How long do roofs last?

There is no one clear answer to this question. How long a roof will last depends on many factors, including the material used to build a roof, its age, the type of climate where the roof is located, and whether the roof has received needed maintenance and/or repair over the years. Industry experts provide guidance on several types of roofs, giving the following estimates on lifespan: 

  • asphalt shingles: 15-20 years
  • wood shingles/shakes: 10-40 years
  • clay/concrete tiles: 20+ years
  • slate: 30-100 years
  • metal roofing: 15-40+years

These are rough estimates of how long certain materials may last under ideal conditions. Always consult the manufacturer of a roofing material to inquire about their projected lifespan and any applicable guarantees.

How can I tell if my home needs a new roof?

There are some key signs to look for both inside and outside that will make it clear that your home needs a new roof. Some things to look for include:

  • Missing, cracked, curling, or decaying shingles: Damaged shingles that are not adhering to the roof can be caused by exposure to extreme weather like UV rays, heat, rain, and wind. Loss of chemical ingredients that make the shingles flexible and waterproof can result from evaporation, excess moisture, and natural aging, creating a surface that is brittle and easily damaged.
  • Interior water damage: If you are starting to see signs of water damage on interior walls and/or ceilings, especially on upper floors, a faulty roof is the likely culprit. Heavy rainstorms can cause obvious leaking in the attic or crawlspace, and you may even hear dripping that you cannot quickly locate, as it could be in between walls.
  • Higher energy bills: If you haven’t changed any other factors in your home, then noticing an increase in costs to heat or cool the same space can be the evidence you need to know that the insulative qualities of an intact roof have been lost due to damage or age. A faulty or compromised roof will allow the heat of the sun to penetrate into the attic or crawlspace, and that will in turn push heat into your living areas. In winter, it will be harder to keep the cold at bay. Older materials and damaged materials naturally have a lower R-value.

Are new roofs more energy efficient?

Modern roofing materials have higher R-values, which means better insulation and reduced heat transfer. Less heat entering the attic and then influencing the temperature in your living space will obviously reduce heating and cooling costs, making a new roof an investment in energy efficiency. In summer, a new roof’s reflective capabilities will help to prevent some of the sun’s heat from penetrating. Some experts put this number as high as a 30% reduction in surface temperature. Insulation and ventilation, along with the color of your roof can also have major impacts on heat transfer. Newer roofing materials are crafted with better dimensional stability, thanks to polymerization, and are formulated to resist damage from the elements. They will last longer, which means you will enjoy the benefits of reduced energy costs for a longer period of time as well. Working with a home improvement professional ensures that all your concerns are taken into account and that you find the ideal roofing solution for your home.

Can I fix or replace my roof myself?

Some homeowners may feel that they can tackle a DIY roof replacement project. The problem is, we don’t know what we don’t know. It may seem to be simple, but every home and climate can present unique challenges that are best addressed by a trained and experienced roofing contractor who is aware of the latest requirements, safety considerations, and building codes. A roof is only as protective as the installation itself, and there are plenty of things that can go wrong, from inadvertently damaging the roof, to less-than-ideal techniques, or not taking water flow into consideration. Unless a homeowner is themselves a roofing contractor, airing on the side of caution and working with a trained professional is the best and safest way to go.

What are the best options for a new roof?

Today you can find a wide variety of materials being used for roofs, from traditional asphalt to slate, metal, clay tiles, and more. The material that’s best suited to your home often depends on where you live and the local climate and weather patterns. An experienced home improvement professional will be able to help you make the needed decisions and find the ideal material for your next roofing project. Modern roofing materials present varied options, including asphalt shingles and architectural shingles in a variety of colors, textures, and lifelike renderings of wooden shakes and other more maintenance-heavy materials.

Beyond the material itself, some may advocate for the recovery of an aging roof with a new waterproof membrane and surfacing. All things considered, an entire tear off using new materials to replace, not recover an aging roof, is the safest option. This will allow contractors to see any areas of the decking that may need to be replaced, as well as any other roof-related concerns that can only be addressed when the roof is removed.

If my roof leaks does it need to be replaced?

Only a roofing contractor who is able to inspect the roof can accurately determine whether a leaking roof needs to be replaced or simply repaired.

In the event that a piece of flashing has  come loose or a minor, localized amount of damage has caused a leak, then a roof repair is likely all that’s necessary. However, if there are multiple areas that are compromised, and the roof is aging, the cost of repair on top of an eventual replacement would make it more cost effective in the long run to opt for total replacement. 

How does hail damage a roof?

