When to Replace an Asphalt Roof
LESLIE: Redd in Utah has a question about roofs; specifically, how long they should last. What kind of roof are you talking about, Redd?
REDD: I got an asphalt roof, you know.
REDD: Yeah, I’ve got the house and it’s been added onto and then – but this roof has been on for, you know, 20 years.
TOM: Yeah, and that’s about as long as they normally last but it depends on a number of factors. You know, in a real hot climate you may only get 15 years. In a cold climate you may get 25 years. It also depends on the level of roof ventilation. If the attic under this roof is well-ventilated so that the attic stays cooler in the summertime, that can add some life to the roof. If this layer of shingles is a second layer, as opposed to a first layer, typically the first layers don’t last as long because they kind of stay hot or retain more heat because of the first layer underneath of it. So 20 years is a good average.
Are you seeing signs that this roof, perhaps, may need to be replaced, Redd?
REDD: Well, you know, I’ve had the guy say, “Oh, you need to replace it because the shingles are curling up on the edges.” But you get up and look on the top – you know, get up on top of the roof – I mean it still – the sand that they put on for coloring and stuff like that, that isn’t coming off. It’s not showing bare asphalt on it. It’s just the curls of the corners of it.
TOM: OK, if your shingles are curling up, I’ll tell you right now that roof is probably older than 20 years. Because the shingle technology has changed and the new ones have been out for a good 15, maybe more, years …
LESLIE: And they don’t even curl, regardless of the wear.
TOM: … and they don’t curl anymore. Yeah, the older ones that are 20, 25 and older are the ones that curl and so, if you’re seeing the edge of those shingles curl up – now, the fact that you don’t – that you still have sand on there, that doesn’t mean the shingle is not worn because what happens is the oil in the shingles evaporates; the asphalt becomes more porous and then it holds more water against the roof. So, if your shingles are starting to visibly deteriorate and curl and crack like that, then I would think that a new roof is in your future. Now we’re not talking about an emergency; you’ve got to do it next week.
TOM: But certainly within the next year; that would a good time for you to start thinking about replacing that and if your shingles are curled like that, I would absolutely not recommend an additional layer because the next layer will look uneven and unsightly. I would definitely strip down the existing one or two layers that are on there right now and put only one layer on.
REDD: Oh, this is an original layer. There’s only one layer.
TOM: I would still strip it off. I wouldn’t put a second layer on if the shingles are curled like that.
REDD: What about putting a metal roof over top of them?
TOM: (overlapping voices) That you could do.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Now, that you could do.
TOM: Yeah, that you could do and that’s – you know, that’s going to be a very expensive solution, but metal roofs are terrific and they last, you know, 50, 100 years.
LESLIE: Fifty years.
REDD: And they’re cheaper in the long run, though.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, if you live that long. (laughs)
REDD: Well, I won’t – well, I won’t live 50 to 100. I’m already 69. (chuckles) Alright, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974 and we certainly hope that Redd makes it through the next roof and the one after that.