How Often Does a Roof Need To Be Replaced?
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Have you noticed leaks or damage in your roof? Don't ignore it. A damaged roof can lead to bigger problems like mold, water damage, and even collapse. Keeping your home safe starts with a solid roof.
When you have a roof that is damaged or is simply reaching the end of its lifespan, don’t delay taking steps to get it replaced by a professional roofing company that has experience and is highly skilled. In this article, we walk you through everything you need to know about a roof replacement, how long a roof lasts, different types of shingles, and so much more. Get ready to take a deep dive into replacing an entire roof.
How Often Does a Roof Need to be Replaced?
The big question is "How often does a roof need to be replaced?" We will give some general guidelines to follow rather than specific timeframes for replacing a roof. Each type of roof has qualities that are factors in when a roof begins to show wear and tear. The climate a roof is exposed to has a significant part in the time a roof lasts. And, whether a roof has been properly maintained is a huge element in the length of time a roof works well structurally.
Roofs are not designed to be replaced often. If an experienced, reputable roofing contractor installed the roof, you needn't be concerned that you need to replace your roof until it is near the end of the lifespan. There are cases where extreme weather has harmed the integrity of the roof and it fails prematurely. But, these are not the norm. Generally speaking, if your roof was installed properly, your roof has been well-maintained, and the attic is adequately ventilated, it will reach close to 20 years to 50 years or longer depending on the roofing material.
The Cost and Consequences of Delaying Roof Replacement
When your roof is showing signs that replacement is near, you should not neglect taking action. Delaying roof replacement can result in consequences inside your home that add up to high costs. Waiting until water is pouring in through the ceiling will add expenses that you don't want or need. Postponing a repair or replacement ultimately results in further damage. It's important to contact your local roofing contractor as soon as you notice your roof is showing signs of needing replacement.
Signs that Indicate a Roof Replacement is Needed
Here are six signs that your roof may be near the end of its lifespan.
Age of the roof
Most roofing experts say that a standard asphalt shingle roof should last between 20 to 25 years if it was properly installed and has been well maintained. Other types of roofs have longer lifespans, for example, metal, slate, and tile roofs last 50 years or more.
Cracked, Missing, or Curling Shingles
If your roof has cracked, missing, curling, or otherwise damaged shingles, the integrity of the roof is impaired and problems can occur inside the home such as water damage and mold. Roofs are built to stay intact during high winds and heavy storms. However, if you notice that shingles are missing from the roof after a storm, it can be a sign that the roof itself is failing. Shingles can curl or buckle over time primarily due to sunlight exposure. Look at the slopes of the roof that get direct sunlight to see if there is a flat, even surface or if there are areas where parts of the shingles lift upward. When you notice curling and buckling shingles, it is likely that your roof is close to the end of its life and needs to be replaced.
It isn't easy to find exposed spots on your roof where shingles are missing or damaged, especially if you have a complex roof with many pitches. A professional is equipped to better identify where shingles are missing or damaged than a homeowner is. If there is a significant number of shingles that need replacing, patching and repairing more than likely won't address the issues; instead, you need to replace the roof totally.
Sunlight Coming Through the Roof
Go up to the attic during the daytime and see if there is any sunlight coming through the roof boards. If there is, this is a definite sign that you have a leaky roof that needs to be replaced. Sunlight in the attic means the roof has an opening, such as a crack or a hole, which can:
- Allow water to pass through the roof and into the house
- Allow cool or heated air to escape the house and trigger heating or cooling inefficiency
- Allow embers of fire (for example, during a nearby wildfire outbreak) to get into the house
- Allow pollutants, such as pollen, to get into the house and lower your indoor air quality
Water Damage or Leaks
If you have recently noticed that a ceiling leak is letting water into your house, you should do some investigating. Leaks often occur at roof valleys that direct rainwater to gutters and in areas where the flashing has developed cracks and breaks. If you only see one or two, then a repair will suffice. However, if you see multiple leaks, you may be needing a total roof replacement.
