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While deciding to make a home improvement, choosing a suitable Roof might be one of the most important decision a home owner faces. Selecting the right material for your roof is an important investment, as the longevity of the roof is directly proportional to its quality. Regardless of the material being used, be it Asphalt shingles, Wood shingles, metal or concrete it is important to select a good quality material.

Other factors that should influence your decision in selecting a suitable Roofing material are; weather conditions, the design of your residence and maintenance. Living in an area where wild fires are common, it is crucial not to install roofing materials like Wood shingles that pose a risk. Design and construction are major factors too, because first, the design of the roof (flat pitch or a slight pitch, angled roof) will determine how much maintenance will be required. Second, not all materials can be installed by yourself, most require a professional crew. Maintenance is extremely important because many materials attract moss or are prone to punctures that determine the life of the selected roofing material.

The Best Roofing materials with long lasting properties are listed below.


Available at affordable prices, with a wide variety of colors and styles, Asphalt shingles are easily installed and the most commonly used roofing material in the U.S. They are also commonly known as ‘Composite Shingles’ since they have an organic or fiberglass base, coated with asphalt on the bottom with slate, schist, quartz, or ceramic granules embedded on the exposed surface.

The three types of roof shingles are; Strip shingle (a.k.a 3-tab shingle), Dimensional shingles (architectural shingles), and Luxury shingles. With dimensional shingles being two to three layers asphalt thick, they are the most prevalent. However, Luxury shingles are of a higher quality that brings an elegant look to your home.

The life expectancy of Asphalt shingles is about 20 years, while Architectural asphalt lasts about 30 years. Wind and hail damage resistance, fire resistance, algae resistance and solar reflecting are just few qualities of this roofing material.


Made from natural wood such as, Cedar, Shingles have a smooth and uniform look. While Wood Shakes are thicker and hand split which gives a more rustic and rough finish. Another important aspect to remember when choosing this material is to know the grain size. The highest quality grain being the Edge Grain, due to its stability, durability and strength. The Flat grain is however less stable and more likely to split. Last, the Slash grain which is the least desirable of all.

Although they are difficult to install, Shingles and Shakes have a few benefits. Shingles are able to retain heat in colder climates keeping the interior warm. While felts installed between each Shake provides a superior padding and better protection against the weather and UV radiation.

In terms of cost, Wood Shakes are more expensive than Shingles but the life expectancy of both is around 30 years.


The second material most commonly used after Asphalt is Metal because of its low cost compared to asphalt in the long run. Metal roofing materials commonly used are steel, copper and zinc. This material is highly durable, impermeable and corrosion resistant (when high quality finishes are used).

Made from recyclable materials, Metal roofs are excellent at reflecting heat away with its superior insulation properties. The lightweight of this material allows it to be installed on top of an existing roof as well. Their greater use is in areas that are prone to wild fires.

However, they are difficult to install and require a professional crew. A disadvantage is the noise due to rain or hail hitting the roof which might also cause dents. The life expectancy of metal roofing might vary from 40-60 years or 40-80 years.


Clay tiles are made by baking molded clay. It is available in a wide range of colors, Terra-cotta being the most commonly used. While Concrete tiles, are made with a mixture of sand, water and cement molded under high heat and pressure, resulting in a plain finished surface. Both are highly durable, with a life expectancy of 100 years.

Concrete tiles weigh significantly more than Clay tiles and have a high water absorption rate. Which when wet adds more weight to an already heavy material. This is why a structurally stable roofing frame is essential when using concrete tiles. These issues also make maintenance of the material difficult. The porous nature of the Concrete makes it prone to staining, which may result in a displeasing appearance.

Clay tiles have a much lower water absorption rate, weighing around 600-650 pounds, less than Concrete tiles. Although this particular material is more durable, it has a tendency to crack in freezing temperatures. It requires less maintenance, and its non-porous finish, commonly found it Ceramic-finish Clay tiles are stain resistant. However they are more expensive than Concrete tiles.


With not just the ability to mimic a stone roof, Slate Roofing is in fact a natural stone product that has a unique and eye catching appearance. The wide variety of colors, sizes and thickness adds to the beauty of this material, which is why it is commonly used on luxury homes. The benefits of installing a Slate roof are that it’s fire resistant and environmentally friendly, as compared to Asphalt Shingles. But the major advantage is its longevity, with a life expectancy of a 100 years, this roofing material is capable of lasting a century.

But it comes with a few cons too. It is the most expensive of all the materials listed. And the installation requires a special crew. Before choosing this material it is important to evaluate your residence from a structural standpoint because of the heavy weight of the Slate tiles. To maintain its longevity, its maintenance requires special attention. Immediate repair of any broken tiles are crucial to prevent major damages.


The roofing material that lasts the longest is Slate, Metal and Clay/Concrete. However other materials listed in this article are just as commonly used and might be the right choice according to your need.  As long as your investment is in a good quality material.