According to the National Association of Home Builders, slate, concrete, and clay roofing tiles are the most lasting roofing materials, with life expectancies of 100 years or more. As for metal, the NAHB reports that steel sheet metal has a lifespan of about 20 years while copper has a lifespan of around 150 years.
The roof is one of the first things people see when they visit your home, which is why it's important that it does not violate any building codes nor cause a hazard if it starts to leak. The type of roof you choose will determine how long it will last before it needs to be replaced or repaired. Roofing materials can be divided up into three main categories: asphalt shingles, metal paneling, and organic materials such as wood and plastic.
Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material used by homeowners. They are durable and affordable, but over time may start to peel off of the roof due to wind etching- the small holes that are created from wind blowing against the roof which allow water to enter. This is also true of solar-powered asphalts which should never be removed. If an asphalt shingle layer is missing, the roof is considered to be in poor condition and must be replaced rather than repaired.
Concrete, clay, and slate tiles are the most durable roofing materials. These materials exceed other natural items such as wood shakes as well as all manufactured roofing materials such as asphalt shingles and metal roofing. Concrete and clay are used primarily for their appearance, while slate is used because of its sound quality when hit with a hammer.
All concrete roofs require some type of protection against the elements. This may include cement, polymeric, or composite coatings. Cement coatings harden into a protective layer that shields the concrete from rain and snow. Polymeric coatings are applied over a base of cement to create an umbrella-like structure that keeps out water while allowing heat to penetrate the roof. Composite coatings consist of layers of steel and glass fibers embedded in a resin that gives them strength and durability. These are commonly found in military vehicles.
Clay tiles are available in many colors and styles. They are made by mixing the clay with additives to give it flexibility and color. Then the mixture is molded into various shapes. After drying, the tiles are fired in a kiln to cure them completely. Like concrete, they can be coated with polymer or cement products to protect them from weather conditions.
Slate is most often used in commercial buildings because of its high-quality sound transmission.
Slate roofs are extremely durable since they are constructed of naturally existing stone. Unlike other roofing materials, slate is largely unaffected by weather extremes such as high winds, high temperatures, or even hail (most slate roofs can resist up to 4 inches of hail). It is for these reasons that slate is the preferred roof material for most climates throughout the world.
Slate is a mineral with two different forms: flagstone and schist. Both have very similar properties; however, their colors vary slightly depending on how much iron is present in the rock. Blue-gray is the most common color for both types of slate, but you can also find white, black, brown, red, and green slates available. The best way to identify flagstone and schist is by looking at them under a microscope -- the seams between each piece of slate are visible even without any additional coloring agents present.
Flagstone is more commonly used for outdoor projects like patios, walkways, and pool decks since it is less likely to show wear-and-tear compared to schist. However, schist is harder to cut and requires a sharper blade when using a power tool so it can be used for more intricate jobs like trimming around windows and doors or shaping large roof panels. Either type of slate will provide your home with excellent protection from the elements for many years to come.