Algae or Moss Growth
Sometimes the sight of moss can be beautiful. On forest floors, growing up tall trees, or even artfully lining walls. But, if you have seen green spots or dark black wet areas on your roof that have been there a while, you may need to start thinking about replacing it. Moss on your roof is harmful. If left untreated, moss can cause decay, shifts in tiles, or disintegrate your roof over the course of time. Additionally, mold and rot can lead to damage to your home that includes internal leaks and lack of support for the roof.
Sagging Roof Deck
When you look at your roof, it should look sturdy. Any sagging is a sign that something is wrong. More than likely, it is wear and tear. Sagging is a common roofing problem that appears in homes with roofs that haven't been replaced in a long time due to a deteriorated structure. It is also a common problem in older homes because of the way they were designed. Sagging usually indicates a structural issue that can be problems in the attic or foundational supports. Though it probably doesn't mean that your house is in immediate danger of a roof collapse, any amount of roof sag is unacceptable and you will need to address the issue.
Factors that Affect the Lifespan of a Roof
This article has already spoken to the lifespan of different shingles. Now, let's look at some of the factors that can affect the lifespan of a roof.
Climate and Weather Conditions
Your roof's life can be affected by climate and weather. Rain, harsh sun, strong winds, snow, hail, and ice over time will affect the roof, especially if you have asphalt shingles. These weather conditions are tough on a roof's shingles when exposed year after year. Small, unnoticeable leaks can lead to significant damage when your roof receives heavy and consistent rainfall. While heavy rainfall gravitates to and infiltrates any weakened areas, ongoing rainfall causes pooling on rooftops, which leads to moisture damage.
Constant exposure to sun and UV rays can cause shingles to become brittle and crack. Additionally, extreme heat and temperatures can cause roofing materials to expand and shrink, leading to damage. If your house is well insulated, it is critical that you have enough ventilation to avoid further damage. Strong, high winds can loosen shingles on your roof or even cause them to crack or blister. Leaving an area exposed to the elements can cause further problems.
And, of course, snow and ice are equally as tough on your roof. In a heavy snowstorm, the snow falls and falls and becomes a very heavy weight that the roof is supporting. Then, as the snow above the dam starts to thaw, the water isn’t able to drain properly into your gutters. This backs up in areas that aren't meant to handle sitting water and can cause ice dams and eventually find its way into your home. Another way ice impacts your roof is when excess water seeps into cracks and freezes. As the water starts to freeze, it expands, which puts stress and pressure on your roof, which in turn creates potential leaks when the frozen water starts to melt in those areas.
Type of Roofing Material
The type of material your roof is made of plays a significant role in how long it lasts. Some materials are more durable than others and are able to withstand the hardships of intense downpours, debris from high winds, and sizzling heat waves. Asphalt shingles are the most common materials and last the least amount of time, usually about 20 years, before needing to be replaced. Fiber cement shingles last a little longer than asphalt at approximately 30 years. The longest-lasting and most durable roofs are slate roofs, tile roofs, and metal roofs. These roofs can last up to 50 years or more.
Quality of Installation
Proper roof installation is one of the most important factors in determining the longevity of your roof. The most common cause of premature roof failure is faulty installation workmanship to begin with. Installation defects can lead to a whole host of roofing problems. The best preventative solution is to make sure you entrust your roof installation to a local professional who really knows the business, has the best-trained installers, and is licensed, bonded, and insured.
Level of Maintenance
You should keep your roof maintained just as you do your automobile. Roof maintenance plays an important role in how long your roof lasts. Whether it’s once or twice a year, maintenance ensures you get the most out of your roof.
Having a professional inspect your roof annually catches any potential problems with your roofing materials and prevents future leaks before they can get started. Without maintenance, a small problem can grow and turn into an expensive repair and cause damage to the interior of your home.
