Imagine this: you just bought that expensive item you've been dreaming about for ages. Too generic? Let's get more specific for imagination's sake. Let's say it's a really nice bathroom

Damage from a small leak

sink. One of those sinks that looks more like a salad bowl than a sink. This isn't just any salad bowl looking sink; this looks like it came from King Tut's tomb. It has gold inlay in marble-looking ceramic. Now let's imagine you just had this sink installed with your recent bathroom renovation. You are so excited to finally have it! It's right in front of you and you almost want to hug or kiss it. The contractor told you this was "a lifetime sink" so you know this sink will be around to impress your guests for ages!

Now imagine you just woke up. You squint your eyes as you open the curtains letting the morning light pour through your east-facing picture window. You remember, "I get to use my new bathroom with my new sink!" You go straight to the bathroom, release the overnight tension on your bladder and wash your hands in the sink of your dreams located in the bathroom of your dreams.

A few years later you grab your toothbrush and apply a dab of your favorite toothpaste. You start brushing your teeth when suddenly your youngest child rushes in, "Can you help me!?" This startles you and you drop your toothbrush into the sink - shattering it into a thousand little pieces. You almost want to cry, or maybe yell, you're not sure but you know you're not happy. Then you remember what you were told, "This is a lifetime sink!" It's frustrating but you know you don't really need to worry. You call the contractor that installed it and you are given information about the company that made the sink.

You call the manufacturer and they tell you, "It's a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. It clearly states that if you abuse it we won't cover it. Besides, you usually can't expect these sinks to last much longer anyway." You plead with the person on the other end, "I only dropped my toothbrush. A sink should survive that!" Your pleading falls on deaf ears. "I'm sorry," you're told, "but I can't help you." You hang up the phone feeling angry, betrayed, and a little stupid.

I don't know for sure that this happens with sinks; I'm a roofing professional, not a plumber. I can tell you however that I hear about things like this often with roofing! Contractors throw around terms like, "lifetime shingles" or "30-year roof." When you are told something like that be sure to clarify! Asphalt shingles in the low to mid price range usually last 15 to 20 years. Some are made so poorly they last less than 10. High-price triple laminate shingles (used with our premium package) should last about 35 to 45 years. High-grade metal, slate, and tile are some of the few roofing materials that have a good chance of lasting a lifetime.

It is very common for a roofer to refer to shingles as "30 year" or "lifetime shingles" when they have a 30-year or lifetime limited warranty. It is important to understand that these warranties are primarily against manufacturer defects - not aging due to weather and sun damage. The primary brand and style of shingle that we use for our low and mid-price packages comes with a 30-year limited transferable manufacturer warranty and a limited lifetime non-transferable warranty. You can expect them to last 15 or 20 years. They could last 25 years if you're super lucky.

In short, be careful about catch phrases. And be aware of what you are getting. If you would like to learn more about our catch phases, "imagine simple" and "3 easy steps" click here.

Information about the photo:

The photo above is of a brand new shingle that is sometimes referred to as a lifetime shingle. Notice how it is missing a patch of gravel. The gravel protects the rest of the layers from sun damage. When the gravel is gone, the shingle gets destroyed very quickly.

A rain collar is the flexible part of the pipe flashing (aka pipe jack) on your roof. Rain collars can be made from materials such as rubber, silicone, or Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE). It is

Damage from a small leak

very common for rain collars to fail before the shingles. You probably won't know when these leaks happen. The pipes tend to come straight up from inside the walls. This means if a pipe flashing goes bad, your leak will probably never go through your ceiling.

So when should you check the pipe flashings on your roof? First, if you are going to check them yourself, be very careful. Falling off or through a roof or off a ladder can break bones or cause death. You can call Flat Rate Roofers LLC at 541-227-5552. We'll be glad to help you check, and if needed, replace rain collars. It's a good idea to check the pipe jacks when they are about 10 years old. Check for obvious problems such as the one shown in the photo above. If the rain collar doesn't show an obvious need for replacement, push on it. You shouldn't see any cracks or sun damage, and it should be flexible.

If you need a new set of rain collars on your roof, do not attempt to repair them and don't let a roofer try either! Rain collars are manufactured to provide a tight seal and last years. Silicone caulk or roof cement should only be used as a redundancy or backup for leak protection, and if possible, should ideally be used where the sun can't reach it. Replacement rain collars can be found at roofing specialty suppliers, online, or at some home improvement stores. You can also call us to do it for you. Replacing the rain collars on your roof is a quick and relatively inexpensive fix that will help save you the trouble of water damage.

Waiting until a leak or leaks make it into the living areas of the house is a bad idea. By then it is too late. By then there may be damages in the tens of thousands of dollars beyond

Damage from a small leak

replacing the roof. Even if a leak hasn’t caused much damage inside your house, there will probably be significant hidden damage. Roofs usually begin to leak slowly years before it can be seen from inside. Leaks soak into the roof deck, trusses or rafters, and walls. This can cause rot, layer separation of plywood or OSB, warping, and/or mold. Ideally you should replace the roof before there is any significant damage.

Replacing an entire plywood roof deck can cost thousands extra. You will need to pay for the permit (required by Jackson County and the city of Medford), materials, and labor. If it will include disturbing lead painted surfaces you could end up paying an additional $10,000 or so too! If there is significant damage to the trusses some companies, including Flat Rate Roofers, might refuse to do the job. 

It’s not possible to know exactly when a roof will leak enough to start causing significant damage. There are, however, signs that can give especially a trained eye a very good idea. If you are curious about these signs, please visit