How Long Does a Roof Last in Washington Weather?
Unlike the blizzards of New England, the tornadoes of the Plains, or hurricanes of Florida, the weather of Washington isn’t likely to cause catastrophic damage to your home. A properly installed roof can last decades. But the roofing materials matter—almost as much as your contractor.
Roofs and Life Expectancy
There are four roofing materials you might consider: asphalt, cedar, metal, and slate. While each has its pros and cons, slate roofs will last the longest at 100+ years. Metal roofs have a life expectancy of between 40-70 years; cedar comes in at 30+ years; and asphalt roofs can last 20 years. BUT –how your roofing system is installed and maintained in Washington weather will really determine how long your roof will last.
How Washington Weather Can Decrease the Life of Your Roof
Because Washington is one of the largest states in the country, when it comes to weather, where you live in the state matters. Eastern Washington tends to be relatively cool and dry. But the western part of the state is wet, humid, and cloudy—the kind of weather that can lead to problems for your roof. Algae and moss thrive in moist, humid weather with lots of shade. And both can damage your roof. If you have asphalt shingles, they likely contain limestone, which is good for durability and heat reflection. But algae feed on limestone. Over time, they can damage individual shingles, weakening the structural integrity of your roof. And as the shingles break down, so do their reflective properties which means you get less protection against heat.
More than 700 kinds of moss grow in the Pacific Northwest and they love moist and shady spots like your tree-sheltered roof. Left to their own devices, mosses can degrade all kinds of roofing materials—even metal. They do this by growing and spreading over, under, and between shingles and gaps in your roofing system. As they expand and push, they damage your roof, causing thin spots, holes, and leaks. Those leaks, especially if undetected, can lead to even more significant problems like structural damage and mold.
How to Increase the Lifespan of Your Roof in Washington
Proper installation is the number one way to increase the longevity of your roof. Licensed, experienced, local contractors know the ins and outs of Washington weather. They know that quality materials, installed to the exact specifications of their manufacturers can withstand both the rainy and the rainier seasons of western Washington. Be sure to ask your roofing contractor the right questions before they start. Find out how long they’ve been doing what they do and if they have preferred contractor status for the products they install. Ask what roofing systems they use and if they understand the importance of ventilation.
The second way to ensure you get the most out of your roof is through regular inspection and maintenance. At least once a year, have a contractor perform a full roof inspection. And be sure to check for roof damage after storms or when tree limbs fall.
To avoid the buildup of damaging algae and moss, take these 4 steps:
- Trim overhanging tree branches
- Dislodge small moss patches before they have a chance to expand
- Pressure-wash your roof using the gentlest setting
- Use anti-moss treatment
Are you ready for a new roof? NOW Remodeling can answer all your questions and install a quality product with an extended manufacturer’s warranty. We are a Preferred Contractor for Owens Corning® well-ventilated roofing systems with moss-resistant shingles. And we know Washington weather because we live here! Request your free quote today.