Roofs are built to last, but that doesn’t mean they will last forever! No matter what kind of roofing material is on a building, eventually it will need to be replaced. Here are some of the more common reasons why a roof would need to be replaced on a building

1. Leaking

By far the most common reason that people decide to replace their roof is that it starts leaking. Don’t wait until a leak starts dripping in your house, by then it is already likely that there is significant fungal damage to the wooden structure underneath the roof material. Leaks can occur for a number of different reasons, but the most common reasons for leaks are due to improper installation of the roof material or any of the various roofing components such as underlayment, flashings, drip-edge or ridgecaps. Just because a roof is experiencing a leak, does not necessarily mean that it needs to be replaced. In fact, most of the time a leak can be successfully repaired and the roof can continue to perform leak-free for many years. However, once leaks become common or there are multiple leaks at the same time, as well as the roof being closer to the end of its lifespan, full replacement becomes the best option.

2. Damage

Any roof material is subject to damage. High winds, large hail, tree debris, and many other things can cause damage to roofs, and certain materials are more susceptible to being damaged that others. For instance, standing-seam metal roofs are extremely durable because they are made of steel. They might dent a bit if something hits them hard, but they are very tough and can handle extreme abuse from high winds, hail, debris, etc.. Clay tiles on the other hand are comparatively fragile and will likely break if any tree branches or large hailstones hit them. Modern shingles are quite sturdy, but strong enough winds can still cause them to lift up. If a roof gets damaged in some sort of weather event, its possible that some repairs can be made to fix any issues, but if the damage is severe then the entire roof will need to be replaced. Long term sun and rain exposure is also a cause of damage to a roof. While it does happen quite slowly, and affects roofs with granules more (think asphalt shingles and modified bitumen) eventually enough of the roof material can be worn away to expose the fiberglass core of the material, which signals that the structural integrity of the roof is at risk.

3. Age

Age is another important factor to consider when a roof replacement might be needed. Each roof ages a bit differently, and some roofing materials differ drastically in their lifespan. For example, modified bitumen roofing used for flat roofs will rarely last 20 years, whereas tile and slate roofs can sometimes last for hundreds of years without needing a full replacement. Usually it is a good idea to replace the roof before the roof starts failing and leaks appear in the building. This is because leaking means that moisture is in contact with the wood structure that supports the roof, and moisture leads to fungus which can destroy the structure and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Many people try and save money by putting off their roof replacement, only to lose all those savings and then some when it comes time to replace all the rotted wood underneath their old roof. Here is a simple guide to give you an understanding of how long each roof material generally lasts. Please not that this is dependent on many factors and each brand of material and every individual roof performs differently

Roof Material Lifespan
Asphalt Shingles 30-50 years
Concrete or Clay Tiles 40-70 years
Standing Seam Metal 50-80 years
Modified Bitumen 10-25 years
TPO Membrane 20-30 years

4. Preparing for a solar installation

Many homeowner with roofs over 10-15 years old will choose to replace their roof before getting solar panels installed. This helps save them money by eliminating the need to remove, store, and reinstall the solar panels while the roof is being replaced in the future. This is a tradeoff because a homeowner could save money by waiting to replace the roof until it fails, but the additional cost of having to deal with the solar panels on the roof can far exceed any savings from waiting. Also, there are additional benefits to combining a reroofing project with a solar installation, such as the possibility of having the solar “Investment Tax Credit” applied to the roof cost as well. This is not always possible, so please talk to your tax professional.

5. Aesthetics

This probably goes without saying but some homeowners decide to replace their roof because the want to change how it looks. Whether it has the wrong color or they want to use a different material, the visual component of a roof is very important to the look and feel of a house. Often times this happens before or after the sale of a home, or when major remodeling or work is being done to the building.

These are some of the most common reasons why someone would replace the roof on their building. Are you a homeowner? Have you had to get a roof replaced before? Comment down below why you needed to replace a roof and we will see if it fits into one of these categories.