A roof is one of the most fundamental and important parts of your home. It protects you from the elements and the harsh rays of the sun, and it’s also important for the climate control inside — after all, without a roof you’d hardly have a home at all. But most people don’t give their roof a second thought. As long as there are no visible leaks and issues with your roof, why fuss over it?
However, ignorance of any potential problems with your roof is not the same as having a great and fully functional roof atop your home. If you’ve ever asked the question, “How often should a roof be replaced?” you know what we’re getting at. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a roof isn’t something that just lasts forever. You have to make regular repairs and replacement inside and outside your home for all sorts of issues, and your roof is no exception.
When some people learn that some roofs are only designed to last decades, it may come as a surprise. It generally depends on the type of shingles that cover your roof, but whether your actual roof needs replacing is also up to other factors, such as where you live, the type of precipitation and whether your roof has been damaged in some way, such as in a storm or by wildlife.
Typically, the shingles on your roof will determine how often a roof should be replaced. Asphalt shingles are arguably the most common type of shingle, and they tend to last about a decade or two before needing replacement. Some of it is because the granules that protect the shingle eventually come off after about a decade, leaving the shingle itself more exposed to the elements and prone to breaking or cracking. Some shingles such as architectural asphalt shingles may last a bit longer, but you may only gain five or 10 years.
By far the longest-lasting shingles are clay or cement-based. They’re super heavy, requiring specialized roofing construction that can hold all that extra weight, but in sunnier climates they’re great at rejecting the sun’s hot rays and keeping your roof in good order for decades and decades. Unlike shingles that may last a decade or two, cement tiles can last up to 50 or even 100 years and beyond.
A long-lasting alternative to cement tiles is slate roofing, a newer roofing material that is commonly used in luxury homes. Slate roofing is estimated to last up to 100 years, like clay or concrete tiles, and it also looks great. Because of its weight, you may need a reinforced roof, but if your roof needs replacing anyway, you may want to consider going with a more robust tile so that you can avoid roof replacement again in 10 or 20 years.
Another common roofing material is wood shingles, which last about twice as long as asphalt shingles at two to three decades. However, that increased longevity doesn’t come without a cost — you’ll have to engage in periodic maintenance of your wood shingles due to how the wood traps moisture. If that moisture is allowed to settle because of leaves and moss on your roof, you could end up with shingles that decay in just a few years if you’re not careful. If you stay on top of it, you may luck out with a roof that doesn’t need to be replaced in decades. Keep in mind that wood shingles are not great in areas that are prone to fire, and it may actually be illegal to install them in your area.
A second, wood-based option is made of wood shakes, which are thicker and more robust than wood shingles. The benefit is that wood shakes are better at rejecting the sun’s UV rays as well as harsh weather, which can make them a good option in certain instances.
Finally, there’s also metal roofing, which is common with commercial buildings and certain types of houses. It’s very resilient and long-lasting because of materials such as aluminum and steel, and you should expect 50 years of faithful service before needing to replace a metal roof. In fact, some metals such as zinc and copper can last 100 years or more.
Regardless of how often a roof should be replaced due to the shingles used, there are other factors that can affect roof longevity and require some repairs if not outright replacement before a typical roof’s lifespan is up. Things like missed maintenance and the weather can expose faults in your roof long before the shingles fail, and other challenges such as sealant problems and installation issues can reduce the viability of a roof before it is scheduled for replacement.
Unlike heavier shingles that securely sit on your roof via the power of gravity, asphalt shingles are very light and can be blown away, which is why they’re nailed into place. But storms and other events can knock those lightweight shingles free, which may expose a section of your roof for additional damage, especially if it’s left over a sustained period of time. If a storm knocks off some of your shingles at the beginning of the season, you could end up with a significantly damaged or leaky roof before too long, and that could cost you more than just a repair to the roof.
That said, if you notice any damage to your roof you’ll need to act fast. You may not need to replace your roof, at least not right away, but if you leave a lingering issue long enough you could be looking at replacement, as well as the potential for significant damage to the underlying structure and other things in your home. Once moisture gets in, the wood will start to expand and contract, leading to even larger cracks that let more water in — and the cycle keeps going.
It’s why annual roof inspections are a great idea, regardless of what your roof is made out of.
Here at Ace Roofing, we know a thing or two about roofing, including how often a roof should be replaced and what you need to be concerned about with your home’s roof. Depending on what your roof is made out of and when or if it was last repaired, you could already need a roof replacement — or maybe just a quick repair. We’ll take a look and advise you of the best course of action for your existing roof.
Contact us at our Austin, TX office location or submit a business inquiry online so we can assist with your Austin, area roofing repair or replacement.Contact Us