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Asphalt shingle life expectancy vs. other roofing shingle materials

How long do asphalt shingles last compared to other roofing materials?

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broken roofing shinglesChoosing the material best for your new roof involves a number of factors. One of the most important factors to compare across roofing materials is life expectancy. You should compare asphalt shingle life expectancy to four other popular roofing materials: concrete tile, metal, wood shakes, and natural slate. Metal and concrete tile, although generally not considered shingle material, are included here because they are available in a shingle style.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular residential roofing material in America, and for good reason. They are the least expensive of the five types discussed here and are relatively easy to install. An asphalt shingle roof can last anywhere from 15 to 50 years. The compositional factors that affect life expectancy of asphalt shingles include:

  • Shingle weight: The heavier the shingle is, the longer the life expectancy
  • Shingle composition: Shingle styles that mimic more expensive roofing styles, such as natural slate or wood shake, also add longevity because of the higher-quality materials used. Premium shingles may also offer improved impact resistance or solar reflectivity, increasing longevity.

Other Roofing Materials

  • Concrete tile roofing is manufactured from fiber-reinforced cement. A concrete tile roof should last 30 to 40 years if the underlayment, battens, and flashing are properly installed.
  • Metal roofing styles that mimic shingles are made of aluminum or coated steel and formed into individual shingles or modular panels. A metal shingle roof can last 40 to 60 years.
  • Wood shakes suffer from the same deterioration problems as any wood product exposed to the elements. They are susceptible to mold, rot, and insect damage. The life expectancy can be extended if pressure-treated wood is used to make the shakes. Typically, a wood shingle roof will last 20 to 40 years.
  • Natural slate is a roofing material that consists of shingle-like slivers of rock. The quality of the rock, its thickness, and density, all affect life expectancy. A slate roof can last from 45 to several hundred years.


The life expectancy of these five roofing materials is estimated based on their inherent qualities under the best climate conditions. There are other factors that will affect the durability and service life of your roof, such as weather and climatic effects, the slope of your roof and how the roof is installed.

You can increase the actual life of your roof by choosing a material that best suit your climate and roof design and by hiring a qualified contractor to install your roofing. An annual roof inspection will also help catch any issues before they develop into problems.

Reply! can provide you with a list of approved contractors in your area with expertise in installing your chosen type of roof. After you have examined asphalt shingle life expectancy versus that of other roofing materials, be sure to get a roofing estimate and contractor references.

Discuss warranty and roofing cost with several contractors before you decide. Enjoy the beauty and comfort of your new roof, whatever you choose, for many years to come.

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