What Roofing Material Lasts The Longest? (Homeowners Guide)

by | Feb 2, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

It’s hard to know what roofing material you should choose for your home. There are so many different factors that can affect choosing a specific material.

But, one of the biggest reasons homeowners might choose a specific material is the lifespan. Today we’re going to break down material by material what you can expect and help you make an informed decision on your home’s next roofing material.


Before we dive right into the lifespans of all these different materials, it’s good for you to know that there are a few other reasons why you might or might not choose a specific material.


The cost will be one of the #1 deciding factors on the material you choose. Obviously, the more expensive the roofing material, the more it will cost you upfront and in repairs down the road.

But, as with many things, cost does equal value in many ways. If you’re saving money on a material, it might not last as long or stand up to storms the same way a more expensive material would.

couple using laptop and analyzing roofing material costs


Where you live geographically can also play a role in roofing material choice. If you live in an area with severe weather, you’ll want to choose a roofing material that can withstand hail, high winds, and other extreme conditions.

That’s not to say that people who live in mild climates shouldn’t worry about the material they choose – just that the considerations might be different. For example, a roofing material resistant to fire in one climate might not be as important in another.

Additionally, some states and cities will have restrictions on specific roofing materials, so be sure to check your local building code.

rain flows down from a metal roof


The time it will take to install a roofing material should also be considered. Asphalt shingles and metal roofing can be quickly installed in most conditions and temperatures.

But, other materials might need to be installed at a specific temperature. Other materials can take more than a week to install. If you’re trying to sell a home or move in then, you might not have time to spend ensuring that your roof is completed on time.

4 construction workers fixing roof installation


Lastly, your home might only be able to handle a specific material. Slate and tile roofing is very heavy, and that extra weight might be too much for your home to hold. It’s a dangerous game if you’re pushing your roof past its limits and trying to put a material on it that isn’t made for that roof.

Check with your roofer and ask about the integrity of your roof. Sometimes it’s possible to modify the roof slightly and add some supports to help your home handle the weight more easily.

the roofing material on structured house with nice window


Now that we have that out of the way let’s look into some of these different materials.


Arguably, one of the best materials and products to come to homes throughout the world is asphalt shingles. These shingles have so much going for them, including affordable, fast installation, and long lifespan.

Lifespan: The average lifespan for asphalt shingles is 15-30 years, primarily depending on the quality of installed shingles and the weather they’re subjected to.

Average Cost: Asphalt shingles are reasonable, averaging around $1-$2 per square foot before labor and installation costs.

Time Needed for Installation: The time that you’ll need to install shingles will depend on how steep and difficult your home’s roof is. The average roof can be finished in 1-3 days.

asphalt shingles


Standing seam refers to metal roofing made up of large sheets. These roofing materials are not only durable, but they’re also affordable. They’ve become very popular over the past few years because of recent advances and trends changing. They come in various colors and can be very attractive on homes, especially modern ones with large rooflines.

Lifespan: The lifespan for standing seam metal roofing is 20-50 years, depending on the quality of metal used and how it’s installed. Some metal roofs can last much longer when well maintained.

Average Cost: These roofs cost homeowners an average of around $50,000 or $6-$7 per square foot, depending on how large the roof is.

Time Needed for Installation: You can expect these roofs to take around 2-5 days to install. The projects are often fast, but they can take a bit longer if the roof lines are difficult to work with.

Metal standing seam roofing material on a residential home


For homeowners that want most of the advantages of metal roofing without having to deal with standing seam or the appearance of large panels, there are metal shingles. These shingles can look similar to that of asphalt or other shingles. But they’ll have the value and strength of a metal roof.

Lifespan: Like standing seam, metal shingles last for 30-50 years, with some roofs lasting twice as long when properly maintained.

Average Cost: The metal shingles or tiles are more expensive than standing seam and can run anywhere from $6-$12 per square foot, depending on the style you choose.

Time Needed for Installation: Installation time can vary, but expect your roof to be all finished in around 5 days.

man installing metal roofing material on roof near chimney


Clay roofing tiles have been around for thousands of years, and they’re still going strong. They come in various shapes and sizes and add to a home’s aesthetic in big ways. This roofing material is pretty specific to southern states in the U.S. because they’re so heavy. Any added weight on top of a clay roof from snow or ice could cause problems.