When pieces of hail are about one inch or greater in diameter, they have the greatest chance of damaging your home’s roof. That said, smaller hail that is accompanied by fierce winds can also do plenty of damage. The impact from hail can accelerate granule loss and shingle aging on an already older roof. It can also crack and bruise shingles, leading to roof leaks, excess moisture and mold growth, and eventual structural damage. Tearing and exposed areas on the shingles can leave bare, unprotected spots on the roof, which means your home will not be adequately protected from weather events.

How much does a new roof cost?

The range of roofing prices is wide and varied, with generalized estimates ranging from $6,000 to $20,000 or even higher. Cost depends on many factors, including the specific materials used and their level of quality. If repairs need to be done prior to replacement, that will add to the overall cost as well. A simple roof will be far less expensive to replace than a hipped roof with several dormers and a complex design. If access is difficult or risky, that may also play into the bottom line. And of course, total size will make a huge difference. So even a small, ranch-style house may have a pricier roof replacement than a multi-story home, since the overall footprint, and roof, could be larger. Contact your local expert roofing company in Cleveland to understand all the unique factors that contribute to the cost of a roof.


How can I tell if it's time to replace my windows?

Every piece of your home has a lifespan, and windows can be expected to last roughly 15 to 20 years, depending on initial quality, types of materials used, local weather and climate, proper installation, rate of use, and whether regular maintenance has been performed. Older windows were often constructed using a single pane of glass, which is naturally less insulating. If you’ve been living with older windows for a while now, take a step back and try to analyze them objectively. Look for the following signs to know if it’s time to replace your windows:

  • Visible damage: Cracks in your window glass means that their insulative factor is compromised, and they could be allowing mold, pests, and water to find their way indoors. Damaged windows can also make an intruder’s entrance easier. Before a person is injured or property is damaged, it’s time to replace.
  • Drafts: Not only can a drafty window be annoying and create the need for additional weatherizing each season, it can also mean higher electricity bills as warmed and cooled air seeps out. Humid air can also easily seep in, along with allergens. Properly sealed windows should not allow any air in or out.
  • Condensation Indoors: Condensation forms when two areas of opposite extremes in temperature meet and water vapor in the air releases into liquid droplets. If your home is very humid indoors, it could be a sign that your windows are compromised. Condensation could also be evidence of a leaky window during cold winter months. Condensation between panes of glass is clear evidence of a broken seal and a leaky window that is not doing its job to help regulate indoor temperature. The only place that condensation is not a concern is when it occurs on the outside of your windows.
  • Faded Indoor Furnishings: Much like merchandise left too long in a store window, carpeting, flooring, window dressings and furniture near a window without UV protection will naturally fade due to the sun’s strong rays. Modern windows offer an effective shield against UV light, called low-E glass, that includes a microscopic film to prevent fading and keep indoor spaces cooler.
  • Sounds Get Through: Old-school single pane windows didn’t do much to keep neighborhood and traffic noise at bay. If you live in a busy area, modern double or triple pane glass windows can provide noticeable sound dampening benefits that can make your indoor life more peaceful thanks to additional insulation.
  • Hard to Operate: Older windows with broken latches, cranks, pulleys or other internal mechanisms can be difficult and cost-prohibitive to repair. If you’ve kept up with regular maintenance and your home’s windows are still difficult to open and close, it’s likely a better idea to get new windows that are left with a window stuck in an open position, leaving your home exposed to the elements. Forcing a window open or closed can cause glass to break, opening you and your family to the potential for injury.
  • Curb Appeal: It could be that your windows still operate alright, but you’re looking to overhaul your home’s aesthetic. If you’re planning to move, upgrading windows could be a major selling point for potential buyers, since it’s one less project they’ll have to tackle when they move in. A set of new windows will also naturally increase your home’s resale value.

How do I choose energy efficient windows?

Modern windows often protect interior spaces from exposure to UV light with a microscopic film to prevent fading, keeping indoor spaces cooler. Look for low-emission (low-E) glass, and check that the windows you’re considering include the ENERGY STAR and National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels. Opting for gas-filled windows will ensure higher levels of insulation against extreme temperatures. If you're looking for replacement windows in Cleveland, check that your windows of choice have a low U-factor for better ther­mal resistance and reduced heat flow. There are also ratings that indicate the level of solar heat gain, or solar radiation, and in areas with both cold and hot seasons, a low SHGC rating is best. Additional coatings and options are also available to boost efficiency. 

Many materials have been used to craft replacement windows, including wood, alumnum, and vinyl. Modern vinyl windows can offer the look of wood without the maintenance concerns, and can be more resistant to UV exposure, which is ultimately a more efficient option. Beyond the windows themselves, you’ll want to partner with a home improvement pro who can successfully and properly install the windows to ensure that they perform as promised.


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