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50-Year Roof Shingles: Worth the Investment?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Donny in Montana, welcome to The Money Pit. What’s going on with your roof?

    DONNY: I was interested to know if 50-year shingles are worth the added cost over 25-year shingles.

    TOM: They will be if the – depending on the answer to this question: are you going to live in the house for 50 years?

    DONNY: Probably not.

    TOM: Then I’d say not.

    DONNY: OK.

    TOM: Because on the resale you generally are not going to get any more money because you have a 50-year roof. If you’re going to live in the house and enjoy all 50 years of those shingles then why not put on the longest possible roof that you could afford? If you’re not going to be enjoying it for 50 years then you may want to use more of a standard shingle which is going to go 20, 25 years.

    LESLIE: But Tom, there’s no benefit as far as weather or environmental conditions as far as durability of the shingle itself?

    TOM: Well, I mean it depends. Are you talking about an asphalt shingle? If it’s an asphalt shingle I wouldn’t think twice about it. If I wasn’t going to be there for the full time I wouldn’t spend extra money for it. If it was one of the composite shingles that maybe looks like slate and is incredibly attractive and there may be some aesthetic value to it and I might just want to enjoy the roof and the way it looks, then I might consider it.

    I mean, metal roofs, for example, are a good example. Metal roofs are gorgeous. Now, there are probably very few of us out there that are going to live in a home for the life of a metal roof which is 100 years and …

    LESLIE: But you put that on there because you like the aesthetic of it. That’s a look.

    TOM: Exactly. Exactly. So if it’s an economic question the answer is no. If it’s an aesthetic question then the answer is it’s up to you.

    DONNY: And I guess the other part of my question was will 50-year shingles really, honestly, last 50 years?

    TOM: You know, if they’re properly installed and you have good ventilation then they probably will. What we tend to find is that, you know, a 50-year shingle or a 40-year shingle or 30-year shingle is really dependent on it being installed perfectly.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: What does that mean? Generally, a single layer because if you have multiple layers the original layer acts as a heat sink; stores heat that accelerates the evaporation of the oil in the shingle and forces it to dry out more quickly. Secondly, you’ve got to have good ventilation in your roof. Good ventilation might be a combination, for example, of a ridge vent that goes down the peak of your roof and a soffit vent at the overhang so that the underside of the roof sheathing is continually cooled, so to speak, in the summer as air moves up under it. So if you have good ventilation and you have a single layer, then I think there’s a real good chance it will last as long as the manufacturer says it will.

    DONNY: Cool. Well thanks, guys.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 

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