Roof Wear and Tear

What do new homeowners need to know about roofing wear? The signs of wear are obvious—but you're not sure what, if anything, you need to do next. If this is your first experience owning a home or with residential roofing contractors, take a look at the top wear-related questions answered.

Do Roofs Wear Out Over Time?

Like every other part of a new-to-you (but older) home, the roof will age and wear over the course of the structure's lifetime. This means you should expect to see a significant change in the appearance of the roofing material and how well it performs the older your home gets. 

If your home is only a few years old, you shouldn't see obvious signs of wear. Wear in a newer roof may reflect cheap (poor quality and not just inexpensive) materials or improper installation. A licensed roofing company can inspect a prematurely worn roof for materials or installation defects and recommend repairs or a replacement. 

Why Do Roofs Wear Out?

Again, every part of your home wears over time. Unlike your flooring and appliances, the roof is exposed to the elements. This can intensify the rate of wear compared to what you would find in or on the internal parts of your home. Rain, sleet, wind (and the debris it carries), sun, and heat can cause excessive wear. The amount of wear depends on where you live, the overall climate, and the roofing material on your home. 

Roof wear can also result from an improperly draining downspout. A second-story (or higher) downspout that drains onto a lower level roof can create a steady stream of water during and after storms. This pours onto the roofing material or pools. The result is excess wear that can cause shingles to break down or leaks to form. 

Along with general use, or weather-related wear, maintenance can also impact the look and lifespan of your roof. Failure to properly care for your roof can result in premature wear and breakdown. The specific type of care your roof requires depends on the material and where you live. A professional roofing contractor can help you to choose a maintenance schedule and provide routine cleanings/care.

Do Some Roofing Materials Wear Out Before Others?

Yes, some common roofing materials may suffer from premature wear—while others may last for a much longer time than you might expect. Slate, clay, and concrete shingles/tiles typically have the longest lifespan of any residential roofing materials, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) averages. InterNACHI notes that slate can last for up to 150 years and clay or concrete may have a century-long lifespan. Asphalt can last for 20 to 30 years and metal may have a 40 to 80-year lifespan.