One question we get a lot is, “Which roofing material is the best quality and lasts the longest in Arizona?” The answer to this really depends on what factors each homeowner values most - whether it be aesthetics, longevity, overall installation costs, or ease of maintenance. In short, every roofing system has its advantages, disadvantages, and eco-friendly contributions.
The lifespan of your roof will depend on a combination of factors, such as the overall design, quality of materials, environmental conditions, and quality of the installation. Today’s top roofing products can easily last for decades when installed by a qualified roofing professional and properly maintained.
Even still, our severe Arizona heat, monsoon rains, and excessive UV exposure can damage even the best roofing systems. Taking proper care of your roof is critical. Scheduling regular maintenance inspections and have any repairs made promptly to ensure a maximum lifespan and unexpected damage to your home or possessions.
The general various lifespans of each roofing material in Arizona are as follows:
Asphalt Shingles: 25 to 50 years
There are basically two types of shingles: regular 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles. On average, 3-tab shingles are just a few dollars cheaper than the architectural shingles, but they are harder to come by and are usually only used for repairs of existing 3-tab roofs. They are also slightly thinner, which reduces their lifespan to the lower end of the expectancy range, depending on upkeep.
- Advantages of Shingles: Shingles are very affordable option for any pitched roof. Shingles can also provide good fire resistance, with some types even able to combat against hail, wind, and mold growth.
- Disadvantages of Shingles: While most shingle roofing systems last around 20-30 years, there are other shingle types that have the potential to last much longer, while contributing more to the resale value of a home.
- Eco-Friendly: Many shingle types are highly recyclable because they contain asphalt. The asphalt extracted from old shingles is most commonly used in road construction, maintenance and repair, and can also be used to make new shingles. The shingles from one average-sized home in Arizona can pave about 200 feet of a two-lane highway.
- Another eco-friendly advantage to shingles is the optional UV resistant finish, which retains less heat during night hours. These energy efficient shingles save homeowners money by reducing reliance on grid energy to cool the home.
Wood Shakes and Shingles: 30 to 50 years
Wood roofs have declined in popularity in Arizona over time and the quality of materials has seen a general decrease as well. Still, many homeowners like the aesthetic of a wood shingle roof and prefer it to other roofing options.
- Advantages of Wood Shakes and Shingles: Because wood shake roofs are such a layered system, they have a proven lifespan that can outlive other kinds of roofs if properly maintained.
- Disadvantages of Wood Shakes and Shingles: The main disadvantage of wood roofs is that they are not fire resistant without the addition of special chemicals. Because of this, some municipalities in Arizona have put restrictions on how much a roof can be made of wood shake shingles. Shake roofs can also be attractive to termites if not properly treated. Shake roofs are also expensive compared to other roofing systems.
- Eco-Friendly: Shake roofs are very environmentally friendly as they can be reused after use for various things, such as mulch, or can be converted into pellets for wood burning stoves.
Metal/Steel: 50+ years
Metal roofs have become quite popular, especially for modern homes and commercial businesses. They offer a very appealing aesthetic that is both clean and modern, as well as a long life.
- Advantages of Metal/Steel Roofs: Metal roofs perform quite well in Arizona and are among the longest lasting roofing materials that require the least amount of maintenance. Metal roofs are also great for fire resistance.
- Disadvantages of Metal Roofs: Metal roofs tend to cost more than other roofing system options. Metal roofs are susceptible to hail and heavy winds. And while beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, some people prefer the look of more traditional materials such as sandcast, clay, and concrete tiles.
- Eco-Friendly: Metal/steel roofs do not absorb much heat and are coated with a finish to reflect the sun’s energy. This helps homeowners keep energy costs down during the extreme heat. And, of course, most metal is highly recyclable.
Tile, Clay, Concrete and Sandcast: 50+ years
Tile roofs are the second most popular roofing systems in Arizona. They can be made of clay, concrete, and sandcast. Concrete tiles are generally more affordable than clay, but tend to not last quite as long due to the underlayment being of lesser quality than what typically comes with clay or sandcast tiles.
- Advantages of Tile Roofs: Tile roofs can last up to 50+ years in Arizona. Some Arizona tile roofs have even been even known to last up to 80 years! While tile roofs longevity may last the entire duration of a homeowner’s lifetime, the underlayment will need to be replaced every 25-35 years. Undamaged tiles can be re-installed and re-used.
- Tile roofs are also fireproof, resist rot, and the majority of Arizona insects. The concrete tiles themselves are actually cooler than other roofing options, like asphalt shingles, which helps to reduce ambient temperature in the attic and can help save on overall electricity costs.
- Disadvantages of Tile Roofs: Tile roofs are quite heavy. Many roof structures are not strong enough to accommodate their weight. While the tiles themselves have the potential to last a lifetime, the underlayment will need to be replaced several times over the roof's lifetime. If you don’t replace the underlayment, leaks can occur and tiles can break.
- Tile roofing systems can also be quite fragile. Walking on tiles can easily break them. Falling tree branches are also culprits. Because of tiles susceptibility of breaking, it's best to have a qualified roofing professional who is skilled at maneuvering on a tile roof perform any maintenance or repair.
- If you change from asphalt shingle to tile, it typically requires an engineer to ensure the system can support the additional weight.
- Sandcast and clay tile roofs are typically more expensive to replace or repair due to additional labor and material costs.
- Eco-Friendly: Tile roofs are one of the most eco-friendly roofing systems for four main reasons.
- Their longevity allows them to outlast multiple re-roofs required with more conventional system.
- Concrete and clay are mineral-based materials that can be easily recycled and reused.
- Concrete tile reabsorbs up to 20% of carbon dioxide emissions.
- Energy efficient installation techniques minimize heating and cooling costs while reducing reliance on your local electric utility.
Foam: 50+ years with proper maintenance
Polyurethane foam roofs are the most popular roofing systems for flat roofs in Arizona and are widely used for commercial roofing systems.
Advantages of foam roofs: Polyurethane foam has the ability to withstand the expansion and contraction of a building’s structure. It's lightweight, durable, and seamless. Foam roofs insulate your Arizona home, leading to a 7 – 15% decrease in cooling costs.
- Disadvantages of foam roofs: Foam roofs are generally more expensive than more traditional options. Depending on the type of coating you select, foam roofing has the potential to require more frequent maintenance than other kinds of roofs. This can also be turned into an advantage if you choose a more premium coating, such as silicone, that requires minimal upkeep.
- Eco-Friendly: Since foam roofs are able to keep homes cool in the summer and warmer in the winter, foam roofs help to reduce energy expenses and reliance on utility sourced energy, which is often produced from dirty, non-renewable sources.
- Each inch of foam has an R-rating of approximately 6.5, which means it's very efficient at reflecting heat away from the building instead of absorbing it. This also helps keep homes cooler in the summer months.
Azul Roofing Solutions for Your Roof
No matter what kind of roof you choose, it will only last as long as it's properly maintained and taken care of. At Azul Roofing Solutions, we offer free, no-obligation roof inspections to ensure your roof is always in tip-top shape. If you've been considering having your roof looked at, now's the time to act! Contact us through the button below to request your free site evaluation.