Roofing Materials – Which One Will Last Longest In Our Australian Climate?

Whether you’re buying your dream home, or investment property, you want every part of it to last as long as possible, right? Upkeep and maintenance are costly; which is why spending a little bit extra for higher quality, longer-lasting materials is worth it in the long run.

The roof on your home is a good example of this. Constantly exposed to our harsh elements, battered by wind, fried by the sun, and drenched by the rain — it’s going to need maintenance or even repair, eventually. The question is, how soon?

The answer depends on a combination of factors, such as the roofing material used, as well as the quality of its installation. In this article, we will compare the three most commonly used roofing materials to see how well they’ll last in our Aussie climate. In our comparison, we will look at tile, tin and of course asphalt roof shingles.

A Note About Comparisons

We’ll state it in each sub-section, but one of the key things in this comparison is we’re assuming the roof has been properly installed to begin with. None of these numbers would matter if the installer has done a poor job.

That’s why it’s so important to get a qualified professional when installing a roof. Shoddy installation practices can slash literal decades off the longevity of your roof, greatly blowing out costs over time.

How Long Do Tile Roofs Last?

You can get some wild numbers when trying to find out how long you’ll get out of a tile roof.

An important thing to remember is that when it comes to tile, you will get one of two numbers: how long the tiles themselves last, as well as how long the roof itself will last. These are not the same number.

Concrete tiles themselves can actually last quite a while. Some report they could last up to a century! But that doesn’t mean the integrity of your roof will. A concrete tile roof is heavy, and requires a combination of elements to keep the weather out.

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Many concrete tile roof brands, when properly installed and well maintained, are guaranteed to last closer to about 50 years. There are a few reasons for this because tile roofs require maintenance, repair and replacement:

  • Concrete tiles crack. As tough and durable as they seemingly are, they can get quite brittle. Tiles can be broken by walking on them while cleaning, or as a result of impact during storms or accidents.
  • The cement mortar that holds tiles in place deteriorates faster than the tiles themselves. Often this mortar cracks and breaks away, and thus and needs fairly regular maintenance.
  • Colour Fades. Over time, concrete tiles lose their colour and will require painting. This cost needs to be factored into owning a tiled roof.

So while the tiles themselves might last the better part of a century, the other parts of the roof necessary to hold them together won’t fare quite as well.

How Long Do Tin Roofs Last?

Metal roofs are popular throughout Australia and offer that quintessential rural look to a home.

Most tin roofs are typically warrantied for about 40 years, similar to tile. Their actual life expectancy of the metal itself, is anywhere from 40-70 years.

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Like the tile roof, it’s often the bits keeping the roof together that will need replacing more than the material itself. However, your steel roofing sheets aren’t about to last a century or so — they’ll be needing replacement at that 40 year mark or so.

Reasons your steel roof will need replacing:

  • The colour fades. Even popular brands of corrugated steel roofing suffers underneath our harsh climate, and colour fading is a known and common problem.
  • The steel rusts and deteriorates. Paint bonded to the metal will slow this down drastically, but it’s inevitable that in the long run, the metal will corrode and start to break down.
  • Rubber seals on every screw deteriorates. Rubber doesn’t last as long as steel even in the best conditions, let alone outside in the elements. This can make the screws, and by extension the steel sheets, start to loosen and potentially leak.

How Long Do Asphalt Roof Shingles Last?

Asphalt roof shingles aren’t yet as popular as tin and tile in Australia, but they’re picking up steam at a rapid rate.

Overseas, particularly in North America, is where asphalt shingles are more commonly seen. A common question is whether asphalt shingles will last in our Aussie climate. Well the answer is yes when you consider the climate extremes within North America. Over there, arguably, they experience an even harsher climate than most of us see here.

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Depending on the brand of asphalt shingle, and how they’re installed, their longevity can vary. At All American Roofing, we knew quality and longevity were essential in Australia, and it’s for this reason why we partnered with the leading brand of shingle roofing – GAF.

GAF asphalt roof shingles are guaranteed for up to 50 years which rivals the warranties offered by other roofing materials as discussed above. GAF roof shingles have been installed on over 50 million homes in North America – which are more homes than we actually have here in Australia! So they have well and truly been tried and tested across all climates.


All three popular roofing materials, as you can see, are expected to last roughly equal lengths of time — a good few decades, up to around 40-50 years. Although we know GAF roof shingles have up to 50 year warranties, this may not be true for other shingles brands.

With these three common roofing materials all offering a similar lifespan, ultimately, it’ll come down to what you want your house to look like. Do you want to capture those classic Australian looks with tile and tin? Or do you want to stand out on your street with the distinctly American or Hamptons style with asphalt roof shingles? The choice is yours.

If you’re interested in using GAF asphalt roof shingles, contact our team today for a quote or to find out more.


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