All good things must come to an end. With age, older roofs and damaged roof coverings are no different.
So, when are older roofs or roof coverings are at the end of their useful life? Well, that depends on a number of factors, including:
- materials utilized
- condition of roof sheathing
- installation methods
- exposure to sunlight / ultra violet (UV) rays
- exposure to westerly winds or north facing slopes
- number of layers of shingles
- location of roof e.g. under trees, TV towers, poorly insulated / ventilated spaces
Keeping the above in mind, generally asphalt “organic” (or traditional) roof shingles have a life span of about 10 to 15 years when new. Asphalt fibreglass shingles come with a longer warranty and generally last longer.
Traditional shingles have a base mat that contain organic materials (e.g. wood, paper) that are soaked with asphalt to make them waterproof and then a top coating of granules that stick to an adhesive asphalt. Fiberglass shingles on the other hand have a fibreglass reinforcing mat soaked with asphalt and fillers to make it waterproof as well. Organic shingles contain more asphalt than fibreglass shingles, are more prone to fire damage and are less brittle than fibreglass shingles. Some organic shingles produced pre-1980 may contain asbestos, and in part was a reason for the development of fibreglass shingles. Asphalt shingles (traditional organic or fibreglass) are not intended for use on low / no sloped roofs.
Roof leakage caused by old or damaged shingles, multiple layers of shingles, poor attic ventilation or improper flashing is a frequent problem. It can be easy & inexpensive to repair damaged shingles & re-caulk roof penetrations. However expensive major roof repairs may be required down the road if they are put off.