How long will a new roof last?

I recently visited a Silver Lake roofing client, who wanted to know how long a new roof will last. His sister had a new roof installed in her Los Feliz home and was wondering why she had to replace her roof and now it seemed he needed a new roof too.

I thought that it would be of interest here to offer an understanding to this question. A shingle roof generally lasts twenty to fifty years. This covers a number of types of material including composition shingle, asphalt shingle, dimensional shingle, 3-tab shingle and more.

Shingles come in four major varieties: 20, 30, 40 and 50-year. These are, as you can see, categorized by their life-expectancy.  The industry, in all its inimical genius, recently changed the way they label shingles.  It used to be simple, that was 20, 30, 40 and 50-year, based on the warranty.

Now, they say everything from a 30-year and up will last “a lifetime” when in fact that is just legal doublespeak.  It’s a limited lifetime warranty that is not transferrable and they are banking on the fact that almost no one stays in a home more than 30 years.  Once you move, the warranty is null and void to the new owner.  Nothing in the 30-year shingles has changed so they will not last a lifetime, you can take that to the bank.  They will last 30 years at best.

30-Year Shingle on a New Roof in Los Feliz

30-Year Shingle on a New Roof in Los Feliz

The 20-year shingles are the old school shingles you saw on your Grandma’s house back in the 50s.  They are called 3-tab shingles because they have 3 tabs for each shingle.

30, 40 and 50-year shingles are all called dimensional shingles, meaning they are two sheets of composition asphalt, laminated together.  The sheet on top has cut-outs so that the surface is uneven, producing the so-called “dimensional” effect.  They look the same but get thicker as the year rating increases.

There are a myriad other types of dimensional shingles, most notable among them the popular Presidential Shake line by CertainTeed.  These are referred to as luxury, designer, premium – the list goes on but generally they are made pretty thick and are comparable to at least a 50-year.

In some cases, the luxury type of shingle can be even thicker but note that in my experience, no matter how thick the shingle is, it will look like hell after 30 years because the mineral surface is more-or-less, the same for each product.  It may not leak after 45 years, but that mineral surface is going to be pretty rough.

For people in high-wind areas, (not Los Feliz or Silver Lake) I generally only recommended the 40 to 50-year shingles (meaning, the standard dimensional shingles, but the thicker variants). But the modern 30-year shingles are much more wind resistant than they were just 10 years ago – we’re talking wind gusts at 100+ MPH.  If you are under that, historically, for your area then a 30-year should be fine, provided they are installed correctly.

Everyone, high-wind or now, should insist that roofers use high performance starter shingles at all eves – these have a double glue strip for added wind protection.  Some manufacturers will give ultra-high wind ratings (130 MPH) with their ordinary 30-year shingles if you simply use their wind rated starter, and their proprietary ridge caps which cost scarcely more per job than regular stuff.

There are a few things that can extend, or reduce the life expectancy of your new roof. These include steepness, orientation to the sun, the color of the shingle, good ventilation, and so on, but shingles will, generally, last exactly how long they are rated for.  The trick is knowing the real rating so if you’re buying a “standard dimensional shingle” – you are buying a 30-year shingle.

Ask your roofing estimator to tell you in simple terms what the three categories are called for any given manufacturer.  Usually they will have a distinctive, but slightly different name for each lineup.  CertainTeed, for example calls their dimensional 30, 40 and 50-year shingles, Landmark, Landmark Pro, and Landmark Premium , respectively.  But they used to have different names and in fact have changed these names three times in the last eight years or so, which is not only confusing to the consumer, it’s confusing to us contractors as well but there’s little we can do about that.

You can see that a new roof tends to last longer, if you are able and willing to invest in a longer-lasting roof. My customer in Los Feliz actually decided to get a 50-year shingle. He loves his home, and hopes to live his lifetime there. His sister in Silver Lake dreams of a home in the desert for her later years, so she opted for a 20-year shingle on her new roof.

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How much does a Roof Repair cost?

How much does a Roof Repair cost? Is it more costly in Los Feliz than Silverlake or Sherman Oaks?
Roofers in the San Fernando Valley (such as Sherman Oaks) will charge the same as roofers in Los Feliz or Silverlake, and here’s why…  There are some guidelines to how much it costs to repair your roof. Let’s assume:

•    Roof is walkable – not very steep.
•    Roof is an everyday product, such as composition shingle.
•    Roof is not in terrible condition.
•    Roof access is normal (not 3 stories, up 3 flights, on a hill, 100 foot walk, and so on.)
•    Your house is average size, say, 2000 square feet, although this doesn’t always have a major bearing unless overall maintenance is a big part of the proposal.

