause them to deteriorate much faster.

Green roofs: 5 – 40 years

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin): 7 – 20 years

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer): 15 – 25 years

Modified bitumen: 20 years

BUR (built-up roofing): 20 – 30 years

Residential Roofs

Finding the right roofing material for your home can be a difficult decision. More often than not, we find homeowners are faced with a higher up-front cost for better ROI, or deciding on the lower up-front cost with lower ROI. We will break this down more in a bit, but for now, this is the average lifespan of each material to help you decide.

Asphalt Shingles (3-tab): 15 – 20 Years

Asphalt Shingles (architectural): 30 Years

Wood Shingles: 30 Years

Metal Roof40 – 80 Years

Copper Panels: 70+ Years

Synthetic Slate: 50 – 70+ Years

Slate: 75 – 150+ Years

Clay Tiles: 100+ Years

Concrete Tiles: 100+ Years

So, What Is The Longest Lasting Roof Type?

Based on the list above, you can see there’s an extensive range of life expectancy across all the roofing materials. Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing materials used on American homes today. Despite their lower life expectancy, the combination of their low cost, low-maintenance, and color options makes them a prime choice. But we want to know, what type of roofing lasts the longest?

clay roofing

Concrete, clay, and slate tiles have an average lifespan of 100 or more years. They are without a doubt the materials that last the longest but are also, bar none, some of the most expensive. Slate roofs are often called the “forever roof” because they can last seemingly forever. If you ever travel abroad, you might notice many homes 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).

If homeowners were looking to go with the longest lasting roof, they should absolutely consider clay, concrete, or slate. But wood shakes and metal roofs are quickly gaining popularity amongst average homes due to their lengthy lifespans paired with a lower cost than the most premium options.

Another option to consider that has impressive durability, longevity, and aesthetics for the price, is synthetic slate and synthetic cedar shake. These synthetic shingles can easily handle severe weather conditions and continue to uphold stunning aesthetics over time. Not to mention most synthetic shingle brands offer 50 year guarantees on their products. Granted, these are not cheap, but they are priced lower than natural slate roofing.

Making the Best Decision for Your Home

Finding the best durable roofing materials for your home can be a challenge, but it is well worth the extra effort. Once you find the right roofing material and a quality contractor to do the installation properly, you will have long lasting protection, aesthetics, and oftentimes an increase in your home value.

For premium roofing installation of your new roof, please reach out to First American Roofing. We have the skills and expertise to give you a roof that will last for decades to come. We can’t wait to give you the roof your home deserves.