How Long Should a Roof Last?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions of our customers, it's also one of the most difficult ones to answer without conducting a visual inspection of the roof. Under ideal conditions, roofs can have an effective service life ranging from 15 to 45 years. However, due to certain factors, some roofs may be compromised after only a few years. Once compromised, a roof can no longer effectively protect a property and if issues are left unresolved, significantly and costly damage can occur.
5 Factors That Will Impact the Service Life of Your Roof
1) The TYPE of ROOF you have
2) The QUALITY of the MATERIALS used
3) The QUALITY of the INSTALLATION
4) The AGE of the roof and ENVIRONMENTAL conditions
5) The PROPER FUNCTION of supporting components and systems
The TYPE of ROOF You Have
The type of material used for your roof has a dramatic impact on the service life of your roof. Asphalt shingles, the most common roof type in the Charlotte area, typically last 15 to 30 years. These are generally the most affordable roof option. Moving up to a metal roof, you can expect a 30 to 45 lifespan, but at a significantly higher costs. Last option for most residential roofs are tile roofs. These roofing systems are the most expensive option, due to the cost of materials and the additional structural reinforcement neccessary to support the heavier weight. The higher investment for this type of roof will yield the longest service life, ranging from 35 to 50 years. Spanish tile can last up to 70 years in the right conditions.
The QUALITY of MATERIALS used
As we discussed, different roof types have different service lives. You'll also see huge swings in ranges of service life within the same type of roofing system. Take for instance asphalt shingles, the quality of materials, manufacturer and design of the shingle can significantly shorten or extend the lifetime of the roof. Unfortunately, some roofers will use whatever shingles are cheapest, regardless of quality or manufacturer, often mixing and matching materials that don't function well together.
PRS Construction uses GAF roofing materials exclusively because we know that the quality of materials and manufacturing process are second to none. GAF is the largest provider of residential roofing materials in the US and backs their product with a best-in-class warranty. GAF products proudly display the Good Housekeeping quality seal!
As mentioned earlier, shingle design can also dramatically impact a roof's ability to protect your home for a longer term. Specifically, asphalt shingles come in two configurations, the common and least expensive 3-tab version and the upgraded and better performing Architectural design. 3-tab shingles are cheaper, because they are relatively thin and made up of a single layer of materials. Architectural shingles, however, have two asphalt shingles stripes laminated together. This layering creates a shingle that is better suited to hold up against the elements. When hail hits a 3-tab shingle, the damage is typically much more significant than with an Architectural type.
3-tab shingles usually weigh about 40% less, so they are more easily picked up by high winds. Most are rated for wind speeds up to 60 mph; while Architectural shingles weigh more and are rated for wind speeds up to 80-120 mph. We routinely see winds north of 65 mph in the Charlotte market and is one of the leading causes of damage to 3-tab roofs.
Ask your PRS Roofing Consultant about upgrading to Architectural shingles.
The QUALITY of INSTALLATION
As with most industries, the quality of service can vary greatly, roofing is no different. Unfortunately, if a roof is not installed correctly or using the right materials and components, even the best constructed and designed roof system can experience a shorter life span and ultimately fail.
PRS Construction believes in doing a job right the first time and delivering the same quality of workmanship to our customers that we would our friends and family. We use GAF materials exclusively because we understand that individual roofing components (e.g. shingles and underlayment) need to compliment and work with each other to deliver maximum protection and service life.
The AGE of the Roof & ENVIRONMENTAL Conditions
PRS Construction maintains a MASTER ELITE certification with GAF, which requires us to follow established installation protocols using GAF materials. Because of our certification, we are able to offer GAF extended warranties!
Even the highest quality roofing systems and quality installation can't offset the effects of a roof aging. Like most things, roofing materials begin to loose their effectiveness as the years tick on. A roof shingle that was once a pliable and resilient shingle will eventually become rigid and fragile. Environmental factors, such as high heat, heavy rains, winds and hail can significantly shorten a roof's lifespan and accelerate failure. Take a 3-tab shingle as an example. You have an already thin material that is more likely to be lifted up by heavy winds. Now, imagine that 3-tab roof after it has gone through a few 90 degree plus summers. The shingle material is already starting to lose some of it's resiliency and when a heavy wind hits the roof, it's more likely to lift and crease, creating potential for a leak. Add a few more summers and that same shingle may start to split and crack as the shingle becomes more and more brittle.
The PROPER FUNCTION of other components and systems
The last area that can impact the lifespan of a roof is attic ventilation. Effective attic ventilation helps to keep attics cooler in the summer and drier in the winter, protecting against damage to materials and structure, aiding in reducing energy consumption and helping to prevent ice dams.
If ventilation isn’t adequate, summer sun can cause a massive buildup of heat in the attic space, up to 140°F on a 90°F day. Effectively, the roofing system is getting baked from above and below. An overheated attic, combined with moisture, can cause a number of problems, including damage to roof decking and roofing shingles, which can become distorted and deteriorate prematurely.
In the winter, moist, warm air from the lower areas of your home will rise through the ceiling and into the attic, typically through passes for electrical and plumbing fixtures. In a cold attic, the warm, moist air will condensate on the cold surfaces (rafters, nails and roof decking). This creates excess moisture that can cause the roof decking to swell, creating waviness and buckling to the deck and shingles. If significant enough, it can also cause rotting to occur, which decreases the likelihood that a nail can hold a shingle to the roof. Lastly, excess moisture can also seep into insulation, walls and ceilings below, creating a breeding ground for mold.
Improperly installed or clogged gutter systems can create issues with water being pushed back onto the roof, going under shingles and creating leaks, rot and mold.
Our certified Roof Inspectors will check to make sure that all systems are operating as intended.