Should I be worried about my roof during Boulder winters?

Guide to Roof Pitch and Roofing Materials


Roofs are part of the “Big 10” maintenance issues. They are neck-in-neck with foundation, HVAC, and mold as some of the most expensive home repairs. If you’re house hunting in Boulder (a place with lots of extreme winter weather!) it can be important to brush up on your roofing knowledge. It can save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of headaches.


How long will my roof last?

That’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. The longevity of your roof is different depending on what material it’s made of. Here, the Compass Boulder realtor team at Burgess Group breaks down the most common roofing materials in Boulder: 


1. Asphalt shingles

This is the most common roof type in America, and Boulder is no exception. There’s one major reason for this: the price. It’s the most inexpensive roofing option currently on the market. The cost of an asphalt shingle roof replacement is between $1.50-4.50 per square foot. The downside is that there is a big range of how long the roof will last. Asphalt roofs last between 10-30 years. That’s a pretty big range, that leaves a lot of gray areas. That range is so large primarily because asphalt shingles react differently to different climates. In Colorado, the typical lifespan is 15-20 years. But that can be shortened if the roof lives through periods of prolonged inclement weather. 

2. Metal roofing

Metal is one of the best materials for Colorado roofs. It can easily handle hail and heavy snowfall. Its average lifespan is around 50 years, even under severe weather conditions. Metal roofing design has come a long way recently. With metal shake and shingles, you may not even notice that a roof is made of metal until it starts to rain. Metal roofs can be expensive or inexpensive depending on the material you use. Aluminum is usually around $3/square foot, while copper and tin can get up to $30/ square foot. 

3. Slate 

Slate roofs look fantastic. Their natural hues complement natural rock formations around Boulder. It’s one of the longest-lasting roof materials. Soft slate will last between 50-125 years, while hard slate is durable for 75-200 years. Pretty impressive! It’s waterproof, fire resistant, and resists mold and fungus. But with that kind of durability, it’ll cost ya. Slate tiles can cost between $6.90-12.50 per square foot.

4. Wooden Shake

Wooden shake tiles are popular because of their whimsical appearance. Wooden (often cedar) shake tiles add undeniable character to a home. You can guarantee that your guests will have stars in their eyes and say things like “It’s like a hobbit house!”. But unfortunately, it’s not the most practical option. Wooden shake only has a lifespan of about 10 years. This lifespan could be extended a bit in Colorado due to our low humidity. But unfortunately, it’s also a large fire hazard.  And we’re all a bit more sensitive to fire safety after the Marshall Fire.

5. Rubber Shingles 

Rubber is a durable and cost-effective option. They can last 15-30 years, and repairs are pretty easy. Rubber is a strong insulator and can lower your energy costs. Search for rubber shingles made out of recycled rubber for an extra green option. 


4 Roof Red Flags To Look Out For

If you’re buying an older home, it can be hard to know where your tenure fits into the overall roof lifespan. Your inspector will conduct a thorough investigation before you close on the house, of course. But it’s smart to know what to look out for yourself. 


1. Leaks 

If you have to put a bucket under the ceiling every time it rains… it’s probably not a good sign. Many leaks can be patched. But if the leak persists or if there are leaks in multiple places in your home, it can be a sign that your home requires a much bigger fix. 


2. The shingles don’t look great. 

Get up on the roof and check out your shingles. Shingle damage can appear in many ways:

  • Cracks
  • Loose or missing 
  • Damage or discoloration (especially around vents!) 
  • Missing granules 
  • Moss or algae growth 
  • Sensitivity around chimneys or skylights 
  • Fading or UV damage


3. Interior water damage 

Signs of water damage will show up in your attic, ceilings, and walls. Water damage looks like streaks, stains, or spots. Water damage can be caused by other issues ( like a leaky appliance, for example!) but if it appears near the top of your walls, the roof is likely the culprit. 


4. Sagging roofline 

Your roof lines should be straight, angular, and strong. Any curving, dipping, or visible sagging is important to investigate.


Trusted roofers in Boulder

Having worked in the Boulder real estate scene for over 25 years, The Compass Boulder real estate agents at Burgess Group have had many opportunities to vet home maintenance vendors.

Here, our Boulder realtors list our top picks for trustworthy roofers in Boulder. These two companies have proven to be reliable and fair. And most importantly, they always do high-quality work.

Beyond Roofing


Beyond Roofing

Beyond Roofing has been working in the Boulder/ Denver area since 1993. They value customer service just as highly as their craftsmanship, which makes them fantastic to work with. They can help you with roofing, siding, windows, and storm damage. Get in touch with Beyond Roofing here

Denver Roofing | Commercial Roofing Company | Residential Roofing

Modern Roof Co.

Modern Roof Co. has over 50 years of experience. They work throughout Colorado and are hired on both commercial and residential projects. You can get in touch with them here. 


Need another recommendation?

If you need a recommendation for any other maintenance vendors (HVAC, contractors, builders, you name it!) don’t hesitate to reach out to the Compass Boulder realtor team at Burgess Group. 

About the Author