For this type of roof you should pay about $400 for a localized repair (say, one leak or replacing a few shingles) and some routine maintenance like sealing up all the pipes and generally going over the roof more thoroughly and spot sealing random penetrations, sealing a crack here and there, etc.

When composition shingles get too old, say, over 20 years, they can be nearly impossible to repair properly.  It gets to a point where they are too brittle and cannot be manipulated and will just break when you try to work with them but apart from that, they should be repairable.

This is for a professional estimator who came to your door, analyzed it, sent you a bid and then dispatched a repairman with specific instructions.

J and J Roofing a home

Roof Repair in Los Feliz

Why so much? There are a few reasons and chief among them is the cost for a professional roofer in terms of insurance.  Roofers work rates are among the steepest in the industry since it is a hazardous job. However, the roofer gets paid the same rate for loading up his truck, going to the supplier, driving to your doorstep, driving back and unloading at the end of the day.  Roofers don’t do any of this for free. Between WorkComp, and liability insurance, you’re looking at a cost to the contractor – before markup for profit, etc., of $45 – 65 per hour for one man. This of course is before material costs, operating costs and then last but not least, profit.

You may be surprised (even annoyed) at the fact that a two man repair team shows up and spends less than an hour on your roof doing a repair that you paid $400 for.  But bear in mind that the professional estimator who showed up probably, all told, spent already 2 hours on this.  The repairmen who came to your house also spent time getting briefed on what to do, getting supplies, drove to where you live, and then cleaned up and probably went back to the shop as well, none of which is done for free.  On a repair such as this, the estimator will make about $51 for his time.

Also, if you live way up in the hills away from the city, most of the roofers you call are not going to live near you.  You will pay a premium for additional travel time to and fro. If you have a steep roof, a slate roof, etc., these costs can be 3 to 4 times a normal shingle repair.

Call around to the roofers in Los Feliz, Silverlake or Sherman Oaks and you should find this to be the case.

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What is Flat Roofing Made Of?

I’ve been a Los Angeles roofing contractor for well over a decade and in that time I think I’ve had more questions or confusions concerning flat roofing than any other roofing.  The two most commonly used and least expensive flat roof types are known as torchdown and hot tar.

Hot tar is just that, it is hot tar, or more correctly stated, hot asphalt.  It starts as a 100 lb keg (slightly larger than a 5 gal water bottle), gets chopped up and tossed into a large hot kettle to melt.  This is then literally mopped out onto a membrane to form a waterproof barrier.

Hot tar is also referred to technically as BUR, or Built Up Roofing.  We say “built up” because usually you apply a few membranes with the hot tar and build up a system.

Ordinarily the only common thing between torch and hot tar is the base sheet which is a grey, fiberglass, lightly sanded membrane that is nailed in place with nails that have a large metal washer built into them to prevent the membrane from tearing and helps hold it in place.  This membrane is called a fiberglass basesheet, or just “basesheet.”  Roofers refer to it as 28lb – its weight per 100 square foot, the standard in roofing materials.

Torchdown is the same principle, except that the hot tar is built into the membrane itself and it is melted with a flaming torch.  Torchdown is rubberized and in that sense, is a better product than hot tar but better is a relative term here.

Which is better?  It really depends on the application. With torchdown, you get just one shot to get it right since there is just the one membrane.  With hot tar, there are at least two membranes and therefore a modicum of redundancy.

There are two kinds of hot tar roofs. Capsheet (the smooth white membrane called capsheet – the most common sort) and gravel or “rock”.  If your roof is dead flat, then you really must use hot tar for its redundancy and in fact, it should be gravel (rock).  The reason is fairly simple.  A gravel roof is finished different than a smooth white hot tar roof, known as capsheet.  With gravel, the final process is to flood a layer of the hot tar with the rock, making a solid, seamless surface which is more impervious to pooling water.

In Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, flat roofs tend to last longer than cities with harsher weather, but it is important to have your roof inspected regularly to see if the time has come to replace your roof.

J and J Flat Tar Roofing

Flat Roofing in Los Feliz area of Los Angeles can be seen here.

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How Do I Know if I Need a New Roof?

Working in the Los Angeles Area, repairing roofs, building new roofs and replacing existing damaged roofs, seeing roofs day in and day out (for me, that’s just about a thousand roofs a year) I get to interact with homeowners and learn to see things from their perspective.  I want to learn why it is that people call on me – down to the little details, not just “I need a professional roofer.”  Why exactly do they need a professional roofer?  That’s the question I ask myself because my job depends on knowing the answer.

