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Answers to Common Questions

How do I know if I need a new roof and how long should a new roof last?

How long a roof lasts will depend on several variables including the materials used in the construction such as the weight of the shingles, pitch of roof, the climate and daily exposure to the sun and the maintenance performed each year. Although many types of roofing material have a suggested life expectancy, indications of wear may be the best sign that it is time for a new roof.

A composition asphalt shingle roof, which is the most common type, is expected to last approximately 12 to 15 years depending on the quality of the shingles. If you begin to see any staining on the ceiling, curling, granule loss, deterioration, blistering, dry, brittel, broken or missing shingles, it could be time to replace the roof. A wood shake roof, most commonly made of handsplit cedar or redwood shingles, has a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years under normal conditions if properly installed over spaced sheathing and if properly maintained. If you begin to see moss growth, curling, splitting, or discoloration, it may be time to replace a wood shake roof. A wood shingle roof is factory made and will last anywhere from 20 to 25 years under normal conditions and if properly installed and maintained. Again, if you begin to see any curling, splitting, deteriorating shingles or the roof material is nearing the end of its life expectancy, it may be time to replace the roof. A slate roof, although the most expensive, may last 100 years with proper maintenance. The main problem to watch for with a slate roof is the rusting and deterioration of the nails, which could allow loose slates to slip off the roof.

My fireplace always smells a little smoky after a rainstorm. Can you tell me why it smells and whether this is a problem that requires immediate attention?

The smoky smell coming from your fireplace is usually more annoying than harmful. However, it is worth having the fireplace inspected to determine the root of the problem. Correcting the problem may be as simple as replacing or installing a rain cap or spark arrestor in your chimney. The spark arrestor can stop stray sparks from falling on your roof as well as preventing animals from nesting in your chimney.

We have small children in the house, how do I know if we have lead paint?

All houses painted before 1978 may contain lead paint. Lead paint may be harmful to children under the age of six. Your children can accidentally be exposed to lead by ingesting dust or soil or by consuming small paint chips. If you have lead paint, do not use a stripper or sander to remove the paint. These methods will make the lead particles airborne and thus easier to ingest or breathe. You must also take precautions with your children around doors and windows where paint can easily chip off by friction.


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Page last updated
January 27, 2013