Types of Roofing Materials and Their Lifespan
What is a shingles roof? Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing materials in the United States due to their affordability and ease of installation. However, they have the shortest lifespan of all the materials listed here, typically lasting between 15 and 30 years. They are prone to damage from severe weather and may require replacement sooner than other options.
Metal roofs have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their durability and energy efficiency. They have a lifespan of 50 years or more, making them a long-term investment that can reduce maintenance and replacement costs over time. Metal roofs can withstand severe weather and are fire-resistant.
Clay and concrete tiles are known for their durability and longevity, lasting between 50 to 100 years or more. They are a popular option for homeowners who want a roof that can withstand severe weather and requires little maintenance. Tile roofs also have excellent insulation properties that can help regulate indoor temperatures.
Slate roofs are the most durable and long-lasting roofing material on this list, with a lifespan of 75 to 200+ years. They are made from natural stone and are highly resistant to weather damage, fire, and insect infestations. While they are the most expensive option, they require little maintenance, making them a popular choice for historic and high-end homes.
Wood shakes and shingles are a popular choice for their unique aesthetic appeal. However, they have the shortest lifespan of all the materials listed here, typically lasting between 20 to 40 years. They are also more susceptible to rot, insect damage, and fire, which can increase maintenance costs over time. Homeowners who choose wood shakes and shingles must take extra care to maintain their roofs and protect them from environmental damage.
Average Lifespan of Different Types of Roofing Materials
How long do roof shingles last? Here's a tabular comparison of the lifespan of different roofing materials, starting with the shortest-lived to the longest:
|Asphalt Shingles||15-30 years|
|Metal Roofs||50+ years|
|Clay and Concrete Tiles||50-100+ years|
|Slate Roofs||75-200+ years|
|Wood Shakes and Shingles||20-40 years|
Maintenance Tips to Prolong the Lifespan of a Roof
What is a roof inspection? Inspecting your roof on a regular basis by a high-rated roofer is a very good way to catch minor issues before they progress into big ones. A professional is a trained eye who can see faults that you may not see. This is why you should get the roof inspected periodically. It’s a good idea to get an inspection at least once a year, but if you're doing the proper maintenance, you can extend it out to every two to three years.
Cleaning the Gutters
When your gutters fill up with leaves and debris, they become clogged and water can't flow freely away from your house. It's very important that the gutters are open during a rainstorm or when snow is melting so the water can leave your roof in order to prevent water damage. When the water is not able to drain, it can deteriorate parts of your roof. During the winter, the water can freeze up, leading to ice dams, and in other cases, the shingles can soak it up, causing them to decay. You can also run into water leaks as the water seeps into your home.
As the wind can blow debris and injure people, it can also damage anything on your roof. Keeping your roof free of any type of tree debris, leaves and limbs as well as keeping gutters clean not only improves the appearance but also maintains the integrity to make your roof a longer-lasting product. Debris can bash into units, hatches, lights, or the roof surface itself and cause damage that’ll force you to make repairs.
Removing the debris before a storm happens (and preferably on a regular basis) can prevent serious damage and expensive repairs. Debris that remains on a roof can degrade into organic material that rots. If there is enough rotting on your roof, the structure can become compromised. This can be a slow process, but is dangerous.
Trimming Nearby Trees
Making sure that nearby trees are trimmed so that branches aren't laying on the roof or are too close so as to come onto the roof in heavy winds, rain, snow, or ice storms is very important in keeping your roof structurally sound. Once a year, take notice of any trees that are getting dangerously close to the roof and hire a professional to do the trimming.
Repairing Damage Promptly
When there is damage to your roof, be sure you repair it quickly. When damage is left undealt with, it becomes more severe, possibly affecting the inside of your home as well as the roof.
Roof Replacement Process
Finding a Reputable Roofing Contractor
Here are some suggestions for finding a reputable roofing contractor when you need a total roof replacement:
- Look locally
- Research and verify roofing referrals
- Verify proper licensing and insurance
- Educate yourself about the process
Getting a Roof Inspection
Have a professional inspect your roof to ascertain the state of the structure beneath the shingles. A roofing contractor is able to determine the vulnerabilities and wear of your current roof to better understand how to replace it.
