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Roofing Blog in Marin County, California

How Long Does a Roof Normally Last? An FAQ for Homeowners

House Roof
Roofs don't last forever. If you're a homeowner, it helps to know how old your roof is, how long you can expect it to last, and how to tell when your roof needs service. This FAQ will help you make these determinations so you can be prepared to maintain your roof. 

How Long Does a Roof Normally Last?

The expected service life of a roof primarily depends on the type of material used to make the roof. Metal roofs, for example, can last as long as 40 years - or even longer. Shingle roofs last for approximately 20 years, and wood shingle roofs last for as long as 30 years. If your roof is made from a very durable material, like slate or clay tile, then your roof may last as long as 100 years if it's properly maintained. 
Another factor that will influence how long your roof will last is the climate where you live. In San Rafael, CA, where temperatures are mild, roofs tend to last a long time and may go beyond their expected service life. In harsh climates with constant sun or large annual temperature ranges, roofs may not last as long. 

How Can You Tell When Your Roof Is Failing?

Typically, it's easy to tell when a new roof is needed. Leaks are the most obvious sign of a problem, but other signs include:
  • Sagging areas in the roof
  • Curling or missing shingles
  • Cracked shingles
These problems are all signs that the roofing material has been compromised or the roofing material is starting to age. 

How Can You Tell the Age of Your Roof?

It's hard to tell how old a roof is unless you're an expert or you have records of a roof replacement. Some homeowners can tell how old their roof is by checking the permits at their local building office. If the previous owners got a permit to replace their roof, the files will be on record.
If there are no permits on record, then have a professional roofing contractor take a look. They can tell you how old the roof is and when it will need to be replaced.

What Can You Do to Maintain Your Roof?

There are many things you can do to maintain your roof throughout the year. Cut back any overhanging branches that might fall on the roof during storms or times of high wind. Use a roof rake to clean off your roof on a regular basis, especially if it is regularly covered with leaves or moss.  
Check your roof on a regular basis for missing shingles or other signs of wear and tear. If you start finding a lot of shingle granules in your gutters, then this is a sign that your shingles are nearing the end of their service life. 
Finally, go into your attic on a regular basis and check for signs of trouble. Look for mold, wood rot, stained wood, and wet wood. If you find any of these problems, then have a roofing contractor inspect your home right away.

What Should You Do If Your Roof is Near the End of Its Service Life?

If you believe that your home is nearing the end of its service life, then contact a roofing contractor in your area. Your roofing contractor can tell you whether or not the roof needs to be replaced or repaired and how much it will cost to make those repairs. When looking for a roofer, make sure they have a license and insurance. Check references and meet with each contractor to discuss the project. 
For more information about how long roofs last, contact us at DeMello Roofing. We're happy to answer your questions about your roof. 

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