the roof

Old House Journal - - Restore -

A new roof may cost up to 10% of the value of a house, but de­lay­ing re­pair or re­place­ment even by a year or two can put the en­tire struc­ture at risk. Ob­vi­ous signs that a roof needs work in­clude miss­ing shin­gles, slates, or tiles, dam­aged or miss­ing flash­ing, and of course, signs of wa­ter pen­e­tra­tion in­side the house. Don’t over­look sec­ondary roofs over ad­di­tions, porches, and en­tries—they’re of­ten the most vul­ner­a­ble. An­other in­di­ca­tor that the roof is near­ing the end of its use­ful life is age, which varies by roof­ing ma­te­rial.

As­phalt & Fiber­glass

Most as­phalt roofs have a life­span of 20 to 40 years. Fiber­glass shin­gles last sig­nif­i­cantly longer, up to 50 years. Warn­ing signs that the roof needs sig­nif­i­cant re­pair or re­place­ment in­clude: • miss­ing or loose shin­gles • curl­ing, cracked, dry or

blis­tered shin­gles • ex­posed or loose nail heads • dark patches (mois­ture pen­e­tra

tion, moss, fall­ing gran­ules) • wa­ter dam­age in­side

the house or at­tic • miss­ing or dam­aged flash­ing • a sag­ging roof line

Even in the ab­sence of warn­ing signs, if heat­ing and cool­ing bills have got­ten no­tice­ably higher, the roof may lack suf­fi­cient ven­ti­la­tion have in­vis­i­ble dam­age. The best so­lu­tion for a fail­ing as­phalt or fiber­glass roof is to re­place it. Take off ev­ery roof layer be­fore reroof­ing, leav­ing the ex­ist­ing deck clean and free of nails be­fore the new roof goes on.

Wood Shin­gles or Shakes

Whether hand-split or ma­chine-cut, wood shin­gle roofs can last up to 60 years—but 15 to 30 is more com­mon for mod­ern, pre­mium wood shin­gles. Longevity de­pends on the qual­ity of the shin­gles and proper in­stal­la­tion. (See “Roof Prep: Se­crets to

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