Build as many walls as you want, but it is not a house until the roofers put a roof in place. The roof will protect you and all that is inside your house from rain, snow, sun and wind. It is the one essential part of your home that cannot be ignored under any circumstance. On a quarterly basis, you should be surveying the lifespan of your roof and simultaneously performing preventative roof repair and maintenance to lengthen the number of serviceable years it will provide.
The roofing materials used will always dictate how long the roof will approximately last before needing a replacement. Less expensive materials will undoubtedly need repairs and replacement much sooner than higher quality and more expensive roofing materials. With all roofs, the key to getting the most out of the material you use is to keep the roof free of debris and hire a roofing company to repair any damage as soon as they occur. The best materials are not going to last as long if the roof is left unattended for years.
Asphalt roofs are the least expensive roofing materials. With the right care they can last as long as 20 years. Repair any punctures as soon as they form to prevent the asphalt from degrading much sooner. A Built-up-Roof (BUR) will alternate layers of asphalt, fiberglass and roofing felt to create a surface that can two or three times as long. However, the most popular type of roof material is the Composite Asphalt Shingle. They are durable, lasting between 30 to 40 years, and are relatively inexpensive to install. Avoid weight bearing loads and make sure it is cleaned by a professional roofing contractor because incorrectly power washing the shingles can lead to more damage.
Roofs made from Wood Shingles are very attractive and are as durable as asphalt shingles, but costs double the price and are more susceptible to debris damage. Wood Shake roofs employ a thicker wood tile, offering longer lifespan and durability. The main drawback to these roofs is that they are made of wood which is flammable, creating a safety hazard that increases dramatically depending on your geographical location. Asphalt roofs may not look as fancy but they are fire proof and this adds a valuable layer of protection to your home.
Homeowners that live in areas with wildfire hazards are increasingly using Metal Roofs. Steel or aluminum are the materials of choice and the panels are laid over the roof structure with the seams overlapping. Metal roofs provide maximum protection from all of the elements. The metal panels are only slightly more expensive than other materials and can last as long as 75 years with ideal maintenance. Metal roofs are the newest of the roofing materials offered and the materials technology is being continuously innovated. Steel panels that can exceed 100 years are currently in development and will soon be available.
Clay and Cement tile roofs can be found practically anywhere in the United States. Traditionally made of clay, but can be made of ceramic and concrete, tile roofs are considered to be the most aesthetically pleasing to the overall design of a house and are incredibly strong and durable. The overlapping tiles are heavy and must be mounted on a sturdy roof frame by a professional roofing contractor. With proper maintenance and care, a tile roof will easily last 100 years. Utmost care must be taken when cleaning roof tiles to ensure they do not crack, as that is the only reason that will cause them to degrade and fail. Avoid walking on them and have them properly maintained with a protective coating.
If you are buying a house, be sure to budget in a roof inspection with your local professional roofers. Knowing the extent of any damage will allow for the problem to be fixed before it gets worst and will allow you to possibly include the expense in the cost of the purchase.
A professional roofing company will send a trained technician that can identify leaks and water damage, will look for warped or missing tiles and shingles, and will assess if there is any mold, mildew or other internal erosion. They can correctly estimate the age of the roof materials and determine how much time you have left before requiring an expensive roofing job. In the scenario that you will need to replace your roof, be sure to take into consideration the best available materials within your budget to get the most out of the lifespan of your roof.