Wednesday, April 16, 2014


 Many times during inspections people will ask me how long their roof will last.  This can be a difficult question to answer because a lot depends on the maintenance, kind of material it is, and what kind of weather there has been. 

 There are 3 main types of roofing material that get used in the lower mainland, each has a very general lifespan.
Asphalt Shingles
                Asphalt shingles are typically the most economical material to install.  They are some sort of fibreglass base, and are covered with a sand.  The sand is what protects the shingles from the sun light.  Without the sand, the shingles would quickly shrink and crack from the sun, and would become useless very quickly.  By saying that, it is usually the sun that is the main factor of wearing out asphalt shingles.  The typical lifespan on this is 15-20 years.
Wood Shingles
                Typically more expensive, but usually chosen because of a characteristic look.  They are typically made of cedar which is resistant to many factors such as rot and insect infestation.  Along with that, the resin inside the wood helps maintain the life of the shingles. 
                Maintenance is usually the most difficult part of having wood shingles roof, and typically wear by cracking and splitting.  They also need to have adequate ventilation inside the attic to allow the shingles to properly dry when they get wet.  The lifespan typically has a large range, from 15-40 years, but on the west coast it tends to be on the shorter end of things due to our wet environment.
Concrete Tile
                This is the most expensive material to install.  This is because the material itself requires special modification to attic spaces to ensure the structure can take the weight.  Many companies install this type of tile with a warranty of 40 years.  While the sun wears the previous 2 materials, it is rain that wears out concrete tile more from weathering. 
                Concrete tile is a newer material that is used in the history of roofing material, and the lifespan is only an estimation of 60 years.
                Now as mentioned above, it is maintenance that helps get the most out of your roof.  Without proper maintenance, there is a good chance that your roof may last even less than the estimated lifespan!
                Part of  maintenance is cleaning your gutters.  Very underestimate part, but what can happen with clogged gutters is the water can wash up underneath your shingles due to overflow, and damage the surrounding area.

And another important forgotten item, is to trim back trees that overhang your roof.  Shedding material can act like sandpaper on your roof, wearing away the material at an accelerated rate.  Roofs also need to dry when it rains property, and a overhanging tree will block the sun leaving the roof wet for extended periods of time.

 It is hard to predict how long your roof may last, but with the right maintenance, you can at least get the most out of it, and save yourself money in the process.
Aaron Borsch
Certified Master Home Inspector (CMHI)
A Buyer's Choice Home Inspections - Tricities, BC
Inspected Once.  Inspected Right!
License #: 53540
Phone: 604-880-0818

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