Frequently Asked Questions
All too often, roof system problems are discovered after leaking or other serious damage occurs. Periodic (twice-a-year) inspections often can uncover cracked, warped or missing shingles; loose seams and deteriorated flashings; excessive surface granules accumulating in the gutters or downspouts; and other visible signs of roof system problems. Indoors, look for cracked paint, discolored plasterboard and peeling wallpaper as signs of damaged roof areas.
Older roofing shingles and wood shakes typically have a 15- to 30-year lifespan depending on the shingles’ quality, the location and tree cover of your home, and how well the roof was installed originally. Direct sunlight, weather/wind, and poor roof deck ventilation are rough on Bay Area roofs.
Though the CertainTeed and GAF shingles we use today have lifetime warranties, they didn’t a decade ago. We tell our customers that 12 years is a good rule of thumb to go by. At that point, check for these warning signs:
- Curling shingles
- Loss of the asphalt granulation (looks like bald spots)
- Evidence of leaking on your ceilings
- Cracked or discolored interior drywall (painted or wallpapered)
- Decaying shingles
- Missing shingles
- Visible cracks
- Wind damage
- Broken or damaged shingles
- Rusted or missing flashing
If a residential roof is over 15 years old, we recommend you call us out for a look. Sometimes damage isn’t visible to the untrained eye on the ground, and catching it early can avoid expensive interior repairs in the future.
Most new roof systems are designed to provide useful service for about 20 years. Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer.
Actual roof system life span is determined by a number of factors, including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance.
Roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties on their products. Take a close look at those warranties to see what responsibilities and financial obligations manufacturers will assume if their products fail to reach their expected lives.
It depends. If the leak is simply caused by faulty flashing or a small section of roof that has been damaged, then you will most likely only need to repair the source of the leak. If, however, the entire roofing system has failed as a result of poor installation or subpar materials, then a new roof installation is appropriate and often necessary.
Most of the work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severely injure yourself by falling off or through your roof.
Maintenance performed by home and building owners should be confined to inspecting roof systems during the fall and spring seasons to check for cracked or curling shingles and cleaning gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris.
If you feel qualified to inspect your roof, use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber soled shoes and stay on the ladder, (and off the roof system), if possible.