One of the most important and costly investments many homeowners will make is replacing a roof. Ideally, the decision is made before the lifespan of the roof has ended and leaks have caused damage inside a home.
Lynn Adams, owner of Lynn’s Carpentry, said a shingle roof typically lasts around 20 years in the Golden Isles. She said when you see lots of gravel in the gutters, it’s a sign it’s time to replace it.
Another test is to see if the shingles are brittle. If a shingle crumbles when it’s bent, it’s time for a new roof, Adams said.
Waiting until you notice a leak can mean thousands of additional dollars to repair or replace structural damage that is often unnoticed by the property owner until work begins.
Most people know the age of their roof when they buy a home, and they should plan to replace it before they notice leaks, said Thomas Mathis, owner of Budget Roofing and Carpentry. By the time many homeowners notice a leak inside, it means a number of other repairs will be required to replace rotted wood, damaged insulation, crumbling sheetrock and ceiling and wall damage.
“If you’ve got an old roof, it’s best to get it replaced if you can afford it,” Mathis said. “It can cause a lot of damage.”
Adams said the severe weather conditions in the Golden Isles, including hot sunny summers with high humidity and powerful storms, reduce the lifespan on roofs. She recommends keeping the receipts from a roofing project because replacement materials are pro-rated if the roof needs replacing before the warranty expires.
When it comes to the decision to replace a roof, metal seems to be the preferred material in the Golden Isles.
While the materials for metal roofs cost a little more than shingle roofs, they last longer, Michael Channell, owner of Michael’s Custom Construction, said.
“It will pretty much last the rest of their life,” he said.
Another selling point is the labor to install a metal roof is less because they take about half the time compared to a shingle roof.
Metal roofs last anywhere from 40 to 70 years, depending on the material.
Choices include copper, tin, stainless steel, zinc and aluminum.
Metal roofs can sustain wind gusts up to 140 mph, they don’t corrode or crack and may be impact-resistant, depending on the material. Metal roofs will not ignite during a wildfire or lightning strike, and they reflect solar heat, which can reduce cooling costs as much as 25 percent.
Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material, coming in a wide variety of colors that are compatible with many home styles. It’s also the least expensive way to replace a roof, with costs ranging from $70 to $120 a square. But extreme weather conditions in the Golden Isles are tough on traditional roofs.
“With a 25-year shingle, you’re lucky to get 20 years,” Channell said. “Sometimes the cheaper way costs more over time.”
Clay and concrete tiles are another option, but not for every home. These tiles are long-lasting, non-combustible and energy-efficient, but heavy and often require addition framing. They are expensive, costing anywhere from $300 to $500 a square, but they will also last approximately 40 to 50 years.
Once a roof is replaced, contractors recommend periodic roof maintenance, including removing debris at least once a year, keeping gutters clean and inspecting the roof for signs of wear and tear or damage.
Mathis said roofs should not be pressure cleaned but if it is needed because of mold, the work should be done by a professional.