How Do I Know If It’s Time to Replace My Roof?

Shingles will usually last between 15 and 30 years on your roof. The length of the life cycle varies depending on the quality of the shingle and the location of the property. That is to say that the same shingles on the same two model houses may perform very differently depending on whether the house is in Breckenridge or Greeley.

The two factors that have the biggest impact on shingle life are the amount of direct sunlight the shingles receive, wind, hail and how well the roof deck is ventilated. Therefore, a house in direct sunlight may not last as long as one in the shade.  Similarly, the attic of a Denver house built at the turn of the century would not be expected to be as well ventilated as the attic of a more modern home in Cherry Creek.

As your roof is the first line of defense from the elements eventually the effects of weathering will require you to replace your roof . If a residential roof is over 15 years old it is suggested you have a professional inspect the home and determine your replacement options.

When inspecting the following issues should be looked for:

  • Missing or torn shingles expose the roof to water damage and rot, and make nearby shingles more susceptible to being blown away.
  • Old shingles will curl, split and lose their waterproofing effectiveness.
  • Rusted or missing flashing can result in a leaking roof. Flashing is the metal that surrounds chimneys, skylights and vent pipes and often is found in the valleys where roof sections meet. Oftentimes if debris from heavy tree canopies is allowed to sit on a roof for a while, it can impede proper water flow off the roof or hold wet organic material against flashing, resulting in accelerated deterioration.
  • Check gutters, downspouts and splash pans for evidence of decay or damage. Broken pieces of paint and scraps of roofing may be visible.
  • Indoors, look for discolored drywall or cracked paint and peeling wallpaper.

The decision on whether to repair or replace a roof will have a lot to do with the amount of useful years that can be reasonably expected from the shingles. Oftentimes, poorly installed shingles, that are otherwise perfectly serviceable, will leak. In these cases, it may be smarter to repair the leaking areas. However if the shingles are near the end of their useful life, it is economically advisable to replace the roof instead of risking costly frequent repairs.


Maybe not! Leaks can result from parts of the roof that have been damaged or flashings that have moved with the expansion & contraction that naturally occurs on a roof.

The most common leak happens due to lack of maintenance: the rubber on the plumbing vent pipe collars dry rots and splits, allowing water to enter the roof system. If you have a newer home, built within the last 10 years, like those found in newer developments expect to only have to replace your pipe collars. Most of these rubber pipe collars last about 10 years.

Oftentimes, the leaks are not even roof related: brick, siding and windows all can leak and appear to be roof leaks. If siding is installed without the proper underlayment  the siding will leak.


Asphalt shingles generally last 15-20 years; wood shingle/shakes, 10-40 years; clay/concrete tiles, 20+ years; slate, 30-100 years; metal roofing, 15-40+years.


When it comes down to it, the cost of the roof is dependent on two things: the cost of labor & the cost of the materials. There are several factors contribute the cost of labor & material and therefore influence the cost of a new roof:

1. What type of roofing material is being removed? Is there more than one layer or roofing material? Some types of roofing material are much more labor intensive than others to remove

2. What type of roofing material is being installed?

  • Asphalt shingles are much less labor intensive than Buckingham Slate and therefore the labor cost to install them is much less.

3. What is the size of the roof?

  • Size DOES matter! The larger the roof area, the more labor and material it takes to roof it.

4. What is the pitch of the roof or how steep is the roof? How complex is the roof?

  • The steeper & more complex the roof, the higher the labor cost.

5. Where is the roof being installed?

  • The cost of a roofing permit varies from city to city in Colorado.


No matter where you’re located, consider the cost per year when weighing your different roofing options: Total Cost (materials and labor)/Life Expectancy of Roof (in years) = Annual Cost