Every type of roof system has a different life expectancy which gives you a general idea of how long your roof should last for and when it should be replace. The life expectancy of a new roof is impacted by a few different key facts, the first factor being the quality of the installation. The higher the quality of the installation the greater the chance that your roof system will reach its full life expectancy. This means that every type of new roof system should be installed to the product manufacture specification as well as to the specification of your designated roofing association such as the RCABC.
The second factor is the weather, which has a huge impact of the life expectancy and break down of your roof system. All roof systems require some form of UV protection from the sun which you can find in the form of a ballast on an inverted roof, or granules on shingles or a flat 2 ply SBS roof system. On the opposite end of the spectrum the water that lands on your roof system also greatly affects its life expectancy be it rain, or snow. In conjunction, the UV rays and water work against each other to accelerate the deterioration of your roof system. The UV rays cause the roof system to become brittle and loose its elasticity. This combined with the wet and cold will affect the roofs membrane and it ability to expand and contract as required causing cracks, split seams and other membrane defects. This is especially prevalent in flat roof membrane systems. This deterioration often leads to leaks.
The third factor and best way to combat these affects is to have regular roof repairs and maintenance performed on your roof to help maintain it life expectancy by repairing any defects before damage may occur. If you do not have regular maintenance performed on your roof it will not reach half of its life expectancy. Having regular repairs and maintenance performed on your roof will keep the overall repair cost down while helping to ensure that the roof system reaches it maximum potential, saving you money in the long run. Allowing damage or defects to occur without repair can cause major interior repairs and compromise the structure of the building.
When determining if you should continue to repair your roof or if it should be replace it is important to consider all factors. The cost of repair, the cost of the roof replacement and the life expectancy of the existing system. Although a roof replacement may seem to be more expensive compared to costs of repairing the critical damage it may in fact be more cost effective and beneficial over time. You must determine if the cost of repairs to the roof and interior of your building will out weigh the cost of the roof replacement. There is a point where a new roof is more cost effective in the future as long as it was a quality installation and that maintenance is performed on a regular basis.
If your roof is leaking or you have to do large membrane repairs on a regular basis it is time to consider a re-roof. If you are unsure of what to look for your qualified roofing contractor is the best place to start. They will be able to tell you what the remaining life expectancy of your roof is and if you should continue to repair your roof or if you are better off having it replaced.