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Dealing with Your Roof When It Gets Old

Aug 7, 2008
Most homeowners are surprised to learn that major elements of their home are not designed to last as long as the rest of the home. One example is the roof over your head. Some roofs will last 80 years while some will only hold out for 15.

The anticipated lifespan of a roof can vary wildly. While factors like material types and the quality of installation are certainly paramount issues, the biggest issue is really the wear and tear that nature puts on a roof.

Think about it. The average roof takes a beating. 365 days a year it just sits and bakes in the sun. It expands as it heats up during the day and then contracts as it cools off at night. It gets pummeled by rain, wind and flying objects. Heck, it is pretty amazing it lasts as long as it does.

Given the beating a roof takes, it is not surprising that the type of roofing material used makes a huge difference. A slate rock roof is like putting tank armor on your home. It is going to last for at least 70 years, but it is going to cost you an arm and leg to buy and install.

The current economic situation is pretty bad, so a lot of people are watching their wallet. The cheapest roof replacement you can go with is a wood shingle roof. Beware, however, that while it is cheap up front, it will cost you in the end since it might only last 10 to 15 years.

An additional concern with wood shingles is obviously the fire issue. Wood and fire are a bad mix. If you must go with wood shingle roofing, make sure you get a fire retardant treated shingle set. It will not stop them from catching on fire, but will make it more difficult.

Is there a compromise between slate and wood roofs? Most people believe tile roof systems fit the bill. They are not as cheap as wood shingle roof systems, but will not burn. They are a lot cheaper than slate roofs, but have the minor issue of only lasting 40 years or so. Still, it is a good compromise system.

What about new roofing developments? The solar shingle roof is a system that is getting a lot of interest. Instead of big, bulky solar panels, these solar cells are actually embedded in the shingles. They look like normal roofing shingles.

There are a couple of really cool things about these shingles. First, they are essentially solar panels. They will generate electricity for your home, which can do some major cutting to your utility bill. They also come in many colors, so they can match most homes.

Having a roof over your head is important, but only if it actually keeps the elements out. If yours is failing, take a look at the different roofing systems available. They can change the entire look of your home and even provide power.
About the Author
Tom Burrell is with 866FixMyRoof.com - a Riverside County Roofer providing roof repair and replacement services.
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