Saturday, 26 January 2013

The roofing cycle

I have had to have my roof done this summer, well part of it anyway.  This year it was the west side. side.  Two years ago I had the north and east sides done and my roofer told me when he finished that I should plan on having the south side done soon too.  If I can recall correctly it was only a little longer than ten years ago I had the south side done.  It seems like I am forever having to hire roofing contractors to work on my house.  I though these shingles were guaranteed for 25 years.  What gives?

Thank you for your time,



Well K, thank you for your question.  This is a question that a lot of people ask and struggle with the answer.  If a shingle is guaranteed for 25 years, then why doesn’t it last 25 years?  Well the answer is simple:  This shingle will last for 25 years+/- under IDEAL conditions.  Like in laboratory or on the east side of your house where it doesn’t get the intense afternoon sun or the driving rains or hail from the north.  Here you will find the shingles will fare the best and come close to meeting that 25 year lifespan, disproportionately so to the other three sides of the roof, provided the rest of the building is constructed appropriately.

This quandary leads many homeowners to get trapped in the cycle that you are in, which is perpetual roofing.   If you only do the side that is weathered the most and wait several years between sides, you will be always thinking about having some part of your roof done.  The alternative is to have the entire roof done when one side has out lived its service life.  What is the right answer?  Well I don’t think that there is one right answer. I am a proponent of doing it all at once.  This way you always know that your shingles are the same age, same colour, you can predict and budget for when they will need to be replaced again, and if some warranty claim should arise, you can claim it on any part of the roof with no hassle.  Not only that, it will be cheaper in the long run to pay a reputable roofer to come once  every 15 years to do the whole thing at once than to put him on the payroll and have him back for an annual visit.

That being said there are some distinct advantages for some to having parts done on an as needed basis.  Cost being the biggest factor.  Not a lot of people have the loose cash just lying around that it takes to pay for a project like this. Let’s face it, have your roof done is probably the single most costly bit of routine maintenance any homeowner will do over their lifetime.  Another advantage is short term planning; if you are not sure you will own a property in two years why spend a couple grand you don’t have to replace shingles that will be fine for another five.

After all is said and done, roofing is just a pain in the homeowners butt.  You don’t get any enjoyment out of it but, Lord have mercy on you if you don’t keep it up.  My best advice is to have it all done at once if you can afford it. But, better yet, invest in a metal roof.  It would be worth financing a metal roof over ten years knowing that once it’s paid for you’ll never have to do it again.  Otherwise, get back on the shingle roof treadmill and do it all again.

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