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How Long Does a Roof Last in Northern Illinois?

Mar 14, 2022

Suburban home with red door and gray siding after snowstorm

A new roof is a significant investment, so you’ll want to make sure you can get the most out of it. Many of today’s roofs are designed to last at least 20 years, and some much longer. Two of the most common roofing materials used in Northern Illinois are three-tab shingle, a tried-and-true, economical option that has been around for decades, and laminated shingle, which is even heavier, better looking, and more durable than three-tab shingle. Both are excellent choices for homeowners in Chicagoland.

In general, several factors can affect the condition of a roof and how long it will last. These include:

The Roof Installation Process

Any roofing system (even the industry’s best) is only as good as the workmanship of the technician who installed it. If an unscrupulous contractor cuts corners to save time or money during the installation process, it will only be a matter of time before problems with the roof become apparent.

To ensure optimal performance, a roof should be installed on a relatively warm and dry day. When installed at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, asphalt shingles can break or crack as nails are driven in. What’s more, a roof is intended to protect the home from rain, snow, ice, and wind. During the installation process, some parts of the home will necessarily be exposed to weather elements. Because moisture can damage and compromise both the roof and the home, it is important for roofing work to be performed under dry conditions.

The Level of Attic Ventilation

A roof can prematurely fail if the attic underneath it is not properly ventilated. Trapped hot air, cold air, or moisture can damage the roof, shorten its useful life, and possibly void the manufacturer’s warranty. A balanced ventilation system—which includes intake vents in the soffit or low on the roof and exhaust vents at or near the roof peak—can greatly improve the lifespan of the roof.

Nearby Trees & Foliage

Few things are lovelier than a home surrounded by mature trees that provide abundant shade and colorful blooms. However, all of this loveliness can come at a cost in terms of the lifespan of the roof. During a storm, fallen trees and branches can land on the roof and possibly create holes, dents, and other damage. And even during mild weather, low-hanging branches may continually rub against the roof and eventually scratch away the protective granules on the shingles.

Certain types of trees also drop leaves and needles, which can land on the roof and make a big mess. If not promptly cleaned up, this debris can clog the gutters and allow rainwater to pool on the roof, which can cause damaging leaks. The debris can also absorb and retain moisture, creating an ideal breeding ground for mold, moss, and algae, all of which can reduce the lifespan of the roof.

The Local Weather Conditions

The climate in Chicagoland can be brutal and unforgiving. At various times throughout the year, a roof may be subjected to gusting winds, blanketing snow, hammering hail, drenching rain, direct sunlight, and high humidity, all of which can damage a roof and shorten its lifespan. For instance, asphalt shingles can become weak or discolored from exposure to UV light, and may begin to curl or crack from excessive moisture and wind.

Of course, you can’t control Mother Nature. But you can choose a roofing system that is designed to stand up to the weather extremes in your area, and have it installed by a proven roofing contractor with a reputation for excellence.

How Well the Roof Is Maintained

Routine maintenance is vital to both the dependability and longevity of a roof. For instance, it is important to clear clogged rain gutters and replace damaged or missing shingles as soon as possible to minimize the risk of water damage, mold growth, and other issues. Since the roof is an area of the home that is often out of sight and out of mind, this might be easier said than done. For most homeowners, it makes sense to invest in professional roof inspections and to reach out to a local roofing company anytime damage is suspected.

Let’s Maximize the Lifespan of Your Roof

When properly installed and maintained, your roof can last decades—even a lifetime. For tips on how to maximize the performance and lifespan of your roof, contact Rogers Roofing today. As a proven roofing contractor, we’re pleased to put our more than 50 years of industry experience to work for homeowners throughout Chicagoland, Northern Illinois, and Northwest Indiana.