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Learning about roof types

What kind of roof does your house have? What is the life expectancy? Most people don’t think about their roof, until something happens to it; either the wind has blown shingles off, or water is coming in. Here are a few of the most popular types of roofing materials:


Asphalt shingle roof

Asphalt shingles: This type of roofing is very popular due to low cost and ease of installation. It’s fire resistant, easy to repair, and come in many colours and styles, with varying life span options and prices. The usual life expectancy is 20 years.

Asphalt roll (torch-on) roof

Asphalt roll (torch-on):This type of roofing is also quite popular due to its low cost and ease of installation. However, it is slightly more difficult to repair than asphalt shingles, and may not remain as durable in extreme weather conditions. The usual life expectancy is 15 years.

Tile roof

Clay or concrete tiles: This material is another great option, as they are beautiful, come in many colours and styles, and are fireproof! It’s easy to maintain and very durable, with a life expectancy of 30 years. Tiles are also very heavy, which means you may need additional roof framing.

Composite panel roof

Composite panel/shingle:This type of roofing can replicate the appearance of slate or tile roofing, while remaining closer in cost to more common asphalt or wood shingle materials. The usual life expectancy is 25 years.

Green roof infrastructure

Green:This type of roofing uses a waterproof membrane, above which a growing area is provided for plants, grass, or gardens. Green roofs are environmentally friendly, but they need to be carefully designed and maintained in order to avoid damage to the waterproof membrane. The life expectancy can vary widely depending upon the climate where the roof is located, and the quality of the maintenance that it receives.

Metal roof

Metal: This material is very popular in areas with high snowfalls. This type of roof sheds snow very well, reducing the risk of collapse. When properly installed and maintained, metal roofs will last 30 years or more. In addition to its longevity, metal shingles are much lighter than most materials and very resistance to adverse weather.

Rubber membrane roofing

Rubber membrane:This type of roofing is popular on low-slope roofs due to its versatility and ease of installation. Rubber membrane roofing should be carefully installed and may require specialized drainage and ballast in order to provide long-lasting protection from the elements. The life expectancy can vary depending upon the thickness of the membrane and the wear and tear that it suffers over time.

Tar and gravel roof

Tar and gravel: This material is one of the few suited to a low slope roof. It consists of layers of asphalt and tar paper that are fastened to the roof surface with molten asphalt applications. The layers are laminated and then covered with gravel to hold them down and protect against UV degradation. The life expectancy for this type of roof is 20 years.

Wood roof

Wood shingles or shakes: This material is also very popular due to the aesthetic appearance and life expectancy. When properly installed and maintained, wood roofs can last 25 years. This material only has a Class C fire rating or none at all. Check your local building codes. You may be able to get a Class A rating (with fire-resistant treatment).


Maintaining your roof

Whatever type of roof you have, you can help improve its lifespan by doing an inspection at least once a year. Check for cracks, curled edges and missing or worn granules on asphalt shingles. In winter, if there’s a lot of snow, hire an expert to remove it from your roof. This will help keep water from entering the house. The rest of the year, keep your eavestroughs clear of debris. By taking care of the simple repairs and maintenance, you can make your roof last longer.

How can I tell if I need to replace my roof?

From the outside, look for:

  • Cracked or curled shingles.
  • Bald asphalt shingles. Look for large number of shingle granules in your home’s gutters or eavestroughs.
  • Moss growth.
  • Wet spots on the interior ceiling.
  • Stained rafters in the attic.
  • Streaks on the exterior walls.
  • Damage around chimneys and vents

From the inside, look for:

  • Sagging roof deck.
  • Water damaged areas on the ceiling or the walls.
  • Light coming in from outside, through the roof

Some damage doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace the whole roof. Leaks can be the result of damaged flashing, or perhaps there are just a few shingles that need to be replaced. Roofing contractors can provide a thorough inspection. This might be something to think about every few years.

Is my roof covered by my home insurance?

The simple answer is yes and no.

Your home insurance policy covers your whole house, including your roof, for various types of damage, depending on the type of policy you have. Damage caused by hail, weight of ice or snow, wind, or falling objects are the types of losses that may be covered. But no matter how broad your policy is, there will be no coverage for any damage caused by wear and tear.

If your shingles blow off because the roof was old and in poor repair, your insurance policy may not respond, or may only cover a portion of the damage. Some policies limit the payment for roof damage to its actual cash value (ACV) or depreciated value, while others will pay to repair or replace the roof.

How can I extend the life of my roof?

To extend the life of your roof, follow these simple steps:

  • Inspect your roof every year. That doesn’t mean you have to climb up on it. Most times, you can spot wear from the ground.
  • Clear off leaves, needles, and other debris.
  • Remove any moss.
  • Remove tree branches that overhang the roof.
  • Clean your home’s gutters or eavestroughs.

Check your home insurance

Your home insurance is there to cover you in an emergency. But your home insurance excludes losses due to wear and tear. If your shingles blow off because the roof was old and in poor repair, your insurance policy may not respond, or may only cover a portion of the damage. Some policies limit the payment for roof damage to its actual cash value (ACV) or depreciated value, while others will pay to repair or replace the roof. To learn more about how your roof relates to your home insurance, contact Square One at 1.855.331.6933.

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