Part 1: Extreme Makeover, Replacing Your Roof

Out With The Old, In With The New

Nothing lasts forever, and your roof is no exception.  Of all the parts of our houses, our roofs probably take the most abuse.  Our roofs are our houses’ first line of defense against the weather, and even without taking severe weather effects into consideration, simply withstanding rain and wind and sunlight day after day adds up over time.  Eventually, even without sustaining severe damage, your roof will have served out its serviceable lifetime and will need to be replaced.

As a rule of thumb, when your roof’s warranty is up, it’s a good bet that it will probably need to be replaced. Asphalt shingle roofs, the most common type of roof in America, typically need to be replaced every 20 years. Tiles made of clay or concrete are normally good for around 30 years. Metal and slate, which represent the high end of the roofing material spectrum, are generally good for upwards of 50 years.

Just because your roof hasn’t reached its slated best-before date, however, doesn’t mean that you don’t need a new roof yet.  It’s pretty much a vital need to have at least one roof inspection every year, with an additional inspection every time you get hit by severe weather.  It’s inspections like these that turn up the need to repair or replace your roof.

Listed roofing material lifetimes should not be taken as gospel truth; rather, they should be treated as broad guidelines.  Even though slate roofs, for example, have been known to last hundreds of years, a yearly inspection could turn up evidence that your roof has been effectively aging at a faster rate than expected.

Little things like cracks or pitting in your roofing could lead you to replacing your roof much earlier than expected, especially with the more brittle roofing materials like slate or clay.  Similarly, while some loss is to be expected, abnormally large amounts of shingle granules in your drains are an indicator that your shingles are at or nearing the end of their serviceable lifetime.

While a roof at the end of its life might still be serviceable, odds are that it’s no longer reliable, and that is the main reason why it should be replaced.

Stay tuned for Part II, coming soon, which will discuss one of the most common reasons for replacing your roof: roof damage.