Comparing the lifespans of various roofing materials

Comparing the lifespans of various roofing materials

Repairing or replacing your roof can be a costly and time consuming endeavor for any homeowner, regardless of income. In an attempt to avoid this scenario, most homeowners look for roofing materials that are durable and built to last.

Since there are several roofing materials to choose from, homeowners should properly assess the benefits of each roof type, while focusing on longevity as a top priority during the selection process.


With a lifespan of more than 50 years, steel is one of the more durable roofing materials available. According to manufacturers, a steel roof will last at least significantly longer than the average asphalt roof, which makes it a worthwhile upgrade for homeowners. Part of steel's longevity can be attributed to its natural resistance to the elements, including UV rays, extreme temperatures and high winds.

Metal (Tin)

In general, metal roofs can last several decades if kept painted. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, for optimal results, it is important that any metal roofing material that your contractor recommends for installation passes the standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Since the replacement cost of a metal roof can range anywhere from $8 to $15 per square foot, homeowners have an added incentive to properly maintain their metal roofs to avoid the need for replacement or a comparably costly repair. It also is important to consistently remove rust to extend the life of your metal roof.


Copper roofing is also one of the more durable roofing materials available with an estimated lifespan of approximately 50 years. If you've ever seen a penny made before 1982, it's easy to see how a copper roof might withstand years of wear and tear while maintaining strength and shine.

However, as evident by the greenish blue roofs present on old architecture, years of wear will change the appearance of the roof. Furthermore, copper does not withstand the elements as well.


One of the more innovative roofing materials available, foam can last up to 20 years. The best part about foam roofing is that it only requires re-coating when affected by damage or wear, as opposed to repair or replacement required of other damaged roofing materials.

Recoating is not only a simpler process, but a cost-efficient solution as well, since the price for recoating a foam roof accounts for only 25 percent of the cost of roof replacement.


U.S. Inspect, a national home inspection service provider, estimates that a properly installed rubber roof should last between 12 and 25 years. However, the exact lifespan of a rubber roof (or any roof, for that matter) depends on several additional circumstances.

These situations might include environmental conditions, climate, type of building, foot traffic on the roof, amount of water residue after a rain storm and quality of installation.

For more information on the right choice, consult a highly rated Boston roofer.