We answer your most common roofing questions

For most homeowners, their roof is an enigma: you know it’s up there, but you don’t really know much else about it. Let’s change that. In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions homeowners have about their roofs.

How long will my roof last?

This depends on what your roof is made of. If your roof is covered in asphalt shingles, you can probably expect it to last about 20-25 years before needing to be replaced. Fiber cement shingles and wood shake shingles last about the same length of time. Clay and concrete tiles are far more durable, and can last anywhere from 50-100 years after installation.

Climate also plays a role here. Snow, ice, and rain are all tough on a roof. Homes in dry, warm climates have to contend with UV damage, but their roofs otherwise fare better over time than homes in humid or cold climates. For this reason, a roofer in Phoenix, Arizona will be more likely to warranty their roof replacement work longer than one in Chicago or Boston.

What are the signs my roof needs repairs?

For the most part, your home’s roof is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. You probably don’t think about it all that much. But, you probably should. Excluding fallen branches or trees, most roof catastrophes are slow-rolling events that build up over months. It starts with missing shingles, blown off in last year’s storm. The exposed underlayment is then damaged by ice and snow. In the spring, when everything melts, the moisture reaches the roof structure itself. Your roof leak might seem sudden, but it’s probably not.

A few times per-year, get up on a ladder and take a good look at your roof. If there’s any obvious signs of damage, that’s your sign that you need to immediately call in a roofing professional for an inspection.

Can I fix my own roof?

No. Homeowners run into three problems when trying to repair their own roof: a lack of experience, tools, and safety equipment. Repairing a roof leak takes a steady, experienced hand—you don’t want to be making rookie mistakes on your own roof, or you run the risk of making any existing problems far, far worse. 

Even more importantly, you don’t have the proper safety equipment to repair your roof. Every year, thousands of Americans are seriously injured or killed falling off of ladders and rooftops. It only takes a split-second loss of balance to change your life forever. It’s not worth the risk. Only work with professional, certified roofers who have both safety equipment and up-to-date worker’s compensation coverage.

Get answers to all your roofing questions

Have other questions about your home’s roof and how to best care for it? Talk to a locally trusted roofer in your area: they’ll know exactly how to take care of your roof. Also, take a look at the infographic below for a more in-depth exploration of the questions we answered above, along with several others.

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