Roof Care Archives

When Does a Roof Need to Be Replaced?

It’s really easy to take your home’s roof for granted—especially when it’s in good condition and not causing any problems. However, it’s important to stay educated and keep an eye on your roof because it is your home’s main defense against the outside elements.

The average lifespan of a typical roof is between 20-30 years. Depending on weather conditions, however, a roof may need replacement in as little as 15 years. In Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, roof damage can be caused by severe storms or intense “freeze-thaw” cycles. If you’re not sure how old your roof is, a simple roof inspection by a professional can give you a good estimate.

Signs You May Need a Roof Replacement

In addition to knowing how old your roof is, you should also keep an eye out for warning signs that your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan.

curling shingles replace roofThings to watch for include: missing, cracking, or curling shingles. You likely have roof damage if your roof’s shiny fiberglass mat is exposed. Another telltale sign of a deteriorating roof is any interior water damage to your attic, ceilings, or walls.

If water is getting in from the outside, you should take immediate action to stave off secondary problems such as potential water damage, structural issues, or mold.

Unless you’re experienced at walking on roofs or know all the telltale signs, it’s recommended that you get a professional opinion. Getting a professional roof inspection can tell you if your roof problems are isolated—and can be repaired—or if the integrity of the entire roof is compromised and will need to be completely replaced. It’s always safest to have an experienced roofer complete your roof inspection, as they are trained in safety measures and know exactly what they are looking for.

How Can I Extend the Life of my Roof?

If you are starting to see some of these signs, that doesn’t automatically mean you need to replace your roof. Sometimes your roof might just need repair rather than complete replacement.

You can help extend the life of your roof by being proactive about roof inspections and maintenance. Things to inspect regularly include plumbing vent boot flashings, caulking around flashings, masonry and skylights, and checking for popped-up nails and skylight window seams.

How Much Do Roof Inspections Cost?

Most roofing companies will offer free roof inspections as part of providing you with an estimate for a new roof. If you are buying or selling a property and need a roof inspection, there is typically a charge which is often credited toward any work you end up having done on your roof (much like a car mechanic diagnostic).

How Much Does Roof Replacement Cost?

There are many factors that affect the cost and length of time it takes to replace a roof—including your property’s square footage and the type of materials that are used. If you need a new roof, your roofing contractor will provide you with a detailed cost estimate and timeline, and talk you through the entire process.

Choosing the Best Roofing Contractor in Milwaukee

At Tri-County Contracting, we have a showroom where you can see, touch, and learn about various roofing styles and options to making the best decision for your home. We find that this option can be really helpful when making a long-lasting decision as a homeowner. Replacing your roof is both a practical and an aesthetic choice—you should make sure the color and style of the shingles fit your home’s exterior.

Many homeowners find that investing in a new roof with Tri-County pays for itself many times over over the course of the years. We prioritize using high-quality materials, including some options that come with 50+ year warranties.

We also have a unique 10-year annual roof inspection program. With this program, you can set up preventative annual inspections for up to 10 years with Tri-County’s professional roof inspectors. We will visit the home every year to complete a thorough inspection and address any roofing issues that may have developed during the inevitable “freeze-thaw” cycle experienced by homes in the harsh Wisconsin climate. This program allows you as the homeowner to make sure your roof is working great for years to come.

Get full-service roofing services in the greater Milwaukee area with Tri-County Contracting! You can call us at (262) 679-6100 or contact us to learn about our home exterior and roof contracting work.

We’re here to help with all your roofing needs.

Preventing Roof Problems

The Winter Ice Dam

Ice dams are a common problem that homeowners deal with in our Wisconsin cold winter climate. An ice dam forms when melting snow transitions from a warm surface to a cold surface, such as along the overhang of a house. The build-up of ice is the result of ice or snow melting on the roof area over the warmer, living area of a building and then refreezes when it reaches the cold overhang of the soffit. This wall of ice at the gutter line creates a barrier for any further melting snow to make its way into the gutter system of the house. This continued build-up of ice can force leaking to occur under the shingles at the edges of the roof. Damage associated with an ice dam are lifted shingles, rotted roof decking and/or fascia and soffit wood, and of course, water leaking into the drywall inside your house.


winter ice dam damage

If homeowners have interior damage caused by severe ice dams, the only option is to remove the snow immediately.  The homeowner can choose to purchase a roof rake and pull the snow off the roof from the ground or choose to get onto the snow covered roof and shovel the snow off with a snow shovel.

Sometimes homeowners find themselves having to “chop” the ice off the roof because of such severe icing.  This is not suggested due to the damage that can be potentially caused by puncturing the roof shingles, damage to gutters, etc.  Damaging the roof could result in further leaks and expensive repairs that could have been avoided.

Solving the Problem

There are three ways to help prevent ice dams from forming on your roof: 1) Adequate attic insulation, 2) proper roof ventilation and 3) the necessary amount of ice and water shield.

  1. Adequate attic insulation.  Most attic spaces are under-insulated, causing the warm air of the house to rise into the attic and melting the snow covered roof quickly.  In our Wisconsin climate, it is advised by the Department of Energy to have attic insulation levels close to R-49 or even R-60.  The attic space should remain cold during the winter, staying approximately within 10 degrees of the outside temperature to minimize quick roof melting that tends to re-freeze quickly at the eave edges.  Sufficient attic insulation levels will not only keep the warm air in the home during the winter months, but the cool air in the home during the warm summer months.
  2. Proper roof ventilation. Ventilation is not only needed to prevent ice dams, but also for the overall health of the home and roof structure.  Improperly ventilating an attic can result in condensation in the attic space, delaminating roof sheathing material and eventually mold/mildew growth.  There needs to be proper intake ventilation (venting at the eave or overhang edges) as well as at the ridge line (roof vents or ridge vent).
  3. Ice and water shield.  When we install a new roofing system, one of the first products that is installed is ice and water shield.  This is a leak barrier, a rubber-like asphalt & fiberglass membrane, that is applied at the eave or overhang edge during a roof replacement project.  The ice and water shield leak barrier is also installed in valley areas, around chimneys, skylights and any other areas of the roof that would benefit from a leak barrier.  The ice and water shield prevents any penetration of water or ice if a severe ice dam were to occur on a home.  When installing ice and water shield above the gutter lines for gutter protection, it is necessary to install the proper amount.  The manufacturer recommends that the shield extend 24 inches within the heated wall of the house.  The ice and water shield also seals itself around nails and will divert any water that penetrates the roofing material to run to the gutter and not into the house.

Let Us Help You

We are committed to helping customers prevent problems with their new roofing system.  We also are knowledgeable in helping customers fix problems with their existing roofing system.  Please request a FREE estimate from our company if you are in need of the services we provide.