Aug 14 2017

How Often Should I Replace My Roof?

In this modern day and age, it seems like almost everything from cellphones to new cars are designed to be thrown out or replaced after just a few years. While this might not be a bad thing as far as technology is concerned, most homeowners probably don’t want to invest in a roof that needs to be repaired or replaced as often as a trend-obsessed teenager’s smartphone.

 

How often should you replace your roof?

An average roof needs to be replaced after 15-50 years, depending on the material used, ventilation and climate factors like humidity, heat and cold. You should get a roofing contractor to perform a roof inspection every year to see what condition your roof is in and tell you if it needs to be replaced.

If you want to learn more about how often you should be replacing your roof, and how to maintain it, read on!

 

What is the average lifespan of a roof?

If you walk through any neighborhood, it might occur to you that most people’s houses have roofs that typically look the same. However, a roof’s lifespan can vary wildly from house to house, no matter how similar the appearance. Many factors can determine just how long a roof will last. Here are a few typical factors to consider:

 

Material

Different roofing materials have different average lifespans. With typical roof maintenance, asphalt shingles will last about 15 to 18 years. Laminate shingles can do a bit better, averaging at about 24 to 30 years. Wood shingles and metal do quite well (30 to 40 years, and 30 to 45 years respectively), whereas clay tiles can average out at around 50 years.

If we’re talking commercial roofing, the materials used may include bitumen (10 to 16 years), single ply (15 to 25 years), EPDM (10 to 16 years) and concrete (35 to 50 years). There’s also hot mopping, with an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. However, the latter is a very messy process and does emit toxic fumes.

 

Humidity

Humidity can be a roof’s worst enemy. In areas that are prone to heavy precipitation, including snow, sleet and hail, don’t be surprised if your roof’s average lifespan doesn’t quite match what’s in the official description. Winter can be particularly damaging, especially if the weather fluctuates between freezing temperatures and above-zero. Freeze-thaw cycles can cause pretty severe ice dams, leading to a whole host of roof-related problems.

 

Heat

Everybody always talks about how cold it gets in Canada during the winter, but rarely do we talk about the sometimes scorching summer heat. Dark roofs are especially prone to absorbing too much heat, leading to melting and cracking and eventually other problems associated with a vulnerable roof.

 

Poor ventilation

There’s more to a roof than the quality of the shingles or what have you. Good ventilation is very important to ensuring that your roof does not form ice dams during the winter, as it keeps air circulating and your roof cold. In the summer, ventilation also ensures that your roof doesn’t get too hot, thereby reducing the need to lower your thermostat.

 

Age

This is an obvious one, but the older your roof, the more likely it is to require a repair or even a replacement. While you might be in love with that refurbished heritage home with the great asking price, do your future self a favour by asking about roof inspections prior to purchasing a home.

If you know your roof is getting close to retirement time, call up your roofing company to see what can be done to safely prolong its lifespan. Even if you own a brand new home with a brand new roof, don’t neglect it over the years, or you might have to get those roofing contractors to put a new one in a lot sooner than you’d expected.

 

How often should my roof be replaced?

Despite knowing the average lifespan of your roofing material of choice, most roofs need to be replaced after about two decades of good use. Of course, if there are major issues, it might have to be done a lot sooner. Look for signs of severe damage, such as large water stains on your ceilings. Mold and other discolorations will also tip you off about excess moisture. A persistent leak can make for a seriously dangerous roof with structural problems, and may even put you at risk of a respiratory illness.

 

Repair or replace?

If your roof is damaged and you’re torn between repairing it or replacing it, this is a sign that you should probably call up a professional roofing company to get their consultation. A simple patch-up job shouldn’t leave you hemming and hawing – but as soon as you start to hesitate, your gut instinct may be trying to tell you something.

Replacing a couple shingles or dealing with a small animal-related problem may not warrant an entire roof-replacement, or even a partial one. On the other hand, if your roof is getting up there in years and you’re dealing with more than a few stray shingles, replacement may be the way to go.

A new roof is no joke, but having to do mid-sized roof repairs every year on an aging roof may in fact add up to the cost of a total replacement anyway. Partial replacement may not even be worth it either – the difference in cost between a full roof replacement and a partial one might add up to a few hundred. But if the that few hundred more means not having to undergo the process again with the other half of your roof a year or two down the line, a full replacement may just be worth it.

Talking about getting a whole new roof can seem pretty dramatic. If this isn’t something you want to even begin thinking about and you’re not dealing with an overly aged or damaged roof, pay close to attention to how you’re treating this very key feature of your home. Give it the love and care it needs, and you just may be able to maintain your roof’s lifespan beyond the average estimate, so long as luck is also on your side!

For more information, speak to a roofing contractor in your area. If you have any roofing questions you'd like to ask us please don't hesitate to call us at (905) 387 3000 or contact us using the contact form on our website. We'd love to hear from you!

 

Infographic on how often you need to replace roof