A roof is a significant part of a home’s ability to give shelter, so it’s made to resist the elements and provide a long service life. As they age, however, roofs begin to lose their functionality and offer less protection. Knowing your installation’s material makeup and anticipated life span is essential in determining when your roof needs to be replaced to keep your home safe.
When you have a better understanding of the factors that affect how long your roof lasts, the average life span of different roofing materials and the kind of damage that may indicate a need for replacement, you’ll have an idea of how often to replace your roof.
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Factors Affecting Roof Life Span
There are several factors that directly affect how long your roof lasts. While some issues are outside of your control, there are some you can manage. Either way, it is important to understand the factors affecting the life span of your roof so you can take steps to maintain its integrity.
Climate and Weather Conditions
A roof can sustain various kinds of damage from the climate or extreme weather conditions, ultimately reducing its life span. Even in mild climates, long-term exposure to the sun and ultraviolet rays can cause your roof’s color to fade and its materials to deteriorate. Meanwhile, severe winds, hail or storms can cause more sudden damage, allowing water to enter the inside of the roof’s structure and the interior of your home.
Type of Material Used
There are many types of roofing materials, from asphalt or composite shingles to metal roofing, and each has its own unique benefits. While there are various features that may attract you to one roofing material over another, it’s important to note that some will last much longer than others. For instance, while asphalt shingles are highly economical, they don’t last as long as composite shingles or metal roofing.
Poor installation can lead to issues that shorten the longevity of your roof, such as loose materials, leaks and water damage. Even if you select the most durable material, improper installation will cause it to start failing before its life expectancy is up. That is why it’s essential to hire a reputable roofing company that uses proper practices to conduct the installation.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Regular maintenance and upkeep will help ensure your roof remains in good condition for years. Maintenance may involve anything from cleaning your roofing and guttering systems to ordering biannual roof inspections. Putting these measures in place will also help you identify potential issues and get them fixed before they cause further damage and reduce your roof’s life span.
Average Life Span of Different Roofing Materials
Different roofing materials have different life spans, so if you know when your current roof was installed, you have a rough idea of what you will need to replace it. The following are the average life spans of some of the most popular roofs:
- Asphalt and composite shingles: Asphalt shingles may last 25-30 years before they need to be replaced. However, composite shingles are made to be more durable and can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years.
- Metal roofs: Popular for both homes and businesses, this type of roofing is favored for its energy efficiency and durability. Depending on the type of metal you choose, the roofing material can last 50 years or more.
- Slate roofs: Slate boasts one of the longest average life spans of any roofing material — up to 100 years or more with proper care.
- Cedar shake roofs: This traditional, charming roofing is made with natural wood. With proper installation and maintenance, wood shake roofing can last up to 30 years.
However, when calculating based on this information, keep in mind that the climate your roof is exposed to can accelerate the aging of the material.
Signs Your Roof Needs Replacing
Roof damage that goes unnoticed or unfixed will worsen over time and ultimately shorten the life span of your roof. Once the damage goes past the point of repairs, you might need to consider having your roof replaced. Here are a few signs that signify when it’s time to get a replacement.
Visible Damage or Wear and Tear
As your roof ages, it will inevitably start showing signs of wear. You may notice visible problems such as warping, which can be caused by moisture damage, faulty installation or other factors. Even smaller issues like cracked or missed shingles can be a cause for concern, as they may let moisture in and damage the internal structure of the roof.
Leaks or Water Damage
Leaks can lead to water damage in your ceiling or attic. A sure sign that your roof has a leak is noticing water stains in the roof decking of your attic or on the ceiling below. As the leak worsens, you may see yellow or brown streaks along the walls of your home. Once a roof leak has done a certain degree of damage and caused major issues like sagging in the decking, you will need a roof replacement.
Age of the Roof
Since roofing materials have different average life spans, you can determine whether your roof needs to be replaced based on how long it has been installed. While it’s possible to extend a roof’s life span through proper maintenance and timely repairs, you should still consider getting a new roof once your installation reaches the upper end of the range.
Energy Efficiency and Insulation Issues
When your roof is no longer well-sealed and well-insulated, it loses the ability to keep warm air in during winter, which can require your heating system to do extra work in order to make the space a comfortable temperature. If your energy bills start to increase due to improper insulation in your attic, the best way to improve energy efficiency might be to install a new roof.
When to Replace Your Roof
A roof is a significant investment, so it only makes sense that you shouldn’t be replacing it very often. However, when that day comes will depend on a number of factors, primarily the type and quality of material used. If you hire a reputable contractor to perform the installation and then ensure that your roof receives the necessary maintenance from then on, you will likely only need to replace it near the end of its life span.
Apart from the average life span of your roofing material, there are other signs of old age and damage that will help you determine when it is the right time to replace your roof. These signs can range from broken shingles to excessive mold growth. Consider visually checking the condition of your roof using binoculars or hiring a professional contractor to assess it. A professional roof inspection will let you know the extent of the damage and when a replacement is needed.
Contact Equity Builders Roofing for Expert Solutions
Roofs are resilient but not indestructible, which is why knowing the life span of your roof is essential. It will tell you when you should replace your roof, helping you prevent any further damage around your home. Regular maintenance will go a long way in ensuring that your roof remains in good condition over the years, and may even extend its life span.
If you want to learn more about roof replacement or our other services, contact our team online.