What Type of Roof Lasts the Longest?

At IronHead Roofing, we like our clients to be as informed as they need to be. Purchasing their next roof is no small decision. It has an enormous aesthetic impact on their home and, more than that, it impacts how long the roof is likely to last.

So, what type of roof lasts the longest?

To answer this question, we need to think about the many factors that contribute to long-term wear and tear. We also need to consider how durable the roofing material is; how likely that material can withstand serious damage.

There are five factors to consider:

  • Local climate – weather systems, rain and wind
  • Environmental factors – this also includes wildlife hazards, too
  • Building design – how the design is conducive, or not, to potential hazards. For example – a building designed in commercial or industrial zones is more likely to experience chemical, exhaust and residue hazards – diminishing the lifespan of the roof
  • Material – what material type is chosen to cover the roof – ranging from asphalt, metal, slate, tile/concrete, wood shake and foam, amongst others
  • Implementation – how professionally the roof has been installed

Of course, the homeowner has limited ability to control all five factors. But the one factor that the homeowner can control is the material chosen for their next roof. Also, it’s vital that the roof is correctly installed by competent, certified professionals.

Improperly installed roofs can cost homeowners thousands of dollars, in both the short and the long-term – meaning further roof repair work, or, in extreme cases, a second roof installation may be required.

The opposite is also true. You could have a poor-quality materials but, if they are properly installed, the roof can last substantially longer than high quality materials installed by an incompetent authority.

What type of roof lasts the longest?

An average roof is replaced every 20-25 years.

However, some materials increase that lifespan quite substantially. Below, we summarise the primary roof types and their associated, average lifespan:


Roof Average Lifespan
Asphalt shingle20-25 years
Metal / Steel40-60 years
Slate50+ years
Tile / Concrete 50+ years
Foam20-25 years
Built-up (BUR)20-30 years
Single ply25-35 years
Wood Shake15-18 years



A roof can only last as long as it is maintained. Poorly maintained roofs go into decline much, much sooner.

This goes back to what we talked about earlier. Your roof may be of poor material quality, but if that roof is properly installed, and maintained, it will last considerably longer than a roof that is not maintained.

It’s crucial that homeowners / business owners conduct routine inspections of their roof. Failure to conduct even the simplest inspection can result in unnecessary cost and complications in the long-term.

So, to answer the question of – what type of roof lasts the longest – we need to think about all the above factors.

There is no one, simple answer.

In the end, it depends.

At IronHead Roofing, we conduct roof inspections in Corvallis, Albany and throughout Oregon at large. If you would like to receive a free quote, contact a member of our team today. We have fast become the most popular roofing contractor in Oregon and hope to help you – whether homeowner or commercial entity – with your roof repair needs!