When deciding what material to use for roofing, you should always give the most attention to one factor: durability. You want a roof that will stand the test of time, one that will provide your house for the coverage it will need throughout its lifespan. Cheaply-manufactured materials aren’t going to offer that guarantee.
Durability doesn’t just refer to how long the roofing material will last when left alone, though. You also have to factor in other benefits and features. Is the material energy-efficient? Will it prevent leaks and mold? Is it prone to weather damage?
Which Type of Roof Is the Most Durable?
Taking all of this information into consideration, one material stands well above the rest. For the modern homeowner, the most durable roofs around are made from metal alloys. Usually, these alloys are blends of steel and/or aluminum, but copper and zinc aren’t uncommon.
For those of you who aren’t very familiar with roofing, this probably comes as a huge surprise. Sheet metal isn’t exactly a brand new invention. It isn’t all that fancy, either. It is, however, incredibly durable.
On average, metal roofs last up to 50 years. This is much longer than most homeowners will stay in one location, ensuring that the roof stands firm for multiple tenants.
Metal roofs are also one of the greener options available. Metal is famous for its heat conductivity, meaning that a metal roof will provide better insulation than most other options. Once the roof meets the end of its lifecycle, you’ll also find it very easy to have the sheets recycled.
Flat roofs employ a rubber or polymer sealant to protect the material from chemical, environmental, and ultraviolet damage. Flat roofs are generally placed in a category of their own, but they can be combined with the metal roofing option to increase your home’s durability. Best of all, the pigmentation for these sealants tends to reflect heat, which improves insulation while keeping your home cool throughout the summer.
Other Durable Roof Options
If metal roofing isn’t an option in your area, you still have several options available. They aren’t all as durable or cost-effective as metal, but they’ll definitely do in a pinch.
If you don’t have a lot of money to play with, asphalt shingles are your best bet. Even the best-rated roofers in the business charge no more than $5.00 per square foot, making asphalt shingles hands-down the most cost-effective solution on the market. Bear in mind that you get what you pay for, though. On average, asphalt shingles last only 20 years max, and that’s assuming you live in an area that doesn’t see a lot of weather fluctuation throughout the year.
You could also use architectural shingles. These are versions of asphalt shingles with a slightly longer lifespan (and a slightly larger price point because of it). While run-of-the-mill asphalt shingles tend to wear away after two decades, architectural shingles can last up to three.
Plastic Polymer Roofing
Metal polymers aren’t the only roofing materials flooding the market. You can also get plastic polymer roofing.
Like anything made of plastic, plastic polymer roofing is durable, flexible, and readily accessible. It can easily be carved into any configuration, making it the perfect option for roofs with unique slopes and shapes. It can also be painted, pigmented, or otherwise colorized to look however you want it to. Best of all, it can last for up to 50 years, even through hail damage and other serious weather conditions.
However, there is one significant difference between plastic polymer roofing and the rest of the world of plastic: it’s usually much more expensive than the other options for shingles.
Finally, if you’re looking for something really fancy to deck the top of your house with, you may want to consider slate shingles.
At surface level, slate shingles are the best option for roofing. Their natural appearance invokes imagery of classic English cottages or ancient Roman villas. They’re completely fireproof, which only metal roofs can accurately claim. Plus, they can last for up to 120 years (triple that of metal roofing, our top pick).
That estimated lifetime has some caveats, though. Despite their stony appearance (and the fact that they are, in fact, made of actual stone), slate shingles are prone to breakage. Whether you’re facing severe weather conditions, falling limbs, or rowdy squirrels and birds, it won’t take much to damage a slate shingle. Likewise, because of their configuration, once one shingle cracks, the rest quickly follow suit.
- Asphalt Shingles (15-30 years) – Cheapest, susceptible to weather damage
- Metal Roofing (40-60 years) – Second cheapest, very durable, low maintenance, energy-efficient
- Plastic Polymer Roofing (50+ years) – Energy efficient, lots of appearance options, much more expensive than asphalt or metal
- Slate Shingles (100 years) – Highest overall durability, most expensive, easy to crack and dislocate
Ready to Upgrade Your Roof?
Like every great renovation project, you should always start from the top down when it comes to your home. That means starting with the best roofing materials.
If you live in Calvert County or Anne Arundel County in Maryland, contact GH Clark. We have all your roofing needs, from traditional asphalt shingles to the best quality metal roofing around.