Choosing the Right Roofing Material
What roof shingles are best? A professional roofing company like Allied Roofing Solutions can help guide you in selecting the roofing material that is right for you. They will lay out options and costs including pros and cons to help you make a good decision.
Getting a Written Estimate
It is critically important that you receive a written proposal that contains estimated costs, what the work will include, the type of shingles that will be used, an approximate timeframe for the work to be completed, and any warranty information that is available. If the roofing contractor isn't able to give you this information in writing, don't do business with him.
Permitting and Scheduling the Roof Replacement
As of March 2018, New Jersey does not require a permit for a roof replacement. The state considers replacing a roof to be "minor work and ordinary maintenance." So the next step is working with the roofing contractor to schedule the roof replacement.
The Actual Roof Replacement Process
The actual roof replacement process involves several steps:
- Tearing of the old shingles
- Cleaning out the gutters
- Repairing the roof deck
- Installing an ice and water shield
- Adding flashing
- Attaching the shingles
- Installing ridge ventilation
Cost of Roof Replacement
Factors that Affect the Cost
These are the main factors that affect the cost of replacing your roof.
- Size of the roof
- Roof square footage
- Roof slope
- Waste is factored in for material that is overlapped in valleys & hips, as well as cut off material around flashings, penetrations, and gable ends
- Roofing squares
- Type of roofing shingles
- Roofing design and shape
Average Cost of Roof Replacement
What does a roof replacement cost? Even though the list above indicates that there are many variables in determining the cost of a roof, there are some averages that can be ascertained. The primary cost factors that sway the price of roof replacement are the type of materials and the design of your roof. For example, the standard roof ranges between 1,000 and 3,000 square feet, and you can opt for anything from asphalt shingles to aluminum, clay, or copper roofing.
Your roofing cost estimate will vary based on materials and labor. Roofing materials come either by the square foot, by the bundle or by roofing square—a 10 ft by 10 ft slab of materials. Additionally, up to 60% of your price will account for labor.
Our information is for an average-sized roof that is between 1,000 and 3,000 square feet. On average the cost of installing a new roof costs between $4 and $40 per square foot—or about $7 on average—including both labor and materials. Remember that in roofing terms, this means between $400 to $4,000 per roofing square or about $700 for the most popular materials. This is a wide range because of the variables that come into play with not only the size of the roof but also the type of shingles and the complexity of the roof. These factors determine the amount of labor involved as well.
Replacing an entire roof can be a very large expense and investment; one that you may not be financially prepared for. Don't panic, financing options are available that you can look into so you aren't paying for the total cost out-of-pocket. Options include financing through your roofing company, getting a home equity loan, using a home equity line of credit, securing a loan from your bank, or using a credit card. Additionally, there are lenders that have financing specifically for roof replacements.
Insurance Coverage for Roof Replacement
Many times, you may need to replace your roof due to a significant weather event that has occurred like a hail storm, hurricane, or tornado. In these cases, your homeowners insurance will more than likely cover the damaged roof.
It may seem logical to contact the insurance company prior to contacting a roofing contractor, but it’s not always in the best interest of the homeowner. Before calling your insurance company, it may be best to contact a roofing company directly. Roofing companies frequently work directly with insurance companies and understand their processes for estimates. A good roofing company like Allied Roofing Solutions can become your advocate and ensure insurance companies do not take advantage of you.
DIY Roof Replacement vs. Professional Roof Replacement
Replacing a roof requires a specific set of skills that are gained over time with experience. It is not recommended that you attempt to do this job yourself. Not only is it a dangerous project, it demands attention to detail or else you end up with a new roof that leaks and won't stand up to the elements.
Pros and Cons of DIY Roof Replacement
Here are some pros and cons of replacing a roof yourself and not using a professional roofer.
