Minimizing expenses and reducing risks of potential large capital expenses are just a few things that can greatly impact the bottom line of funeral homes. Proper maintenance is crucial to avoiding costly replacement purchases. It is always less expensive to maintain what you have than to replace it. HVAC systems are a common thought of business owners when it comes to a potential large expense. Another item that is easily forgotten but protects the entire building is the roof system. Property owners typically don’t pay much attention to it unless there is an issue. A roof can leak for a long time before that leak reveals itself and by then the damage is done. Roof decking, insulation, drywall and even the paint and carpet can be impacted by a leak. Annual roof inspections are cheep and possibly even free with the right vendor. Funeral home owners and managers should know about changes that happened in the roofing industry and can greatly impact large funeral home roofs.

Picture purchasing a brand new shingled roof. Those shingles will keep roofing costs off your mind and your budget. But 10-15 years later your roof is streaky and springing leaks. How did this happen, and why weren’t you told to budget for a new roof sooner? A small funeral home could face a $40,000 to $50,000 bill to replace it. Large funeral home replacement costs can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the late 20th century shingles would have lasted a full 30 years. Shingles purchased then were made of a mixture of asphalt, which is a byproduct of the petroleum refining process, and limestone or other fillers. This creates a shingle that is durable and hard while remaining flexible enough to withstand harsh weather and changing temperatures.

However, in the early 2000s engineers discovered a way to refine petroleum that results in more gasoline and less byproduct. This development limited asphalt production, consequently increasing the cost of making shingles. Shingle Manufacturers began adding more limestone to shingles to make them cheaper to produce.

The new formula for shingles, containing less asphalt and more limestone, changed the weight and durability of shingles. Every 100 square feet of shingles once weighed 320 lbs., but now weigh 240 lbs. Lighter shingles with less asphalt results in roofs that last half as long as promised. Roofing companies have been undergoing lawsuits as a result; googling “roof class action lawsuit” will demonstrate the amount of cases that have resulted from newer, lower-quality shingles. Light, dry shingles can’t withstand harsh weather and thermal shock the way that heavier shingles with more oil can.

Thermal shock occurs when a material expands in heat and retracts in the cold. Roofs experience this on a daily basis, especially in the summer. Roofing shingles can get up to 150 degrees when exposed to direct sunlight, but quickly cool to 60 or 70 degrees when a rain shower pops up. The oils they contain allow them to spread out in the heat and quickly retract again when cooled, undergoing thermal shock without breaking apart. However, the oils from the asphalt evaporate over time, causing the shingles to age and become brittle. Less asphalt leads to faster oil evaporation and puts more stress on asphalt shingles, causing them to break apart prematurely.

Once shingles become brittle, harsh winds and hail can break them apart and cause leaks. Studies show that it takes 2-4 years for a leak to show up as a stain on your ceiling. This water has to pass through 12 to 16 inches of insulation, causing internal roof damage that will cost much more than the cost of replacing the roof itself.

Brittle shingles will also begin developing streaks. This unsightly development is caused by a blue-green algae called gloeocapsa magma. Spores of this algae will attach to your roof and discolor the shingles. As your shingles become brittle and crumble, water vapor will more easily settle between your shingles and create a good environment for this algae to grow.

Rather than replacing a streaky roof, many choose to clean their shingles to make them look like new. Most contractors will clean your roof with pressure washing, which puts unnecessary stress on your shingles. Instead, you could clean the shingles with bleach products, but these aren’t environmentally friendly and any runoff could be hazardous to you or even damage your landscaping. A more preferable option is to find one of the few environmentally-friendly asphalt cleaning products currently on the market, though many of these products contain salts that will dry out your roof.

While cleaning a roof can beautify a property it will not increase the life of shingles. Until now the only option for an aging roof was replacement. Since margins can be tight for funeral homes it is not an expense many wish to face. New technology has provided an option to extend the life of an asphalt shingle roof. A quick internet search for “roof replacement alternatives” can provide a funeral home owner with options that are now available on the market that can help maintain and extend the life of shingles. This maintenance also offers a tremendous cost savings verses a full tear off and replace which means more dollars stay on the bottom line. FBA

Mike Feazel is the CEO of Roof Maxx technologies. Roof Maxx, a product developed by Mike and Todd Feazel, utilizes soy methyl esters to create an EPA and FDA approved roof treatment that can extend the life of your roof by up to 15 years, and is a fraction of the cost of roof replacement. As shingles last for shorter and shorter amounts of time, innovators are finding ways to solve the problem of expensive, short-lived roofs. With proper maintenance and care, your roof could last its full 30 years- or more! For more information please visit