Certainly one of the more common things I hear is that they (of course) need their roof fixed, but not only don’t want to get on the roof in the first place, they wouldn’t know what to look for when they did.  And I’ve heard this from homeowners who were pretty construction savvy so don’t feel bad! And would I be better off with a new roof, getting a full roof replacement?

The truth is, being the best Los Angeles roofer has a lot to do with experience – seeing various leaks, over, and over, and over again.  I am fairly sure I see something new every day.  Sometimes I will look at a leak situation and cannot immediately figure out what it is.  Sometimes it takes destructive testing (tearing open the roof) in order to find out where the leak is and sometimes that is what we do.

What we’re looking for are tell-tale signs of water entry.  This could be sediment under the shingles in places it shouldn’t be, indicating water entry, rusty nails heads underneath (not always a sure sign but if they are the electro-galvanized nails, they shouldn’t rust easily), and so on.  Not the obvious stuff.

One thing that I have noticed is that it’s pretty hard to tell a good roof from a bad one, on the surface.  Especially hard if you don’t know what to look for.  On a shingle roof, some signs are:

•    the shingle lines are wavy,

•    not straight,

•    you can actually see exposed nail heads.

On a flat roof, if it looks “too clean” – there should be black lines where the rolls overlap, unless they covered them with extra white granules.

A roofing estimate should be free so if you’re not certain, call a professional roofer and have them check your roof over.  You don’t need to have a leak to get this done and there should be no charge, and no obligation.

Los Angeles roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing, also servicing all areas including Burbank, Encino, Northridge, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Los Feliz and Silverlake for all roofing needs.

Matt Glass inspecting a roof

Matt Glass Inspecting a Roof

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The Big Rain Months are Here – Time to Check Out Your Roof!

Want to be on top of your roofing troubles? One of the owners of Los Angeles roofer, J and J Roofing, Matt Glass, Pasadena homeowner, explains here what to do.

It’s been a pretty dry winter for roofing but Farmer’s Almanac says January and February are supposed to be above average in rain for the Southwest part of the United States and those are the big rain months.  So far, early January hasn’t proved out for us in SoCal but don’t count your chickens just yet, we could get many inches of rain between now and early March.

Inspect Your Roof – Inside and Out!

There are things you can do before it rains or after the first decent rainfall:

Before it rains:

Do a walk around the eaves of your roof and look for any peeling paint or dry rot up under the eave in the soffit area. (Soffit – the underside of a part or member of a building, as of an overhang or staircase.) If you’re not sure it’s dry rot, poke at it with a screwdriver, if it goes in easily, you’ve got dry rot and most likely a roof leak.

Soffit

This is an Example of a Soffit

 

Check out your roof.  You can even use binoculars and ensure none of the roofing material, such as shingles, slate, wood shakes, wood shingles, tile or even flat roofing such as torchdown or hot tar has come loose, is curling, blistering or starting to flare up.  This is particularly important if you’ve had a good windstorm.

After the first decent rain:

Do a thorough walk around inside your home with the lights on and/or a flashlight and check your ceilings and walls for discoloration.  You’ll want to check inside closets and particularly inside the water heater closet, over sinks, tubs, the stove, the furnace, around the chimney, etc.  All these items have vent pipes that go out through the roof and those vent pipes have flashings sealed with mastic or tar which are one of the most common sources for a roof leak.  Your chimney has a metal flashing, also a metal saddle or cricket that can also leak and all these things need to be sealed again and again for the life of a roof.  Skylights are also a common source and sometimes it’s the skylight itself or it could be the skylight flashing that connects the skylight box, or curb, to the roof.  Skylights have a rubber gasket between the lens and the skylight frame and they often will last only 10 years.

If you have an open beam or cathedral ceiling area with exposed wood (meaning, you don’t have an attic or crawlspace over this room) often there is very little sign except faint drip lines unless you happen to catch the water dripping during the rain.  If you hold the light at the right angle you can usually see these.  Sometimes homeowners don’t notice these lines until the summer.  It doesn’t always mean a roof leak; sometimes it could be condensation or water vapor collecting on the ceiling and it will run and form faint water drip lines.

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How Do I Know When Roof Replacement is necessary?

In Los Angeles, roof replacement is not required as often as other areas with more severe weather. Roofing in areas like Woodland Hills or West Hills, where the weather is hotter and the sun more relentless may have a slightly shorter life. Of course, homes in Los Feliz, Silverlake, Burbank or Pasadena may find longer roof life and less roof replacement issues.

