"How long will my roof last?" Roofers get asked this question a lot. Sometimes homeowners are a little frustrated if the roofer is not able to give them an exact number of years that can expect to get out of their roof. But there's a good reason for this. The lifespan of a roof largely depends on what sources of wear and erosion the roof is exposed to. Here's a closer look at some specific factors that affect the lifespan of residential roofing.
If you live anywhere near the ocean, there will be some salt in the air. The closer you are to the ocean, the more of that salty spray your home's roof will be exposed to. Salt spray accelerates the rate of corrosion on metal roofs. Even if you have a shingle or tile roof, there will be some metal fasteners, and if they are exposed to salt spray, they will deteriorate faster than they would otherwise. Rinsing your roof with clean, fresh water every few months can help remove the salt and moderate this effect.
Are there trees overhanging your roof? This will shorten your roof's lifespan in a few ways. First off, trees tend to cast shade and trap moisture against the roof, which encourages moss and algae to grow. Second, tree branches tend to scrape against the roof when it's windy outside. This causes shingles to lose granules prematurely. Or, if you have a metal roof, the branches can create micro-scratches that allow moisture to penetrate and lead to premature corrosion. Trimming back your trees can therefore help extend the life of your roof.
Snowfall can also shorten your roof's lifespan. If snow accumulates on the roof and then melts, the continual exposure to water can cause the roof to deteriorate. If your attic is not well insulated, the problem may be even worse. Snow near the peak may melt, and then all that water trickles down to the edge of the roof before re-freezing. This results in large chunks of ice known as ice dams, which can pry the roof off the underlayment, leading to premature deterioration and leaks. Insulating your attic can help moderate the effects of snow on the roof.
Considering the factors above can help you better determine how long your roof will last. If you're able to reduce roof exposure to salt spray, trees, and snow, it will last longer.