Average Roof Life: How to Extend the Life of Your Roof

What is the average roof life? According to the most accurate estimates, homeowners with wood shake roofs can expect them to last for approximately 30 years. Cement shingles meanwhile have a slightly lower lifespan of approximately 25 years and asphalt shingles reach about 20 years.

Though the NAHB has established decent benchmarks for how long a new roof is designed to last it is not the golden rule. There are a number of elements that can shorten its lifespan dramatically.

Whenever you are dealing with something outside you must take into account the weather. Harsh elements such as wind, rain, snow, and hail cause repeated abuse. As does the sun and cold weather. Then there are major natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.

Does a Roof Really Last 30 Years?

The answer to this question is rarely. While wood shake roofs can make it that long they also need a lot of help.

It requires a homeowner to provide some care and routine maintenance. Even the most well-maintained roofs probably need a few minor repairs over the years.

Then you have to account for the weather and hope that it is as cooperative as Mother Nature can possibly guarantee. There is always the opportunity for an unforeseen, especially damaging storm. For example, one that sends a huge branch crashing down on the rooftop.

Some roofers estimate that you can potentially reduce the posted life span of a new roof by about five years. So a 30 year wood shake roof would be more appropriately gauged at 25 years, and 25 year cement shingles at 20 years.

Sadly, really neglected rooftops that are never cleaned or receive treatment for other common roof problems can have a reduction in lifespan of nearly half.

What Are the Signs of a Deteriorating Roof?

Did you just buy a new house and want to inspect the roof? Or have you owned a home for awhile now yet never really took the time and effort to give the shingles a closer examination? Now is as good of time as ever so long as you are comfortable and feel safe being on the rooftop. If not, why not hire a professional roofing service to conduct an inspection?

Signs that you need a new roof:

  • Shingle edges look curled.
  • The tabs of the shingles are cupped.
  • Shingles have cracks.
  • Excess algae has destroyed the protective layer of the shingles.
  • There is noticeable water damage.

At the end of the day, the lifespan test does not lie. If you know for a fact that it’s been more than 20 years since the roof was replaced, chances are you need a new roof.

However, if the following conditions are not readily present on the roof and you know the timetable has not yet been reached for a replacement, there are ways you can try to extend the life of your roof for those that are still in good to average shape.

How to Extend the Life of Your Roof

There are numerous ways you can play a part in extending the life of a roof. Yes, even if elements outside your control may play a role in its lifespan, regular care and maintenance goes a long way.

What can you do to extend the lifespan of a roof?

  • Clean the shingles periodically to remove algae and debris.
  • Make quick repairs of exposed areas to prevent major damage.
  • Also address roof flashing which is as important as the shingles.
  • Remove tree limbs that hang over or close to a roof.
  • Check to make sure ventilation is working efficiently.
  • Properly insulate the roofing area to save on energy.
  • Utilize effective pest control to keep away critters from causing damage.

It is also worth noting that the workmanship of the roof is a huge factor. Poorly installed flashing and shingles are ineffective regardless of the quality of the product.

So hopefully you were able to oversee the installation when the roof is replaced. If not, you’ve been dealt the hand you received and if the workmanship is poor you may need to pay for some adjustments before the problems get out of control.

Proper ventilation, insulation, pest control, and regular cleaning can add years to a lifespan if you start with a roof already in good shape and keep up on its maintenance. You can add an additional layer of protection by keeping the gutters clean and fully functional. Remember that gutters were put in place to provide proper drainage from the roof.

If the gutters are clogged or function incorrectly, water buildup is sure to exist on the roof and present added moisture and pressure. Debris that is on the roof has a similar effect.

The same applies to tree branches which are especially damaging to rooftops. Even if they do not break and collapse on a rooftop, limbs can rub up against the protective layer of the shingles during high winds and rain storms.

Some elect to remove big trees near roofs just as an extra precaution. Even if you would like to keep the tree, pruning it back from the rooftop will prevent broken limbs from crashing down and also reduce the amount of leaves that end up on the shingles or gutters.

The work does not end in the winter as ice dams can develop with snow on the roof as it begins to partially melt. Of course you should never traverse a rooftop that is icy, but it is important to be aware of its long-term effects.

Ensure a Long Roof Life with Feldco

It never hurts to consult a professional every two to three years. A roofing service can inspect the condition of the shingles, and even make small repairs that are not remarkably costly.

It is also a fantastic opportunity to speak with a professional about any maintenance recommendations they suggest for extending the life of a roof.

Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.

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