Tile (Click for picture) Tile is a great material for roofs, especially here in Arizona. However, if not installed properly, they can begin to leak after a very short period of time. Improper installation is more common than you would think and it can allow the tiles to move out of their intended position (see picture). This allows water to penetrate the roof. Once a leak begins, the roof can deteriorate quickly and tiles can actually fall off the roof (very dangerous if you happen to be standing nearby when it happens). Apart from the installation, tiles can crack easily which also allows water in. If you dont have a good reason, never walk on a tile roof. In some cases, it will even void your warranty (if they can prove that you were up there). The best preventative measure for tile roofs is to look for cracked tiles and tiles that have shifted out of position, then call a professional, your homebuilder or warranty company. Average life expectancy is approximately 50 years, depending on maintenance.
Asphalt Shingle (Click for picture) Asphalt roofs can be found all over the country and perform well in most climates. The main enemy to asphalt roofs here in Arizona is the sun. The intense heat and ultra violet rays will deteriorate the shingles and shorten their life span. If the shingles become brittle, they can easily be damaged by wind. Inspect the roof after monsoon storms for missing or damaged shingles. If your roof is over 15 years old, a higher level of maintenance may be required. Asphalt shingles come in different qualities (i.e. 20 year shingles, 30 year shingles, etc.) Keep in mind that here in Arizona, they actually last fewer years than the stated life expectancy due to the intense sun.
Built Up or Flat (Click for picture) A flat roof is not truly flat and installation is key. If water does not drain off the roof properly, it will pond. This sitting water will ruin a flat roof quickly. If ponding does occur, steps should be taken to redirect the water off the roof and away from the house. This expense is far less than replacing the entire roof. If a leak occurs, it may be very hard to detect precisely where it is coming from which can add to the cost of repairs. Prevention is the approach that should be taken when maintaining a flat roof. These roofs should last for the life of the structure provided they are resealed every 3-5 years.
Wooden Shingle or Shake (Click for picture) Wooden roofs can be some of the prettiest roofs and should last 40 to 60 years if properly maintained. One of the best ways to keep a wooden roof in peak condition is to apply a wood sealer every 5 years or so. This will help keep the shingles clean and protect them from water damage and other elements. Wooden roofs, like tile, can be easily damaged by walking on them so stay off unless you have a real good reason. Annual inspections are important; things to look for include curling, cracked or broken shingles and shingles that have been moved out of place. Nothing will completely eliminate the possibility of a leak. However, following a few simple rules along with a little preventative maintenance can help reduce the risk. And catching problems early will greatly reduce your costs when problems do arise. Remember: If you have any questions or concerns, contact a professional.
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