One of the most common questions we hear as a professional roofing company is “how long will my roof last?” The answer depends on a number of factors such as the type of roof and how well it was installed, weather and climate conditions, and how well the roof is maintained. Obviously, some things are out of your control, but there are steps you can take to extend the life of your roof.
Before we dive into how to prolong the lifespan of your roof, we should discuss and compare the average lifespan of the different roofing materials, as well as how roofs age and the factors that cause a roof to age prematurely.
Average Roof Lifespan
Not all roofing materials age the same and each type will have different life expectancies which can range from 20 to 50 years or more. For example, composite asphalt shingles have an average lifespan of 20 years, while fiber cement shingles typically last about 25 years. Wood shake roofs tend to last about 30 years, with proper care and maintenance. Metal roofs have a longer lifespan averaging 40-80 years, whereas slate, concrete, and clay roofing tiles can last 100 years or longer.
How a roof is installed can impact how long it will last. An improperly installed roof will have a shortened lifespan no matter what materials are used. An expertly installed roof, which will have the requisite bracing and ventilation, will perform better over a longer period. That’s why it’s important to only hire an experienced professional roofing contractor that is knowledgeable in proper roof construction and ventilation, as well as the materials you have selected for your roof. At Pacific West Roofing, we have more than 40 years of experience installing composite, shake and metal residential roofs, which is a solid benchmark to look for when selecting a contractor.
How Roofs Age
Weather and climate are two key factors to how your roof ages, but roof orientation, slope, and even elevation can also affect the life of your roof.
Roofing materials expand and contract as temperatures rise and fall. Here in the Pacific Northwest, weather extremes are common–from freezing temperatures, high winds, and torrential downpours in the winter to simmering heat and even drought conditions in the summer. Weather like this will naturally take its toll over time and extreme weather events can increase the rate of deterioration.
The direction a roof is facing and the slope of the roof will also affect how quickly it ages. For example, flat roofs and roofs with a more southerly exposure will receive more sunlight and UV radiation than roofs with a steeper slope or less southern exposure. Flatter or lower sloped roofs also will not shed moisture as rapidly as steeper sloped roofs. This can also affect how a roof ages, as moisture retention can lead to moss growth.
Tips To Keep Your Roof In Top Shape And Extend The Life
You can’t stop time, nor can you control the weather or change the direction or slope of your existing roof. But with proper installation, adequate ventilation, regular care, and roof maintenance, you can prevent your roof from aging prematurely.
Here is our best advice to get the most out of your roof, no matter the type:
- Hire a professional roofing contractor with a proven track record in roof installation, ventilation, roof maintenance, and repair.
- Check your roof’s ventilation to be certain your roof and attic have been properly vented for efficient air circulation.
- Maintain adequate insulation to better regulate temperatures in your attic.
- Keep your roof and gutters clean and free of leaves and other debris.
- Trim large overhanging branches.
- Inspect your roof once a year and after every extreme weather event. This includes checking your attic space for signs of moisture or mold.
- Have your roof inspected professionally–this is your best assurance all is well and the best way to catch any necessary repairs. This may also be a requirement to maintain roof warranties, so be sure to at least follow the minimum inspection mandates.
- Clean your roof regularly, or have it professionally cleaned. Be sure to remove any moss that may be growing.
- Hire a qualified roofer to do any necessary repairs and prevent issues from getting worse.
- Be proactive! Don’t wait for leaks or mold to happen. Don’t wait for your roof to fail. Regular inspections and maintenance are the best way to protect and extend the life of your roof.
Pacific West Roofing has been installing new and replacement roofs, as well as inspecting and maintaining roofs in the Willamette Valley for more than 40 years. Our crews are experienced pros who are familiar with all types of roofs. If it’s been a while since your roof was last inspected, or you see signs of damage, contact us today to schedule a free roof inspection.