 

www.PhotosByJohnGlass.com

Regardless, there are two inspections necessary to know when a new roof is needed for a home or building. Of course, the exterior of the roof should be thoroughly inspected by an experienced and reputable roofing company. Additionally, the interior of your home should be checked, as well.

Very often, leaks or missing tiles/shingles can be repaired with an inexpensive visit from your local roofer. It is most important that any problem be noted early and immediate steps are taken to ensure full repair. Early detection is important in roofing troubles, they never repair themselves, only develop into bigger more expensive problems.

Often shingles or tiles will be missing. High winds or improper installation can cause displacement of tiles and shingles. Rain gutters should checked for excessive debris. Also, it should be noted if granules from the roofing material have dislodged and are in the gutters. On an older roof this could mean that it is time to reroof or replace your roof.

If the roof is found to have been improperly installed or damaged flashing is noticed around vents, chimneys or skylights, this is a cause for concern. Shingles may buckle as a result of felt that is not properly installed and also if the roof decking is found to be improperly nailed. If problems are determined early and repaired to avoid leaks onto the wooden roof decking, roof replacement may be avoided.

Significant to the decision of whether or not roof replacement is needed, is the condition of the rafters and roof decking. Finding that the decking is sagging between the rafters or (as mentioned before) decking is damaged will indicate that roofing work is definitely needed. Replacing missing shingles or tiles, will not necessarily take care of these roofing problems.

Signs of leaking found in the attic may be noted by dark spots on the wood or walls, or around holes in the roof such as vents, chimneys and the like. If the spot is soft or still wet, an obvious recent leak has occurred. If the stains are dry and hard, then perhaps the cause of the leak has already been rectified.

If you have your roof inspected annually by a roofing contractor, such as J and J Roofing, your chances of roof longevity improve greatly. Los Angeles weather appears to be kind to your roof but as the old adage states, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Which of course, in the business of maintaining homes and buildings, that can mean hundreds of dollars versus thousands.

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Why is it important to fix a roof leak in Los Angeles when it rains so rarely?

Let’s face it. The days of rain in the Los Angeles area are few and far between. So why then, is it so important to fix leaky roofing in Los Angeles? Must we jump and immediately repair a small roof leak as soon as we see one? Here is our answer.

Many of us consider that our home is our “safe haven”. It is not only the place we sleep and eat and watch TV, but it is our comfort zone, our private refuge and often the place we spend our most time with our family and friends. The roof over our head provides not only function and comfort but warmth and safety from the elements, including the heat and wind.

When we think of preventing disasters we might not think of a little leak as such a case. But keeping your roof in good condition and repairing leaks immediately when found has several important factors. This preventative practice can save the roof from further damage that can be caused once there is a hole and also could help with damages inside the home.

Leaky Roof Damages Homes

Because your roof is a critical system that provides essential safety for your family, it can be prone to damage that will lead to leaks. If these leaks are not tended to immediately, this may lead to a greater problem which will require more work and finances to repair. An ignored leak can even promote mold and mildew growth within the home or damage of the house’s foundation.

An older roofing system makes it more prone to damages that may lead to leaks. When not attended to immediately, this may cause a larger problem requiring more complex, expensive and time consuming repair. The issues that you might be faced with if you leave your leaking roof may range from damage to your interior walls and paint to growth of mold and mildew, to damage in your house’s foundation.

You should regularly check for these symptoms:

  • Skylights, vents, or around the chimney collecting moisture. Check the insulation for any wetness or mold growth.
  • Shingles with blisters, cracks or curls will show you that your roofing material may have outlived its life and might need to be replaced.
  • Loose or exposed nails, missing shingles or discolored patches may be seen.
  • Check chimneys, skylights, ridges, plumbing vents and eves for any damaged roof flashing. These have been found to create leakage.

Roof with shingle missing

If you find that you have any of these problems, call our office immediately. We will send out a highly qualified inspector who will comprehensively appraise your home or building to locate the exact cause of the problem. You will be given an accurate assessment including an explanation of the options that you have to repair or replace your roof. Additionally, realize that we may find that the problem lies not in the roof, but  that it is a different repair (AC, chimney, skylight, gutters, etc.)  that is necessary and that you don’t need to repair your roof or purchase a new roof.

Following this guide will help you to keep your roof in Los Angeles longer and in better condition.

 

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Even in Los Angeles the Elements Can Destroy Your Roofing

How’s your roof holding out?

