roof-inspectionIn the aftermath of the 2004-2005 hurricane season millions of roofs were replaced in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The roof covering has a finite life span and even minimal windstorms or hurricanes and hail damage can cause substantial damage to the interior of your home if the roof is older or need of replacement.

A roof replacement is part of the normal maintenance routine of the home, an older roof that is damaged in a windstorm will cause a higher claim so many insurers are inspecting the roof covering and roof system for any preexisting damage or indications that replacement is needed. The insurance policy does not cover normal maintenance or wear and tear and claims triggered by a lack of maintenance or worn out roofs can result in significant water damage to the interior of the home. Once the interior is damaged, there is a much higher likelihood the residents will have to seek temporary housing while repairs are completed, this called Adjusted Living Expense (ALE) and adds to the cost of a claim that may have been avoided with proper maintenance and care of the home. The inspection is a visual survey of the roof elements to identify and provide information for the following:

  • To identify the type of roof covering e.g. shingles, tile, metal, built-up, single ply membrane, etc.
  • To indicate that there is a minimum of 3 years useful life remaining on the roof covering
  • To indicate the date of the last replacement or repair
  • To indicate if there was a partial replacement or full replacement of the roof covering
  • To indicate if the roofs covering is damaged, leaking, or in need of routine maintenance
  • To indicate if there are visible signs of damage to the decking, trusses, rafters, or other elements of the roofs structure

Roof replacement, and other home improvement, documentation should be kept in a safe place with your insurance policies, The following information is helpful in identifying the age of the roof:

  • Building permits
  • Copies of contracts for replacement
  • Copies of the warranty for the roof covering indicating the type of roof and years covered in the warranty

The life span of a roof is dependent on many factors, the most important are:

  1. The exposure to sunlight, rain, and other weather factors, the more UV exposure the faster the roof will age
  2. Tree cover. While shade from trees can extend the life of a roof, organic buildup that is not removed from the roof will accelerate the aging process and can cause leaks if not cleaned off regularly.
  3. The pitch of the roof, low pitch roofs are exposed to more sunlight and tend to wear out quicker than higher
  4. Heat buildup in the attic areas, proper ventilation for the roof is also a factor that can result in faster aging. The hotter that attic areas becomes the more stress to the roof covering accelerating the weatherization process. New homes that have the attic insulation on the back of the roof with a non-ventilated attic should not significantly reduce the life span of the roof since there is no attic heat buildup under the roof.
  5. Color of the roof. Color alone is not a significant factor but if combined with several of the other factors listed above then the rule of thumb is that a darker colored roof will tend to wear out quicker than a light colored roof

AVERAGE LIFE SPAN OF VARIOUS DIFFERENT TYPES OF ROOF COVERING

ROOFING YEARS
Aluminum Coating 3-7
Asphalt Shingles (3 - tab) 20
Asphalt (Architectural 30
BUR (Built-up Roof) 30
Clay / Concrete 100+
Coal and Tar 30
Copper 100+
EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) Rubber 15-25
Fiber Cement 25
Metal 40-50
Modified Bitumen 20
Simulated Slate 50
Slate 50+
TPO 7-20
Wood 30