How old is your roof? If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to check. Most will last for decades if they don’t get damaged by weather, but that reliable longevity can lure you into overlooking small warning signs. Regardless of your roof’s age, don’t let damage or wear go unheeded. You could end up with structural problems that affect your entire home. Take a few moments to learn how long your roofing material should last, how weather may impact it, and what the warning signs look like.
Your roof’s life depends on its materials.
Most homes have asphalt or composite shingles. These last about 20 years, but the premium brands can go up to 50. Fiber cement will give you about 25 years. And architectural asphalt, which is thicker, holds for about 30 years, as does cedar shake.
On the longer end of the scale, metal lasts 40 to 80 years according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Slate and tile stand strong even longer. You can find slate roofs that are more than 100 years old.
But weather can damage any roof.
Durable materials, like metal, slate, and tile, stand up best to harsh weather, but any surface will sustain damage under certain conditions. For example, high winds can push up shingles along the edges, loosening them or pulling them off altogether. If you lose a shingle, those left around the gap become more vulnerable. Depending on how air flows around your house, strong winds can create suction, actually pulling material away. Wind can also bring down tree branches, loosen chimney bricks or satellite receivers, causing breakage.
Hail causes some of the greatest damage to roofs. In a hailstorm, nature is throwing rocks at your house, and the hard, icy balls can dent metal, crack tiles and wear away the protective granules on asphalt shingles. While most material can resist small hailstones, you should always check for signs of damage after a storm.
Roofing material generally stands up well to snow and ice, but heavy conditions could cause cracking. Melted snow can seep into existing fissures, and when it refreezes and expands, it may weaken or fracture tiles and shingles.
The good old sun can even wear out your roof. Intense UV will break down materials over time, especially asphalt and wood shake.
Warning signs will tell when it’s time for repairs.
You should regularly inspect your roof for signs of age or failure, especially after heavy weather. Look for shingles that are curled at the edges or buckled up from below. Note any missing or cracked pieces. With asphalt, check the gutters for granules. These indicate that the protective covering is wearing off. Slate or tile shingles can also sustain small punctures caused by hail or wind-propelled projectiles. Weak slate tiles will also show surface flaking or roughness.
Check for rusted or damaged flashing around the chimney, skylights, vents, and in low valleys. Any rust, dents or tears could allow water to seep in. Also, watch out for mold, fungus or green moss. Wood shake is especially vulnerable in wet climates because it absorbs water over time. Inspect it regularly for mold or splits.
Always examine the roof from inside as well. Go into the attic on a sunny day and look for any light leaks. Bring a flashlight and scan the area for wet spots or water staining.
When you see damage, don’t panic. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your entire roof. However, you do need to have it assessed and repaired to prevent further trouble. If you see something that concerns you or you want an expert opinion, call us at DryHome Roofing & Siding. We’ll let you know how serious the problem is and help you decide what to do about it. Regardless of your roof’s age, regular inspection and maintenance will keep it going as long as possible.