Lifespan: Clay roofs basically last forever. These roofs can last for 50-100 years or more as long as they aren’t subjected to severe weather.

Average Cost: This roofing is difficult to install and lasts for such a long time. The average cost runs around $30 per square foot. That can make a simple roofing project pretty costly. But, you have the advantage of it lasting for a century.

Time Needed for Installation: Installation time for these roofs is pretty lengthy—plan for roughly a week and possibly more.

man installing clay roofing material tile on roof


Concrete roof tiles are a great choice for homeowners who want concrete durability with the esthetic of clay roofing tiles. These tiles come in various colors and styles to fit any home. Concrete is how you can get different colors and even more styles than clay while still getting that long-lasting durability.

Lifespan: Concrete roofing tiles have a lifespan of around 50 years when they’re well taken care of.

Average Cost: This material is a bit cheaper than clay because it’s synthetic. Expect to pay around $15 per square foot.

Time Needed for Installation: These roofs can be installed around a week. Note that sometimes it can take longer if your roof is large or extremely steep.

concrete roofing material up close shot


Slate roofing has been a popular roofing material in the United States since colonial times. It’s heavy but durable and beautiful. The looks alone make it a popular choice, but one of the main reasons homeowners choose this roof is because it lasts forever.

Lifespan: Known as the forever roof, slate roofing lasts on average as long as 150 years and sometimes more than 200.

Average Cost: Despite being heavy and time-consuming to install, slate roofs actually aren’t all that expensive and run around $15 per square foot for some of the most expensive kinds.

Time Needed for Installation: You’ll likely need around 5-7 days to get this roofing material installed on your home.

slate tile roofing material on house


This roofing material is a synthetic version of slate roofing tiles. It has similar durability and longevity, and look, but it’s much lighter and easier to install. You won’t quite get what you would out of a true slate roof, but it’s a much more affordable alternative that still looks great.

Lifespan: This material will last around 50 years on average.

Average Cost: Rubber tiles run around $3-$6 per square foot before installation and labor costs.

Time Needed for Installation: These roof tiles go on quickly and are easy for roofing companies to install. Expect around 2-5 days for installation.


Rubber roofing isn’t common on most homes because it’s specific to low-slope roofs. But, if you can install it on your home, you might consider it a great option for you. More commonly, rubber roofing is used on commercial roofs or multi-family housing.

Lifespan: Rubber roofs require regular maintenance but won’t be fully replaced for 15-20 years.

Average Cost: These roofs are very cost-effective and cost less than $1 per square foot.

Time Needed for Installation: Rubber roofs can be installed in less than a few hours.

rubber roofing material on low slope home

Source: RemodelingCosts.org



Cedar roofing shakes are one of the oldest roofing materials used in North America. They have a long lifespan and provide solid protection from snow, rain, and other harsh weather. Cedar roof shingles look gorgeous on cottages or homes with rustic aesthetics and modern homes that are looking for a more earthy aesthetic.

Lifespan: Cedar roofing is extremely durable and likely has a lifespan of around 40-50 years.

Average Cost: The cost of roofing shingles is around $17 per square foot but sometimes less.

Time Needed for Installation: Cedar shakes can be installed in as little as two days.

cedar shake roofing material


A green roof is a roof that has vegetation and a growing medium installed on it. This roofing option is becoming more popular as people seek more sustainable roofing options. Green roofs can help with insulation and roof longevity while providing shade, shelter for birds, and cleaner air quality in the surrounding area.

Lifespan: Green roofs have a lifespan of around 30 years. However, properly taking care of the roof could add decades to its life.

Average Cost: The average price for a green roof is around $11 per square foot before installation. Labor can be expensive for these roofs.

Time Needed for Installation: Most green roofs can be installed in around two days.


At MARS Restoration, we can help you choose the right roof for your home. No matter the material that you’re looking into, give us a call, and we’ll offer you a free inspection as well as a second opinion on what material might be right for your home.

As a local roofing company, we’ve worked with a lot of the different materials used throughout Maryland. Reach out to us today!