The roof is the structure of a house that is the most affected by
extreme weather conditions. Since it is such an important structure on a
home, it is safe to say that it delivers many benefits and advantages;
most notably is the convenience and safety it offers to the family. In
spite of the obvious advantages, the roof reaches a point where its
ability to protect the rooms underneath deteriorates. The material lasts
for many years, and its lifespan is greatly affected by the type of
materials used; the location of the structure; the provided maintenance;
the installation process; and the competency of the contractor who
installed the structure.
So how long does a roof last? The lifespan of many of these materials
are engineered to last twenty years, and that is according to National
Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) information. When provided with
adequate maintenance and only minor damage due to climate changes, these
materials will last beyond their anticipated lifetime.
Following is the common lifespan of various types of roofs:
Shingles - Typically, both fiberglass and asphalt shingles, the most
common type of materials, last for about 15 to 20 years depending on the
environment and proper maintenance. There is an assumption that the
longevity of this type of material is shorter in warmer climates because
the primary enemy of asphalt shingles is thermal shock caused by an
abrupt change of the ambient temperature in a short period. Attic
ventilation also plays an important role in the lifespan of asphalt
shingles. Good attic ventilation will lengthen the lifespan of the
Wooden Shakes - Ideally, this variety of roofing material
will last between 15 to 20 years. If wood shakes are well-maintained and
not damaged by storms, its usability can be extended up to 30 years.
Clay, and Metal - The total longevity of these types of roofing
materials is from 50 to 75 years and can last up to a century provided
they are adequately maintained. These products are long-lasting and come
in a wide variety of colors and styles.
Many experts create their
prognosis on the longevity of various types of materials considering all
the factors influencing their service life. Numerous people would say
that the typical lifespan of asphalt material is between 20 and 50 years
depending on the product type. Metal roofing can endure up to 60 years.
Regardless of how long these materials last, the reality is that there
are approximately 2 million houses in the United States that need a roof
Extending the Lifespan
To stretch the length
of time that a housetop will last, one very basic thing that should be
done on a regular basis is to inspect it for any damage or leaks. This
can be done by checking the deck through the attic for "coffee stains"
or dark rings. This is a definitive sign that water is leaking from the
roof. After the indoor assessment, go out and use binoculars to check
the roof for trouble spots. If some problems are detected, then the
structure can be repaired before the problem gets worse and causes
extensive interior damage.
Shingle Deterioration Stages
the first stage of deterioration, granulation occurs which can cause
discoloration on the shingle tabs. This is not the stage before leakage
but could be the cause of a shingle's brittleness. During the second
stage, curling will take place followed by the third stage in which
there is an increase in curling of the brittle tabs and portions of
shingle tabs can be seen in the gutters. In this phase, leakage will
occur because water can penetrate the exposed nail heads. During the
fourth stage, more tabs will fall off, and many shingles will curl and
become brittle. It is during the last stage that a homeowner will have
to consider roof replacement.
All types of housetop materials
have their lifespan. This length of time can be influenced by the
climate, the location, proper installation, and the workmanship of the
installing contractor. There are many things to consider when dealing
with the roof. If the goal is to achieve an increased life expectancy of
a roof, it is necessary to provide adequate maintenance. A homeowner
will otherwise have to realize that this roof will have an expiration
date - sooner rather than later!