Most homeowners, at some point, will be confronted with having to replace the prospect of replacing a roof. Roofs, much like other manufactured goods, don’t last forever. They often don’t even last as long as they should. In this article, we will explore the five top things you should consider when replacing your roof.
#1 Asphalt Roofs are the Most Common Type of Roofing, Just Don’t Expect Much More than Twenty Years of Service
Most forms of roofing material are not built to last. The simple fact is that like many manufactured goods there is a degree of planned obsolescence built into the roofing industry; after all, if roofing companies could make roofs that lasted forever they would have a big problem on their collective hands.
The most commonly installed roof is the so-called asphalt roof. Asphalt roofing is a blend of asphalt and chemicals. Asphalt roofing is most definitely not environmentally friendly, regardless of some claims to the contrary. Asphalt is also really not something that you want to breathe in too much either; however, asphalt roofing is everywhere.
You shouldn’t expect asphalt roofing to last as long as other forms of roofing either. Fifteen to twenty years is usually the lifespan of an asphalt roof. These are the least expensive roofs on the market but they don’t last. Even the manufacturers and installers don’t claim that they do. Just as real wood furniture will last many times longer than cheap MDS furniture, the same holds true for roofing material.
#2 -No Roof Will Last Forever, but There is Almost an Exception to the Rule
There are many different roofing options on the market and each have their pros and cons. Asphalt roofing usually offers the lowest years of service before needing to be replaced. Other commonly used, but more expensive, roofing options include metal, cedar shake, slate, clay and composite.
Composite roofing is often made out of plastic and/or rubber. Composite roofing hasn’t been around as long as other roofing options and some rubber based composite roofing options tend to smell as they are, after all, made out of rubber.
Metal roofing comes in many forms ranging from the very expensive, such as copper, to more wallet-friendly options such as steel and aluminum options. Aluminum, unlike steel, will generally not rust and is lightweight.
Metal options offer a vastly improved service life over asphalt roofing. So where is the catch? Well the main potential drawback to metal roofing is that it is considerably more expensive than asphalt roofing.
Cedar shake roofs are made from trees and have an ancient history. But cost can also be a factor with these roofs. Today, fewer and fewer homeowners are opting for cedar shakes due to both cost and longevity.
The most durable of all roofing options are slate and clay. Slate and clay roofs are built to last. In fact, there are clay roofs in Europe that are literally hundreds of years old! Clay is tough, weathers extremely well, but there are two big catches with this option.
First, clay and slate roofs are very heavy and not all homes have foundations that are sturdy enough to support the weight of clay and slate roofs. Secondly, clay and slate are quite expensive. However, many experts say that clay or slate are probably your best roof options if your home can support the weight and you have the budget.
#3-Give that Amazing 50-Year Warranty A Second Look
A 20-year, 30-Year or 50-Year warranty on your roof often isn’t exactly what it seems like. Whatever the warranty may be that comes with your roof, you may want to take another look and carefully read the fine print. The roofing company will most likely not replace your roof once it begins to fall apart.
Warranties in the roofing industry often don’t mean all that much as you might hope. If your roof falls apart after 10 years, you might not be getting a new roof free of charge. The roofing industry simply doesn’t stand behind its product in this fashion. Instead, the warranty tends to be is a prorated one, so you might save a little money on yet another new roof. Again, if you want a roof to last a very long time then you’ll want to opt for a slate or clay roof.
#4-Select Your Own Roofing Materials
Roofing contractors have many reasons why they might want you to use a given roofing material, but you should select your own roofing material. Do your research ahead of time when selecting your roofing material. In this way, you’re the one in control of what kind of roof you get. You’ll also want to take into account what you actually think will look good with your house. There are a variety of different appearances and colors to consider. Don’t let a salesperson talk to you into something you might not be happy with when you actually see it on top of your house.
Your roofer’s personal preferences may have nothing to do with providing you the best roof possible. In short, buyer beware. Do you own homework and lots of it. Your decision is certainly something you’ll have to live with- quite literally in fact.
#5-Do Your Research in Selecting a Roofer and Roof Type
Installing a new roof is no small endeavor, and it’s not one that you want to do again anytime soon. The simple fact is that installing a new roof is expensive, time consuming and can be disruptive to your lifestyle. You don’t want to install a new roof only to discover new leaks or other problems such as horrible fumes or odors.
All of this underscores the importance of understanding all the products that go into your home, including items like underlayment and installation. The time you spend investigating roofing options and roofing contracts is a prudent investment.
Ultimately, there currently is no “exceptional” roofing option. On one end of the spectrum are cheap roofs that need to be replaced every 15-20 years. On the other end of the spectrum are highly durable roofs that are very expensive. Homeowners have to decide which options works best for their budgets and current needs.