Perhaps the most-used buzzword in the roofing industry today is “lifetime;” as in, “lifetime roof.” It’s not always easy to know what marketing terms like these mean. Whose life? Yours? A desert tortoise’s? Sometimes this term simply means “for the lifetime of the material,” which is honestly not helpful. Does the promise of a lifetime or permanent roof really exist, or is it just marketing hype.
Is There Such Thing as a Lifetime Roof?
Many roofing products claim to have a lifetime warranty. In truth, the majority of these require the consumer to buy an extra “lifetime” warranty that, in most cases, is truly only 50 years maximum. In many of these examples, it’s a prorated warranty. This means that if your warranty is 80% expired, the manufacturer will only offer you a 20% reduction in the cost of new material… at today’s prices!
Asphalt shingles and many other traditional roofing products start to deteriorate the day they are installed. They will, virtually without question, have to be stripped off, dumped in the landfill, and replaced sometime around the 20 year mark.
One striking alternative to this marketing hype is metal roofing systems. These products consist of metal shingles – typically aluminum or copper – that lock together securely right on top of your existing asphalt shingles. Most come with straightforward warranties for the lifetime of your home.
How Much Does a Lifetime Roof Cost?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. Naturally the size of your home will determine how much roofing material you need. The bigger factor is the product you select. If you select asphalt shingles, you typically must buy the “lifetime” warranty, and the installation often must be done using the manufacturer’s own accessories. When the roof fails, you will be responsible for the cost of removing and disposing the old shingles, the installation of the new roof, and at least part of the cost of the prorated new material.
With aluminum roofing, the materials may cost slightly more up front, but the lack of maintenance, repair, and replacement expenditures over time more than equal out. The actual cost of a metal roof has been shown over time to be much less than that of other products.
Should You Consider a Life Time Roof for Your Home?
We are in a “throw away” economy, and we buy items with the belief that we will simply throw them away when they wear out or fail. For this reason, consumers often do not carefully consider the warranty or guarantee that comes with a purchase. As our landfills overflow and our environment suffers however, interest in durable, long-lasting materials is growing in the U.S.
Homeowners are intrigued by claims of “permanent” or “lifetime” building materials, and for good reason. If we can save money and hassle over time, and reduce our impact on the environment, everybody wins. Ultimately, the life expectancy of a roof will depend on weather, maintenance, and many other factors, but the research seems to show that lifetime or permanent metal roofing systems are much more likely to last than other types.