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Four tips to extend your roof lifespan in Florida

Smart property owners are taking steps to extend their roof lifespan.

Why? A roof is one of – if not THE – most expensive items in a home or business that needs replacement.

A roof lifespan can vary based on building materials, quality of maintenance, weather and upkeep. Just like a vehicle, appliance or furniture, the longer you can make a roof last, the more money you’ll save in the long term.

For homes, a good roof protects furniture, appliances and our belongings. For businesses, a roof protects inventory, electronics and records.

Roofs don’t last forever, though. They withstand UV rays, heat, torrential downpours and, if there is a tropical storm or hurricane, high winds and flying debris.

Roof Lifespan: How Long Will It Last

High-quality roofing materials from a reputable manufacturer, when installed by an experienced roofer, can last decades. However, Florida’s climate is much harsher than other parts of the country.

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors created its “Estimated Life Expectancy Chart for Florida Homes” that offers a ballpark roof lifespan based on roof types. IACHI notes:

“The life of a roof depends on local weather conditions, building and design, material quality, and adequate maintenance. Hot climates drastically reduce asphalt shingle life. Roofs in areas that experience severe weather, such as hail, tornadoes and/or hurricanes may also experience a shorter-than-normal lifespan overall or may incur isolated damage that requires repair in order to ensure the service life of the surrounding roofing materials.”

Below are IACHI’s estimates for types of roofs commonly found in Florida:

  • Asphalt Shingles (3-tab): 10-12 years
  • Asphalt (architectural): 15-20 years
  • Clay/Concrete: 80+ years
  • Metal: 17-20 years
  • Modified Bitumen: 10 years
  • Slate: 50+ years
  • TPO: 10-12 years

Four tips to extend your roof lifespan are outlined below.

LEARN MORE: Why choose Lloyd Roofing?

Tip 1: Twice-Annual Inspections 

Most manufacturers require an annual inspection to keep a warranty valid. However, Lloyd Roofing recommends two inspections annually from a certified, experienced inspector at specific times: 

  • Before rainy season begins: April or May  
  • After rainy season ends: October, November or December 

Why twice a year? The first inspection ensures your roof is ready for what’s to come over the long, hot summer. The second one is equivalent to a wellness check that evaluates how your roof fared. Inspections are like wellness exams; you may feel fine, but doctors may notice changes in bloodwork that indicate a problem could soon surface. 

Tip 2: Preventative maintenance 

During an inspection, an inspector will thoroughly examine all parts of a roofing system, including: 

  • Exterior walls: Check for signs of leaks, staining, missing mortar and cracks. 
  • Interior walls: Check for signs of leaks. 
  • Ceiling: Check for signs of leaks. 
  • Interior roof deck: Check for signs of leaks, deterioration and mold. 
  • Roof edges: Check for deterioration. 
  • Fascia/Coping/Metalwork: Check for signs of leaks, staining, missing mortar, attachment and rusted metal. 
  • Expansion joints: Check for signs of leaks, excessive movement and deterioration. 
  • Field of roof:  Check substrate firmness, fasteners and ballast areas. 
  • Penetrations: Check pitch pans, penetration flashings and draw bands. 
  • Drainage systems: Clean and check gutters, downspouts, scuppers, drains and strainers. 
  • Base/Curb flashings: Check attachment, counterflashing and signs of movement. 
  • HVAC units: Check ductwork, door security, lines, pipes, cabinets, gaskets and equipment base. 
  • Other: Check for oil deposits, surface contamination, soft areas, vandalism, vegetative roof area, solar panels and mountings, ponding water, debris, physical damage, cleaning needs and traffic patterns. 

After a roof inspection, a property owner or property manager will receive a written report. This document is a detailed repair estimate that should note any damage (with photos) and include recommendations for immediate repair and future maintenance. 

Small chips, cracks and concerns never go away. It’s best to schedule preventative maintenance and minor repairs before major problems surface. Lloyd Roofing employs experienced roofers who can install, repair or replace all types of roofs – tile, metal, shingle or flat – on residential and commercial structures. 

Tip 3: DIY maintenance 

Never walk on the roof; it’s dangerous to both you and the roof itself. However, capable DIYers can still complete some simple maintenance to extend their roof lifespan, including: 

  • Trimming trees that extend over a roof. 
  • Cleaning leaves, twigs and debris from gutters. 
  • Using water to flush any debris from downspouts. 

Standing about 20-30 feet from the home gives homeowners enough distance and perspective to see the roof, looking for visible signs of mold or mildew growth. Typically, darker colors will first form in sections of the roof that are not regularly exposed to the sun. 

Tip 4: Annual Cleaning 

Mold, algae and mildew growth is a common problem for Florida roofs because of frequent rain and persistent humidity. It’s unsightly, but also can damage a roof. 

When the roof starts turning green, brown or black, many homeowners and business owners think pressure washing is the answer. Unfortunately, power washing can create bigger problems, no matter what type of roof you have: 

  • Tile: Strips the surface, loosens adhesives and makes tiles more porous, which creates an environment even more suitable for mold growth. 
  • Shingle: Removes granules that protect a roof and loosens adhesives that attach shingles. 
  • Metal: Dents can cause damage to the color coating 
  • Flat: Damages flashing, seams, membranes and fasteners, and potentially can void warranties. 

Even experienced DIYers should not attempt to clean a roof. Instead, hire a licensed company that specializes in roof cleaning. The best soft washes use biodegradable treatments to kill bacteria and algae, and are pre-approved products to use on roofs. Most importantly, soft washing uses a low-pressure stream – no more powerful than a typical garden hose. 

READ MORE: Residential Roofing Services 

READ MORE: Commercial Roofing Services 

The one element that many property owners fail to consider is keeping written documentation of all inspection reports and maintenance records. Manufacturers need that documentation when processing warranty claims. Without those files, manufacturers are within their rights to invalidate a warranty. 

Want to increase your roof lifespan? Take the first step by contacting Lloyd Roofing for an initial consultation. 

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