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My shingle roof is 21 years old. However, it still looks good. My roof has aged well. Should I play it safe and just arbitrarily replace the roof based on time? Or, is it safe to hold off a few more years? I live in Massachusetts (NOT on the coast) and I've heard estimations for asphalt shingle roofs to be around 20-25 years.

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    Does this answer your question? When is it time to replace the roof? – isherwood Jan 13 at 14:39
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    Would you redo it with an identical roof? Or something more durable like corrugated iron? My previous house had 80 year old corrugated iron working fine, well in excess of your 25 year estimate. – Criggie Jan 14 at 3:23
  • Age is an indicator of when to expect costs, but for building maintenance on the place you live in yourself it's often not worth it to go the preventive maintenance route just based on time alone (if you own multiple buildings it's a different story). – Mast Jan 14 at 8:01
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    I'm on the fence. The roof is currently on the second layer. I'll need a complete tear down when I get a new roof. Bottom line, l live in the house and would like to prevent coming home to a leaky roof. At same time, I don't want to neurotic about it. – Thanh Tran Jan 14 at 12:12
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    Note that the quality of shingles varies widely. Some will barely last 15 years in moderate conditions. Others can last 40. – Hot Licks Jan 15 at 15:07
24

Assuming a shingle roof. When to replace:

  1. It is leaking and can't be easily repaired.
  2. It looks bad. You don't like the looks, or the city is threatening to fine you for code violations.
  3. You want a better roof. Better hurricane resistance in my case.
  4. An unbiased expert says it should be replaced.

The climate affects the expected life--heat is hard on shingle roofs. Are you comparing the lifespan to other shingle roofs in your area? That is a better indication than opinions from people around the world.

15

I would suggest actively saving/setting aside money specifically to replace it, perhaps in 4 years if it appears to be in good shape now. 25 years is a pretty typical rated life, and your costs for replacement go up a great deal if small leaks you don't notice inside the house cause the roof decking to rot before you replace the roof.

  • We just replaced the roof on our (recently purchased) house. There was no visible leakage, and no visible damage until a wind storm blew some shingles off. The replacement went 65% over the estimate because all of the sheathing had rotted, due to the shingles being so old. So if the previous owners had replaced the roof when it had come to end of life, it probably would've cost a little over half as much. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jan 14 at 23:05
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    This might argue for starting to do attic inspections (if accessible / feasible) a few times a year even before setting money aside..? – UuDdLrLrSs Jan 15 at 14:07
  • You'll use the money eventually - whether for the roof on this house or on your next one - or for som other need. If you were to start setting aside when the roof was new, the yearly amount is quite small (call it 1/25th of a new roof at whatever this years prices are.) At this point it's more like 1/4 but that's still 4 times easier than all at once, budgeting-wise. – Ecnerwal Jan 15 at 14:38
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I would not proactively replace the roof. If it looks in good shape (no missing or curled shingles), and there are no leaks, I would let it go.

4

As my long time (multiple home purchases and sells) realtor told me, if it's not leaking, why bother. My situation was a ~20 year old shingle roof over my attached garage, but a newer roof on the main house. It was great advice in my case, as a hailstorm came thru about a year later and I got an entirely free new shingle roof from my insurance company.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. – Daniel Griscom Jan 14 at 13:49
2

I am in Southern Ontario, Canada. Our weather is probably more severe than yours, so this may not apply to you. Anyway, we can't normally expect to get the "rated" life out of an asphalt shingle roof. A 25-year rated shingle will probably need replacing before it's 20 years old. The things to look for are missing shingles, broken shingles (bits missing from the corners/edges), curling, and also if granules have worn off (the granules protect the underlying asphalt from the Sun; once they are gone, UV from the Sun will begin to break down the asphalt). One risk you take with leaving it too long is the possibility of moisture damage to the roof decking. Long before you see drips in your attic, water could already be getting under the shingles and rotting out the roof decking, or possibly other roof structure. That can add to the eventual cost.

  • "Our weather is probably more severe than yours" Not sure why that would be your assumption. It's basically the same latitude. Plenty of snow and ice plus more impact from hurricanes. – JimmyJames Jan 15 at 17:26
  • @JimmyJames Fair point. Our winters probably get colder - a bit of moderation from the great lakes, but not as much as a big ocean. – Anthony X Jan 17 at 23:54
  • I'm not sure where you are in SO and where the OP is in Mass but if you compare the climate of Toronto with that of Leominster MA, it's pretty comparable but Mass has lower average monthly lows in the winter and higher average monthly highs in the summer, and more precipitation. – JimmyJames Jan 20 at 14:53
  • @JimmyJames Interesting. I just assumed that Toronto area climate would be more harsh... I stand corrected. Nevertheless, my remark about useful life vs rated life stands, and I wouldn't try to get a few extra years out of a roof at the risk of potentially hidden water damage underneath. – Anthony X Jan 21 at 0:25
  • Right, before I moved to Buffalo, I thought it was like the Tundra but it's actually frequently warmer here than where I grew up hundreds of miles due south. I call SO the 'tropics of Canada'. – JimmyJames Jan 22 at 15:23

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