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Maintenance Repairs — Why, How Many And When?

Especially if yours is the original roof, you can pretty much bet that is was not installed by the high bidder. There is a different mentality in new construction than there is in reroofing. What that means is that in new construction in particular, they do not spend ten cents they don’t – have to. So when the installers are slamming the shakes on and they come across a piece of flat-grain, a “blow-out”, a thin one or a short one – all problems that should cause that shake to be thrown on the ground – ka-blam! Onto the roof it goes. So when someone proudly tells you that they are using #1 Grade shakes, don’t get all warm and fuzzy about that. About 15% of each bundle can be substandard, or more accurately – firewood. For the most part, those bad pieces will hang in there and be pretty much OK for about 8 years give or take a couple of years; sometimes a couple of years more, depending on the roof’s exposure and pitch. Then the flat-grain begins to break up and the thin ones begin to wear through in the keyways, exposing the paper underneath. So these are the focus of our Maintenance Repairs and in most cases they consist of two bundles or so biannually unless we need to be a bit more aggressive in the beginning to get ‘caught up.’ By the way, we use only Premium Shakes for our repairs – no flat-grain, no ‘blow-outs’ or thin ones. We will always try to err on the conservative side because just the act of doing repairs is a lot of banging and stomping around on the roof and to limit the expense because, as you remember, there is always one more shake to replace.

How Long Will It Last?

We will continue the process described above until we show up one year and get a sense that we’re not gaining ground any more. Then we stop and talk. Generally it is not much of a challenge to get 20+ years out of a medium shake roof and 30+ years for heavies, provided it is maintained as appropriate. I have personally been on two roofs that were over 40 years old and doing great. I have also been on 12 year-old roofs that were pretty much firewood. The choice is yours.