Asphalt shingles are the most common types of shingles used on modern homes. There are a few reasons for this. Number one, it is the most cost effective for builders because of the low cost upfront. However, relative to the initial costs, asphalt shingles also have a relatively long life. They are also aesthetically please, having a lot of options to match a number of different styles. Standard "3-tab" asphalt shingles will generally last about 15 to 18 years. While higher grade, architectural asphalt shingles have a shelf life of approximately 24 to 30 years.
closeup on black asphalt shingles

Wood & Shakes

Shakes are a type of wooden shingles that were traditionally made from splitting logs. Modern shakes can be made from a variety of methods and materials. Potentially, wood roofing can last a long time, but the life expectancy depends on a number of variables. The first concern is the quality of the wood shingles themselves. The type of wood, the quality of cut and the construction all play a significant part in the life of a roof. The second main concern is environmental. Humidity, temperature, local fauna and insect life are all environmental factors that can affect the life of your roof. The delicate nature of this type of roofing give it a higher installation and service cost than other materials. Wood roofing is often an aesthetic choice because of its conditional lifespan and relatively high maintenance compared with other materials. A wood roof has a very unique look that can perhaps be imitated by other materials, but never matched. In general, a well constructed, quality wood roof should last anywhere between 20 to 40 years depending on the quality and environmental factors noted above.
Wood Roofing Shingles

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is becoming increasingly common on modern buildings. While metal roofing is considerably expensive than other types of roofing, it also lasts considerably longer. Some consumer reports indicate a lifespan of up to 70 years. They aren't for all structures though. The weight of the material can sometimes be too heavy for a building. It is however, very adaptable and can be modified to match most design schemes.
Red metal roof tile and smokestack