The Five Most Common Roofing Materials and Their LifeSpan

The Five Most Common Roofing Materials and Their Lifespan

Some of the most important considerations you have when replacing or building a roof is what material to use, how much will it cost, and the roof’s lifespan. Quality materials used in roofing usually lead to more expenses. But, a better way to look at your roofing project is quality materials lead to a roof’s long lifespan.

Almost every weather condition nature throws at roofs has an impact on the roof’s lifespan. The roof’s color, material, design, and location all play strong roles that can affect the roof’s durability. Even when you use maintenance-free roofing material, you may still need to perform maintenance, and even do small repairs on it from time to time. But there are roofing materials that have long lifespans and reasonable costs. The guide below gives you information on the five most commonly used roofing materials.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing materials used on buildings and homes because of their low cost. Asphalt shingles usually offer a guaranteed life span, which also makes them very popular. Asphalt shingles are used by countless major corporate buildings and on residential homes throughout the United States and Canada. There are also three different types of asphalt shingles you can use on your roof.

  • Dimensional shingles – these are called laminated shingles most of the time
  • 3-tab shingles
  • Luxury shingles

The added characteristic wanted and needed the most with asphalt shingles is lamination. Laminated asphalt shingles are engineered to resist storm winds, rain, sleet, snow, sun, and natural degradation caused by being outside exposed to weather elements. The cost for asphalt shingles ranges from $65 square foot to over $300 square foot. On average, to install the roof you will pay around $2.25 per square foot.


Manufactured composite shingles can be reinforced with recycled materials or fiberglass, and will still look the same. The recycled process makes composite shingles eco-friendly, which is very popular. Composite shingles last about twenty years, but you should never use composite shingles as your roofing material if you live in a high wind impact area.

Composite shingle roofing is the most popular of all roofing materials, found on more than 80 percent of all homes. Composite shingle’s popularity comes from its relatively low cost and long lifespan. Remember, these are engineered shingles, so no matter what color or material you want your roof to look like it can be done. Their fifty-year long lifespan adds to the roofing materials’ popularity. Composite shingles’ average cost ranges from $5.75 to around $14.00 per square foot installed.


Sometimes it is puzzling as to why people want tile roof material due to its high-cost. Tile roofs are known for their beauty. They can last up to 100 years, so their durability and lifespan are without question one of the best roofing materials you can use. But it’s important to take note that tile roofs use mortar bed systems most of the time. By being set on mortar bed systems they tend to fall and gap.

The component that makes up tile roofing material is made of terracotta most of the time. The terracotta is very heavy and also fragile. But terracotta is popular because they retain their color for decades or sometimes a hundred years or more. Tile roofs are fire resistant and in the world of roofing, are considered at only a mid-level cost roofing product. Tile roofs can cost anywhere from $800 per square foot to install. They sometimes can go as high as $1000 per square foot. Because they require expert installation your installation costs will be between $100 – $150 per square foot.


When slate is used correctly as a roofing material there is not much that can compare to its beauty. Slate roofing material’s lifespan can be as high as seventy-five years. Slate is a more sophisticated roofing material than tile but similar in weight constraints. Slate needs sturdy and expertly installed fasteners and nails. Slate roofs are eco-friendly and come in any color you want. Unfortunately, slate roofing material is known for its expense. It will cost you five times over what an asphalt shingle does. What’s more, finding an expert slate roof installer can be challenging depending on where you live.

The average cost of an experienced slate roof installer charge is around $5.00 per square foot. The slate tile material has an average cost of about $5.00 – $6.00 per square foot depending on if you are using a popular or rare color and pattern. Slate roofs are a worthy investment because it adds value to your home and is one of the most beautiful roof styles.


Fiberglass is common and popular as a roofing material because it is versatile. Once your fiberglass roof is glazed, it’s also water and shatterproof. Fiberglass roofs remain strong and have a long lifespan. Fiberglass roofs are sold in sheets or panels. Uniquely, they are resistant to rust or mildew and should last about thirty years.

Fiberglass shingle costs average around $40 – $200 per square foot, and for installation, an additional $80 – $200 per square foot is needed. It’s important to note, fiberglass and asphalt shingles are very similar, but there are characteristic cost and durability differences. Fiberglass is more sturdy than asphalt shingles, and you can see the difference between the two through their cost.

Final Consideration Before Getting a New Roof

Your final consideration before getting a new roof should be in what kind of climate will it be in? You want your roof to fit in with the weather factors which surround you. Some other things to remember before you purchase a new roof needs to include:

  • Expert and experienced roof installation
  • The roof’s life span
  • The roof’s cost per square foot
  • Maintenance demands for the roofing material selected
  • Roof warranty

When you need answers for the above questions or more information about the roofing material you’ve selected, reach out to Roofing Architects. They have the experience, knowledge, and information you need to make your roofing selection one that brings you comfort and satisfaction for many years.

