What roof lasts the longest?

 For most people, a roof is not an insignificant investment. As a result, you may be wondering what type of residential roof lasts the longest. Let’s take a look at what the answer is and why you may still not want to get it.

Because we’re talking about houses and not commercial roofing, I’ll skip right over slate. In reality, slate does last the longest. However, it’s typically used on commercial buildings like churches.

For residential roofs, wood shingles—aka shake—normally last thirty to forty years. If they’re installed properly and in a best case scenario, they can even last up to fifty years.

However, there are a few reasons you may not want to install wood shingles on your home.

First, they look nice and pretty when they’re first put on. However, before too long, they start to look gray and not nearly as attractive. You may be able to find them on older homes nearby so you can see what they’ll look like after a while.

Second, they’re a very expensive product. They’re much more expensive than even the highest grade asphalt shingles. You may see them on higher-end new homes, but you’re typically not going to see a middle class house with wood shingles.

Finally, people have moved away from shake roofs in droves because they’re a fire hazard. Sure, they may look nice and last the longest, but you’re essentially putting tinder on top of your house.

Let’s say there’s a fire within a couple miles of your home. That creates flying embers that get blown around by the wind. If one of those lands on your wood shingles, your house could easily catch fire even though you’re not that close to the fire.

As a result, over the years the insurance prices for wood shingles kept going up and up. A lot of neighborhoods here in Oklahoma City used to have them, but they ended up not being cost-effective or practical. You end up with a higher premium attached to your homeowners insurance because insurance companies don’t like covering those types of roofs.

There are still new homes built with cedar shakes. And we would install that type of roof if someone really wanted it. But I would talk with them about why they wanted it and make sure they knew all the disadvantages first.

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