Even Los Angeles weather can wreak havoc on your roof. There are numerous signs that you should watch for to know when it is time to replace your roof. J and J Roofing is one of the top Los Angeles roofing companies. We would suggest that you set up an annual inspection for your roof.

Of course, if you see new stains on the ceiling after rains, this is a sure sign that something is leaking. Sometimes this will manifest with peeling paint or bubbling plaster on walls or ceilings. If you have an attic, make sure to check up there for leaks as well. Keep an eye out for shingle debris on your lawn or in the gutters. If you seeing that your shingles are curling or buckling or blistering, call us to come out and check it out.

Los Angeles Weather for Los Angeles Roofing Companies

Image by Nathan Gibbs

Remember we do not charge for roofing estimates in the Los Angeles area.

Your roof is always exposed to the harsh elements of Southern California – the heat of the sun, the winds, the rain and the occasional hail we experience.

The strong winds can cause the shingles to lift which can then generate dry rot which will threaten the structural integrity of your roof.  The ultraviolet rays and extreme heat of the sun will eventually age roofing materials – check the south and west surfaces, especially. When the winds really kick up like the Santa Ana’s or just strong winter currents of air, your shingles can lift, forcing the rainwater and even debris underneath the shingles. Once that some of your shingles have come off, this may make it more likely for the remaining shingles to loosen and rip or blow off. Remember that tree branches can cause damage to your shingles. If there are leaves in gutters and on the roof, these can cause rot from the moisture they hold. The leaves can also block drainage causing standing water.

What’s the cost? We do Roof Checks for $155.00 which is an industry leading price and this includes on-the-spot minor repairs, sealing, drain cleaning (flat roofs), etc. Most roofs qualify for this.   Exceptions would be large commercial buildings or extremely steep roofs and the like. If your roof does not qualify for the $155.00 service, we’ll just give you a free estimate on what needs to be done.

So whether you need a roof inspection, a whole new roof or a repair, remember that J and J Roofing is one of the top Los Angeles roofing companies. Visit our website to schedule an appointment or just give us a call.  

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85% of New Roofs & Roof Repairs at Los Angeles Roofer Come from Referrals

Are you in need of a new roof, roof repair or considering a renovation or building a new home or office building? J and J Roofing in Los Angeles is your solution.

Over the years, we have found that 85% of our business seems to come right back from the customers that we have previously serviced. When we come out and give you a free inspection (free, under most circumstances) you will be accurately advised of the condition of your roof, which will have been inspected by one of our top-notch roof inspectors.

You will be given a complete assessment of the options that you have to repair or replace your roof. You may be told that there is nothing needed or that another repair (AC, gutters, etc.)  is needed and that your trouble is not the roof itself.

jandjroofing in Los Angeles

J and J Roofing is a Los Angeles roofer, fully committed to high quality results from each visit to your home as well as any work done for our customers.

Michael Duff reviewed J and J Roofing a year ago:

“Excellent- I just had my roof redone by J & J and it was a brilliant job. Yes, I had to wait a while, but since the rains aren’t very big in the late spring/summer, I figured I could wait. And since they’d come so highly recommended I thought it’d be worth it.

I can see why they’re so busy. I’ve dealt with a lot of contractors in my 16 years owning this house and these have been the only guys who came when they were supposed to, finished when they were supposed to, and the job was done well, professionally and there was no mess afterward.

I even thought they’d covered a working vent (I was taking photos from my neighbor’s garage of the process) and one of their guys came back out and climbed into my attic (on a 100 degree day) getting ready to fix it but found that what was covered wasn’t a working vent at all, it was a hole made by a previous contractor that did nothing. And then he told me that the vent I was concerned about went out the side of my house under the roof – and then showed it working when I put the bathroom fan on.

 

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“A” Rating for Los Angeles Roofers – J and J Roofing Company

We a Rated on Angies list for Los Angeles Roofers with an “A” rating from Quality to Pricing.

Spring is here. If you are in need of roof repair or reviewing Los Angeles roofers for a roof replacement project, today is a great day to call our office. It is so easy to ignore roofing leaks in the summertime.

We offer free inspections in almost all cases. Call our office today at 877.7MY.ROOF or 323.913.4190 or click here.

Whether you live in Burbank, Encino, Northridge, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Tarzana or  Woodland Hills, Los Angeles based J and J Roofing services all of these areas and more.

Some people notice leaks in the corner of a room or in the middle of the ceiling. You may just see a stain, but never really heard the drip, drip, drip of the leak. Don’t delay, call today for your free roofing inspection anywhere in the Los Angeles area.

 

Free Roof Leak Inspection

Free Roof Leak Inspection

 

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