Ten Ways You Can Build Your Next Roof Using Green Construction Methods

The next time you have to have your roof re-done or have to build a new one for your home, think green. By using green construction methods when building or redoing your roof, you give back to the environment in so many ways. The informational guide below will let you know about ten ways you can build your next roof with green benefits.

What is Green Construction?

When you’re using green construction on your roof, it’s so much more than using dark tile roofs to keep in the heat and light tile roofs to deflect the sun. Green construction is defined as finding a balance between high-quality construction and low environmental impact. It’s about you making a light footprint with your roof, your home or your business building design.

So when the design becomes a construction project, your roof and building are made sustainable by using green materials. Green construction is integrating the materials with the process. This method not only maximizes efficiency like with those light and dark roof tiles but also enhances durability and cost savings.

Ten Ways to Build Your Roof Using Green Construction Methods

In the 22nd century, building a roof using green construction methods has ten clear green processes and benefits.

1 – The 40 Percent Rule

If you integrate green principles into your roof’s planning and design, you will generate 40% more savings and receive 40% better results in your roof’s performance measurements. This is true with your roof, your home, and any commercial building you want to build if you use green construction. You need the best green team that can focus on your green-sustainable roof design. A green construction team may consist of:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Contractors
  • Consultants

All of the above team members will be knowledgeable about green building and roof designs. They will also know about the technologies that provide green benefits from construction materials with their overall cost savings.

2 – Recycled Materials

When you’re using recycled materials for your roof’s green construction material it needs to include:

  • Long-life material like polymer roofing systems
  • Protected-membrane roofing systems that allow for reuse of rigid insulation in future re-roofs
  • Light-colored roofing materials for reducing thermal heat
  • Using roof tiles made of recyclable materials, and more

Every material you consider involves the bigger question of the health, environmental, and energy considerations of that particular roofing material.

3 – Tile

The beauty of using roofing tile is it comes in a wide range of colors that incorporates thermal mass. It is this thermal mass that helps keep the cool air inside on hot days. Also, your roof can last for a century. If you add tile with curved shapes, you’ve helped your home’s ventilation.

4 – Single-ply Thermostat

A single-ply thermostat roof is made of membranes consisting of roof oil and natural gas. The roof oil and natural gas are cured and bonded to the material used on the roof. This gives the roofs their insulated abilities over the building. The single-ply thermostat roof material is not constructed on-site, so they have consistent quality.

5 – Single-ply Thermoplastic

You may think you just read about single-ply above, but there’s more than one kind. Single-ply thermoplastic is at the top of the green construction material pyramid because it’s made of material that absorbs ultraviolet light. The membranes in the roofing material are highly resistant to bacteria and come in rolls of glossy plastic in cool gray or white.

6 – Shingles

Shingles are by far the most popular of all roofing materials. When you want to make the shingles more green and eco-friendly, shingles can be treated with reflective pigments. Once you treat them with reflective pigments, you paint them a bright white. Because the reflective pigments help bumpy shingles reflect light, but it reflects light all over the place in every direction. Because you want to keep the house cooler by reflecting the light where it needs to go, the roof is made using green construction methods. The green construction method is painting them white.

7 – Pavers

Pavers pretend to be roofing tiles, but they’re actually paving tiles designed for a roof. They are over 2 inches, so they are very thick, and they reflect 78% of all ultraviolet light on your roof. Pavers are thick and heavy, so when serving as a roof they need a building that can support their roof weight. You can install pavers in special small areas like a balcony on the roof if your house can’t handle the intense weight of pavers.

8 – Metal

If there’s one green construction method that surprises people, it is the use of metal. But it’s not just any metal. It is a coated metal that’s painted in light colors or with light-reflecting pigments. You now have a treated metal roof that reflects ultraviolet rays and keeps your home cool. The fact that you get to make a statement with the color of your metal-coated roof is a side benefit.

9 – The Living Roof

This is not the cheapest roof to build or maintain, but it is green. You first have to seal up your entire roof. Then you pick the plants of your choice but make sure they can withstand the intensity of direct sunlight, pouring rain, and hot or cold winds. Plants on the roof are a new green construction method, and because it has to come with a structural evaluation it’s not cheap either. But it is popular.

10 – Philadelphia Style

Philadelphia was able to lower its summer heat by one degree by applying highly reflective white coatings to the roofs of an entire city block. This coating can be applied to almost any roofing material, and it will make the material become part of the green construction method. The pigment in the white coating can reflect the infrared. Which makes this green construction method one of the most interesting ones.

All you need is one person to start a green construction roofing project, and most people will see all the benefits of green construction methods. Green construction methods help in passive cooling in buildings and give ecological benefits integrated with cost savings. When your ready to build your roof using green construction methods, reach out to a professional close to you with your questions or ideas. We are ready to help you find green construction benefits with your next roof.