How Often to Replace Your Roof

It sits atop every home, protecting it from harmful elements and keeping its inhabitants warm or cool, depending on the season. Yet, the roof is arguably the most overlooked part of the house. Maybe it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind,” or it could be that most homeowners take it for granted. Either way, it usually remains unnoticed until it leaks, or the homeowner starts finding shingles in their yard.

How often do roofs need to be replaced?

It’s important for homeowners to know when it’s time to replace their roof. With so many variables involved, however, it’s not easy to determine how long your roof will last. Based on the roofing material used, there are guidelines that can be followed to help determine the longevity of your roof. Here are examples of the most popular roofs in the state of Florida and their life expectancy. Keep in mind that this is an area where homeowners face challenges trying to protect their homes from sun, strong winds, heavy rain, and even hurricanes.

  • Asphalt Shingles: 15 to 30 years
  • Wood Shakes: 25 to 40 years
  • Clay Tiles: 30 to 50 years
  • Metal Roofs: 50 years and up
  • Slate roofing: 75 years and up
  • Composition Shingles: 12 to 20 years

These estimated roof lives will vary depending on the climate in the area. Harsh winters and excessive humidity could wear out the materials more quickly. After a severe storm or high winds, it’s a good idea to check the roof for damage. Since the roof is vital protection for your house and everything that’s in it, it’s important to confirm that it is still structurally sound.

When is it time to replace roof shingles?

Homeowners should be inspecting their roofs twice each year. With that frequency, they should be able to spot and repair small problems before a leak expands and a large section of the roof fails. Maintaining the roof and conducting visual checks could prevent a roof collapse with extensive damage.

Homeowners can hire a roofing contractor to conduct an inspection, or do it themselves. Here are the most common signs to look for when determining if it’s time to replace your shingles:

  • The roof is covered with moss: in cooler, wetter climates, moss can grow and weaken the integrity of the roof considerably. 
  • Leaks: if the roof is letting water into the house—even the smallest trickle–you need to schedule a roof replacement or repair immediately.
  • Bad shingles: it’s not a good sign if the shingles are warped, cracked, off-color, or look as if they’re bending upward toward the sunlight. Also, the shingles on an older roof should not be losing granules, so if you see these granules in your rain gutter, it’s an indication the shingles will likely need to be replaced soon.
  • Missing tiles: once the roof tiles start falling off, you need to call a roofing contractor quickly.
  • Sagging roofline: sagging problems can be caused by framing issues or rotten, saturated sheathing. In either case, it should be evaluated by a professional roofer.
  • Dried out wood shakes: wood shake roofs sometimes weaken from drying out, which leads to splitting or warping. As the wood curls, it can pull out nails and blow away. Losing these shakes means it’s probably time for a new roof.

The underlying structure of a roof typically lasts the lifetime of the house. However, depending on the material that was used to cover the roof, you may have to repair or replace the structure, too.

Home insurance and roof age

You’ll need to determine the age of your roof when you file an insurance claim. For instance, if you have an older roof, let’s say more than 20 years old, the insurance industry usually considers them to be past their life expectancy. As such, they might reimburse only a portion of the repairs or replacement.

Other factors that could cause an exclusion include:

  • Improper maintenance or neglect
  • Having used certain roofing materials–slate or recycled shake shingles, for example—that are very expensive
  • Roofs with more than two layers of roofing material

An independent agency, such as NSI Insurance Group, can review your existing policy and assist you in identifying coverage issues that could have an impact your finances. Things such as an age limit exclusion on your roof, a separate deductible for windstorm or hail damage, or other excluded roof damage all need the attention of a professional and experienced agency. The agent will know which questions to ask to ensure that you are adequately and properly covered.

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