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A new roof costs more than just the initial investment.If you’re looking for a roof replacement and evaluating different estimates from various companies, we want to help you understand the true cost of your new roof. You’ll have many more expenses with it than just the initial materials and installation and you should understand those. Plus, the cost of a roof versus the lifetime cost are two very different numbers. In fact, we recommend homeowners look at the annual cost of the roof before making a decision. Because most homeowners in our area want an asphalt shingle roof, that’s what we’re going to look at in today’s blog.

Roofing Brand & Style

If you’ve done any research at all, you’ve probably realized that there are many manufacturers and even more roofing companies willing to install your new roof. Each manufacturer has different styles or lines within their offerings. No matter what each manufacturer calls their asphalt shingles, there really are two options – 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles.

Three-tab shingles are the most basic of shingles. They look flat and are a single layer. Most 3-tab shingles come with a 20-year warranty, which is quite misleading to most homeowners. The warranty is against manufacturing defects, not a warranty that your roof will last 20 years. In fact, most 3-tab shingles require replacing between 12 and 15 years depending on maintenance and weather conditions.

An architectural shingles has more dimension. It’s a thicker shingle and will last longer. Of course, it costs more. Depending on the style and the features you want in your shingle, the price can vary significantly. Many have warranties of up to 50 years but that is against manufacturing defects. Few, if any asphalt shingle lasts 50 years.

Lifetime Roofing System

You may have heard this term or see it in an estimate. A lifetime roofing system has nothing to do with the roof lasting the lifetime of the house or your lifetime. A lifetime roofing system is when your installer chooses the roofing materials from the shingle manufacture. The manufacturer offers this because they know that when an installer uses all their products, the shingle will perform as expected. Don’t be fooled by the term lifetime. It does not meant the roof will last a lifetime, yours or your home’s. Read the manufacturer’s fine print and you’ll understand what that it really means the lifetime of the shingle.


Let’s assume that you’re interested in only a GAF Timberline® shingle in Barkwood. If you contact three GAF roofing companies for quotes, chances are good that the quotes will be similar. However, if you look at the details, you’ll want to make sure that the proposed work is also similar. For example, on of the influencers of a roof’s life is whether it’s been installed on top of your old roof or on a new clean, well-maintained roof deck with a synthetic underlayment. Anytime you choose the cheaper option of a roofing overlay (meaning your new roof is installed on top of your old one), it won’t last as it is expected to and the manufacturer may not honor it’s warranty. It’s a cheaper option because the roofer spends less time on the job and avoids disposal costs of your old roof.

Next, you’ll want to look at the other materials used. For example, are they using standard felt paper or a better underlayment? Have they proposed new flashing and vents? Underlayment, flashing, vents and insulation all influence how long your roofing material lasts. In fact, even the nails can make a difference!

Maintenance and Repair

The other lifetime costs of your roof will be the maintenance and repair. Having a regular roofing inspection with preventative maintenance will help cut down on repair costs. A maintenance inspection will look at the flashing, ensure that the shingles are still all well-affixed, check your vents and insulation and evaluate the overall state of the roof. The roofer will propose some minor repair with the inspection. Taking care of repair in a timely fashion prevents the damage from growing which increases the lifetime cost of the roof. Homeowners who simply call a roofing company when they have a roof leak often learn that the issue has been there for months or even years and has done significant damage.

Which Roof is Right for Me?

Only you know the answer to that question. Looking at the lifetime cost of your roof should entail the installation, materials plus the maintenance and repair. You may also want to consider how long you plan on being in the home and if you’d like to not have to deal with a roof replacement again. For most homeowners, even though the initial cost of an architectural shingle roof is higher, once they discuss the lifetime cost with their roofing company, they realize that an architectural shingle roof is a better investment over the long run.

Cooley Roofing and Construction would love to provide you with a quote for your roof replacement. While we’re there, we’re happy to answer your questions about the lifetime cost of your roof and help you make the right decision for your home, budget and family. Our goal is that you love your new roof and feel protected from the elements. Call us today for your free roof replacement quote or to learn more about any of our other services. We can be reached at 366-766-6488 or by completing our contact form.

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