Small brick home with brown roof with blue sky and green grass.

How Long Do Roofs Last in Oregon

Few other parts of a home have to endure as much as an Oregon roof does. From a constant onslaught of solar radiation to relentless winds and gallon after gallon of rain and snow, your roof is designed to deal with it all so that you can remain safe from the elements inside. Despite this, most homeowners don’t spare an extra thought for their roofs and often even neglect their much-needed maintenance and care.

How long do roofs last in Oregon, anyway? Is there any way to extend their life span? What can you do when your trusty roof starts to reach the end of its useful life? Read on to find out.

The Parts of Your Roof

Your roof is made up of many different components, each of which serves a different purpose and affects its life span. The truss serves as the skeleton of the roof, made up of a series of beams including struts and rafters. Together, these serve as a support system that holds the rest of the structure together. Set on top of this structure is the decking, which is the section of the roof that holds everything else together. It’s a solid layer that can be made from any one of a variety of materials, as long as they are strong and sturdy. In the Pacific Northwest, it is almost always plywood or OSB.

Attached to the decking is the underlayment, which serves as another layer of protection from the elements. It’s often made from felt and helps to keep rain from seeping through the decking. Above this are the shingles, overlapping pieces of any number of a variety of materials that serve as the roof’s first line of defense from ultraviolet radiation and damaging rainwater. Also attached to the outer layers of the roof is the flashing, usually made from strips of metal and designed to keep water out of any seams in the entire system.

Where Problems Can Occur

Since the shingles are the top layer of your roof, they are usually where the first signs of wear and tear begin to occur. Heavy winds and other inclement weather conditions can rip shingles off of the underlayment, leaving bare patches that are then more vulnerable to the elements.

The next vulnerable area is the flashing, which can also be damaged by heavy storms. It can also corrode over time since it’s usually made from simple strips of metal such as aluminum. Small holes in flashing can be easily patched, but as the holes grow larger, the entire element may need to be replaced.

Where more serious problems can occur is in the wooden elements, such as the truss or decking. If the elements can get through these, it can mean the roof has been compromised in its entirety. There are many reasons why the truss and decking can become compromised. If the shingles and underlayment are damaged, they won’t be able to do their job of protecting the parts that lay underneath. Mold growth can also render entire parts of the wooden support structure unusable.

Of course, even without storms, damage, and mold growth, simple age will eventually take its toll on a roof as well. While other states have larger storms, Oregon has one of the most quietly demanding environments for your roof. Over time, every roof will need to be replaced, but there are certain things you can do to extend their life spans.

Getting the Most Out of Your Roof

While no roof lasts forever, proper maintenance and care can add years to the normal life span. As the shingles and flashing are your roof’s first line of defense, you should always make sure these are in good shape. If you notice a few shingles are missing, you should see to it that they are replaced quickly. If they aren’t, the underlayment, and eventually, the decking and truss will become vulnerable to water and sunlight.

It’s a good idea to periodically inspect your roof for signs of damage. You may also notice that something is amiss if your energy bill starts to creep upward. This could indicate a leak in the roof somewhere. Roof leaks are not always obvious, but if you suspect you have one, you can spray the rooftop with your garden hose and then head into the attic. If you notice water dripping in, you will have located the source of your leak.

If you need to have an inspection or repairs performed, make sure you have a great roofing contractor like Interstate Roofing on call. It’s important to do so because they are available 24/7, should you have a roofing emergency and need to get someone on site quickly.

What To Do When It’s Time to Replace the Roof

So how long do roofs last in Oregon? Well, it varies, depending upon the construction of the roof and how well it’s been cared for. If the roof utilizes composition shingles—one of the most common types—it will usually last about 20 years. If it’s not properly cared for, it will probably last about three to five years less than that, while if it’s well taken care of, you can often add three to five more. Eventually, however, the roof will need to be replaced.

As you might expect, this can be a costly process. When a roof is installed, it usually comes with a warranty on the shingles and a warranty on the installation, but these warranties will only go for so many years. A manufacturer’s standard warranty may be for “a lifetime,” but they prorate after a very short amount of time. Choose a roofing contractor that can offer extended warranties.

Purchasing the manufacturer’s upgraded warranty is often a great choice if you are planning to stay in your home for over 10 years. If you’re planning to move, it may not be necessary. However, keep in mind that some parts of a roofing warranty may be transferable to the next homeowner. Talk to your roofing company to see what your options are. If you intend to live under that roof for a long time, it is well worth the time and effort to get your warranty extended, which will greatly ease the financial burden if there are any issues.