The roof of your home is one of the most important parts. A healthy, strong roof helps ensure that your belongings inside your house stay out of the elements. The key to keeping your roof in good shape is knowing how to care for your home’s roofing material as well as completing regular inspections. Use this guide to learn more about different types of roofing and how often you should inspect each type. Knowing warning signs and what is covered by your homeowners insurance can also help you avoid roofing problems.
The lifespan of the roof of your home is dependent on a number of different factors. Your climate and the quality of insulation and materials under your roof can greatly affect its lifespan. Apart from the weather which your roof is exposed to the most important factor in determining roof lifespan is the material used to build it. Roofing materials come in many different varieties, from synthetic materials to natural tiles. Some materials hold up over time and against the elements better than others. On the other hand, some materials are cheaper to install and require less maintenance over the course of the roof’s life.
Metal roofs provide excellent durability for a roof. Often made from galvanized steel or stainless steel, metal roofs can last up to 50 years with little to no maintenance needed. Copper is also sometimes used as a roofing material for metal roofs and can last even longer, up to 100 years if properly maintained. Copper also fades slowly into a pale green shade that many homeowners find pleasant. The cost of installing a metal roof ranges greatly by what type of metal you are using, as well as the size and shape of your roof.
One of the most common roofing materials is asphalt composite shingles, made from crushed rock or fiberglass attached to a shingle. Asphalt shingles are typically one of the least expensive roofing options and are easy to install. They are low maintenance but are less resistant to wind and other extreme weather. You can usually expect asphalt shingles to last about 20 years. Some types of asphalt shingles can last up to 40 or 50 years depending on the material used to cover the tile. However, most shingles are guaranteed by their manufacturers’ warranty for 15 to 20 years.
Made from pressure-treated wood, wood shingles or shakes are a slightly more expensive roofing option to composition shingles. Many homeowners enjoy the weathered look that natural or pre-stained wood shingles give their homes. Wood shingles require more maintenance than other roofing materials, but they are usually treated to be resistant to insects and rotting. You can expect a wood shingle roof to last about 30 years if you follow proper maintenance.
Tiles for tile roofs can be made out of a variety of materials, including clay, cement, slate and metal. Tile roofs generally offer a lot of resistance to wear. Most tile roofs are made from materials that resist bugs and rot as well. A major upside to tile roofs is their long-lasting durability, including resistance to fading from sun exposure and fire-resistant properties. A tile roof can last 40 to 60 years if made from clay or terra cotta, and slate or concrete tiles can last over 50 years and even up to 100 years.
Warning Signs of a Damaged Roof
One of the best parts of a spring cleaning day is the chance to let in fresh new air and let out the stuffiness of winter. You can open up all your doors and windows while cleaning to enjoy the sunshine and the springtime breeze. Not only does this make your home feel refreshed, but it also gives you a chance to look at doors and windows for signs of damage or leaks. Be sure to check the caulking around the windows and doors. Sunshine and exposure to the elements can cause caulk to dry out or flake off. Also, check for signs of water damage anywhere around your windows or doors. This might indicate you have a leak from a broken seal.
Catch Problems Early with Regular Roof Inspections
Although each type of roofing material has different maintenance needs, roof inspections are a great way to avoid issues and catch roofing problems early. No matter what type of roof you have, many experts suggest doing your own roof inspection once or twice a year. Any time there is a major storm or strong winds, it is considered a good idea to give your roof a quick inspection yourself. This allows you to check for damage caused by the recent storm and get repairs done if necessary.
In addition to self-checks of your roof, consider hiring a professional to do a full roof inspection regularly. A professional roof inspection usually includes a look at the interior of your roof, as well as the exterior materials. The interior of your home’s roof is likely made up of underlayers, insulation and various trusses to support the roof structure. These materials are much more difficult for you to check on your own, so hiring a professional allows you to catch problems that you may not have noticed on your own. Plan to have your roof professional inspected at least once every three years. Depending on your roof type, you may want to have your roof inspected by a professional annually. Annual roof inspections are especially important for older homes with aging roofs or if you live in an area that has a heavy rainy season or high winds.
Homeowners Insurance and Roofs
Sometimes even proper maintenance and regular inspections aren’t enough to keep your roof protected. For example, a storm may hit and cause serious damage to your roof. Luckily, your homeowners insurance policy likely covers some or all of the costs to repair roof damage caused by hail, wind or a fire in the home. Your insurance policy may also provide some coverage to the roofs of external buildings on your property, such as a garden shed.
Your homeowners insurance, however, is unlikely to cove roof damage caused by wear and tear or improper maintenance. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to maintain your roof and fix problems associated with normal wear and tear. Contact your agent to double check what roof damage is covered by your homeowners policy so you are ready if anything should happen to your roof.
Examples of Damaged Roofs
Insulation Layer Cracked
Old Composite Roof
Cracked Tile Roof