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Understanding Your Roof's Lifespan

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The lifespan of your roofing system, is largely dependent on the type of material that has been used, how it was installed, and how often it is maintained. The lifespan of a flat roof for example, varies significantly depending on which application was used, same goes for a sloped roof. Also, calculating a roofs average lifespan is generally done by using average conditions, although there are many variables that could swing that number in either direction, shortening its lifespan, or increasing it.

The average lifespan of different sloped roofing materials are as follows:

Metal - 30 to 45yrs

Concrete Tile - 35 to 50yrs

3tab Asphalt Shingles - 15 to 18yrs

Cedar Shake – 30 to 40yrs

These numbers tend to swing significantly depending on the conditions that they are subjected too. And there are multiple factors that can contribute to a decrease in the longevity of your sloped roof. Some of those include:

  • The colour of your roof: The darker the roofing material, the more heat will be absorbed, leading to a shorter lifespan.
  • Installing a new roof over an existing roof: Multiple layers on your roofing system will decrease its longevity. It is always best when having a complete roof replacement done, to remove all existing roofing material.
  • Ensuring that quality roofing materials are being used for your roof repair or replacement will help to ensure that your roof lasts as long, as expected. Choosing discount materials will shorten its lifespan.
  • Inadequate attic ventilation and insulation will cause a significant reduction in the lifespan of your roofing system. While having a roof replacement done, consider having your attic space thoroughly inspected, as well.
  • Ontario weather: Unfortunate but true, significant temperature variations, like our brutal winters and UV ray laden summers, and wide temperature swings within a short period of time also contribute to a reduction in the average lifespan of your roofing system.

The average estimated lifespan of a Flat roof is also dependant on which application was used, and the quality of the installation. The three most commonly used applications are as follows:

EPDM or Rubber –  Generally guaranteed for 10 to 16yrs, but can last for slightly longer under the right conditions.

TPO – Typically lasts for 15 to 20yrs. Provides slightly more UV protection than EPDM, therefore has a slightly longer life expectancy.

PVC(vinyl) – Can last for 20+ years. Due to its lighter colour, this material provides better protection against damaging UV rays but is generally, the most expensive material out of the three listed here.

Like sloped roofing systems, factors such as extreme weather, and roof colour will have an affect on the life expectancy of a flat roof. However, barring any penetrations, or emergency situations these averages will generally hold true.

The most important thing that you can do to extend the lifespan of your roofing system, flat or sloped, is to provide it with regular maintenance. If this is not a task that you feel comfortable completing on your own, don’t hesitate to contact a local roofing company to maintain it for you. Without proper maintenance, your roofing system is almost guaranteed to fail far before its time, costing you money that you could have been saving for more enjoyable endeavours.

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