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How Often Are Roofs Replaced & What Is Replaced?

You rightly worry about your kids’ nutrition, and your own: what is in that breakfast cereal? How long between physical exams? Do you give your home’s roof the same thought?  Do you ever ask yourself how long roof shingles last, or how often shingle roof replacement should happen? Your home’s roof, after all, protects just about everything else you own and love, from prized pianos to people to pets.

How Long Will Shingles Last?

Today’s blend of asphalt and fiberglass produces a tough, long-lasting, attractive shingle that will give around 20 years of serene service. Shingle roofs are the least expensive residential roofing option at installation, but they are not meant to last lifetimes. 

Shingle roofs are affected by many factors that can cut down their life spans. Consider day-to-day damage:

  • Blunt impact from your kids’ sports equipment, overhanging tree branches, or workers on your home’s roof (satellite dish, chimney repair, gutter cleaning)
  • Invasive rodents and insects can degrade a roof
  • Heavy rains, scorching sun, high heat, and freeze-and-thaw cycles
  • Mold, mildew and water infiltration that destroys your roof’s sheathing, rots roof rafters, and dampens attic insulation

Shingle roofs also deteriorate from major events:

  • High winds that cause uplift or tear-off
  • Snowstorms or ice storms that cause crazing, cupping, and keystoning
  • Thunderstorms that down trees or major tree limbs onto your roof

Nobody can say for certain just how long your shingle roof will last, but a good, local roofer can assess your roof and help you plan for the next one. Perhaps you recently reroofed your home; you likely won’t need a new shingle roof for a long time. 

Perhaps you purchased your home from a previous owner who claimed to have it reroofed recently. You cannot tell about the quality of the shingles, the installation job, and other roof parts by yourself.

A helpful, local roofer can take a look and guide you to an approximate future date. One rule of thumb: a poorly installed roof will likely need to be reroofed soon. 

When Do I Replace My Roof?

So many local factors affect the lifespan of a shingle roof, only you and your reliable local residential roofer can decide when to replace your home’s roof. 

You and your roofer can develop a plan for roof replacement:

  • Do you have the financial resources to feel comfortable replacing it sooner, or do you want to wait? 
  • What risks do you take by postponing roof replacement, such as pest damage, water infiltration, granule loss, or failed flashing?
  • What condition are all the roof components in, such as the roof deck, sheathing, underlayment, water and ice shield, flashing, ridge vents, soffit vents, and gutters?
  • Are problem areas developing or spreading on your home’s roof?

The best answer to when to replace your roof is this: when it needs it. If you work with your helpful, neighborhood roofer, you can get a sense of your roof’s deficiencies and its declining health. That gives you time to plan for the right year, right season, and right financing for a full replacement roof.  

What is Included in Roof Replacement?

Some roofers will tell you that a new shingle roof can be installed atop an old one. Most roofers do not prefer this method, but instead encourage homeowners to have the old roof torn off and replaced. Tear-off means all the old shingles, and most likely the underlayment, will be removed carefully, then carted away. 

Underneath the underlayment (the natural felt or synthetic rolled material that prevents nail holes from letting in water) is your sheathing. These sheets of oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood span the rafters holding up the roof. The sheathing may be rotten, may have black mold or other issues on its underside, and may need to be replaced. 

Let’s assume your sheathing is fine. A new underlayment will be rolled out across the entire roof. Water and ice shield will be applied along the bottom three feet of your roof, and in the valleys. This added layer protects against ice dams and water leaks. 

Starter course shingles are installed, then the field shingles, and finally the ridge vents for adequate ventilation. Proper attic ventilation and insulation are key to a long-lasting roof. 

Other components are also replaced as needed:

  • Rubber boots around roof penetrations
  • Metal flashing
  • Drip edge
  • Gable vents

Done Right

A highly qualified roofer can install an economical shingle roof better than a stormchaser can install a premium designer shingle roof. Why? Installation is more than half the success of a shingle roof. Be willing to engage the best roofer in your area for a job done right.

Contact us at S & S Roofing today to see how we can provide your home with the best shingle roof available. We will roof your house like it’s our own!