What’s the typical lifespan of my roof system?

There are roofing systems that are made from wood, metal, clay, slate, concrete, cementious fiber, asphalt, plastic and modified materials. Each system has unique properties that assist in longer lifespans for various roofing scenarios. A good way to determine how long you can expect your roof to last is to check with the manufacturer’s warranty. Use the warranty as a gauge and keep in mind that what the manufacturer claims for lifespan usually is meant to be interpreted under ideal installation factors.

Most tile roofs, for example, have a “good better best” underlayment system. The tiles themselves might be 50 year or more lifespan design, but for the roof system to actually achieve 50 years, “best practice” underlayment and ventilation systems must be used. You should also realize that with a preventive roof maintenance plan that utilizes seasonal inspections, you can greatly enhance the lifespan of your roof. When considering roofing materials, always talk with your roofer about the steps that you should take to maintain its condition as well as anything that you should do to ensure that you don’t void the warranty. By taking the time to choose the best roofing materials for your house’s design, structure and geographical location, you will have a better chance of enjoying your new roof for many years to come.

Most roofing products, such as asphalt shingles, come in different weights and thicknesses. To achieve the longest “lifetime” or “50 year” type warranties with 20 year workmanship warranties, proper technique in nailing, underlayment, flashing, ice and water shield as well as ventilation must be achieved. Some less than scrupulous roofing contractors are installing the “lifetime warranty” shingles without paying heed to the stringent (read: expensive) requirements the manufacturers impose to actually achieve the longer warranty.

They get the job due to a much lower price than the professional roofing contractor who has the ice and water shield, flashing, ventilation, and other required entities in their bid. What happens is if the customer ever has a problem with the roof… only then will they know how their roofer sold them down the river. Their roof warranty will be void.

A great way to ensure that your roof stays in great working condition for a lifetime is to build a lasting relationship with your roofing contractor. When you hire a roofer who not only builds your roof but also regularly inspects and maintains it, you will have the advantage of having a roofer’s warranty in addition to a manufacturer’s warranty. Your roofing contractor should be much more than the person who installs your roof or someone you call in times of an emergency. By having your roofer, regularly inspect and maintain your roof, you are taking vital steps to preserve your roof system and the integrity of your home for many years to come.