- Doing it yourself saves money
- You can do it whenever you want
- You can damage the roof even more
- You may make mistakes that lead to a faulty roof
- It is time-consuming
- You could get injured
Given these negatives, the bottom line is that it is probably not worth doing it yourself.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional Roofing Contractor
Here are seven benefits of hiring a professional roofer to replace your roof.
- Safety. Roofing work comes with some significant risks you shouldn't be exposed to. A professional roofing contractor has the gear and tools that are needed to ensure safety, such as:
- Fall arrest gear
- Roof brackets
- Equipment hoists
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Heavy-duty ladders
- Safety harnesses
- Hard hats
- Warranty. A professional roofer will have warranties on the materials and their work.
- Reliability and Expertise. Quality and reliable roofing work comes from the skills learned through hands-on experience. Reputable roofing contractors spend hours upon hours mastering the craft and developing their skills. No amount of research and watching DIY roofing videos will give you the same knowledge and expertise that extensive experience can.
- Time. Professional roofing contractors work efficiently to meet deadlines. They can do the work faster because it is their trade – they are experts at what they do because they do it every day.
- Cost-Effectiveness. Because a professional roofer has the experience and the access to top-quality products, you get efficiency that benefits you where cost is concerned.
- Tools. A roofer has all the right tools to ensure the project is completed successfully.
- Peace of Mind. Knowing a roofing contractor has the knowledge, skills, and experience to do the job right means you’ll have peace of mind. You’ll know your roof is going to last, giving you reliable protection for your home, possessions, and family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding roof replacement.
How Long Does a Roof Last on Average?
On average, with the most common shingles (asphalt shingles), a roof can be expected to last approximately 20 years when properly maintained.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Roof?
How much does roof repair cost? The answer varies depending on a few factors. One, the size of your roof will ultimately determine how much a new roof costs first and foremost. How to measure a roof for shingles? Roofs are measured by what is called a "square” and this means 100 square feet.
Pricing is done per square, which includes tearing off the existing shingles, laying the new garment, followed by the asphalt shingles. The cost per square is determined by the type of shingles a homeowner selects. Using three-tab shingles, the average cost is $380 per square. Using architectural shingles, the price on average is $400 to $425 per square. Using these numbers, if an average size home is 20 square, the cost of replacement would be somewhere between $7,600 to $800.[H3] What factors affect the cost of a roof replacement?
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of a Roof Replacement?
As written earlier, if you need a new roof due to a severe weather event, the answer is "yes." If there’s extensive damage to your roof, then there should be no question that it’ll be covered. However, depending on what the insurance adjuster finds during their inspection, they will either determine if your roof is worthy of a full replacement or not. As long as the damage is caused by extreme weather, your homeowner’s insurance should cover your roof and pay to replace it.
Can I Replace My Roof Myself?
You can attempt to replace your roof yourself, but it more than likely is not a good idea. Because you won't have the experience, the proper tools, and the safety equipment, it makes much better sense to use a professional to do the job.
How Long Does It Take to Replace a Roof?
Typically, for a smaller-sized home, a roof replacement can take a day or so. For larger-sized homes with complex roofs, it may take 3 to 5 days.
To conclude, the importance of regular maintenance with inspections can't be emphasized enough in order to get the longest life out of your roof. Additionally, when you do need to replace it, do so in a timely manner so that problems don't escalate. And, finally, choosing the right roofing material and contractor is of the utmost importance.
Contact Allied Roofing Solutions When You Need Roof Replacement
When you suspect that your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, contact our professional New Jersey roofing contractors. If your roof is leaking, don't wait to get our team to inspect and determine the damage. We offer comprehensive services, including roof replacement, roof repairs in NJ and PA, and roof inspections, and we also install gutters and siding to ensure your home is well-protected.
Our local roofing company serves the following New Jersey counties: Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Somerset, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union. Call us today for a free estimate at (201) 773-0633 or fill out our contact form to get started.