Our home is approximately 10 years old. Lately, I have had some concern about the cedar shake roofing. During a storm last spring, a number of shakes were either blown off or broken. These were replaced, but now I'm concerned about the overall condition of the roof.

How long should I expect a cedar shake roof to last? Should I now be looking for a new roof, or an inspection for reroofing? When a replacement is needed, can new roofing be installed over the existing roof or should the current roofing be removed? If a new roof is required, are there alternatives to the cedar shakes that would be long lasting? -- K.C.

A number of factors can determine the life of a cedar shake roof, such as weather conditions in your area and the quality of the original installation.

All too often, roof problems are discovered after leaking and other serious damage occurs. It is best to have a professional roofing contractor inspect the roof every two or three years to look for signs of aging and wear. Periodic inspections can often uncover such things as cracked, warped or missing shingles that can be repaired without a complete roofing.

However, when repairing the roof is only temporarily solving problems, you should seriously consider replacement.

There is a wide range of roofing materials, designs and colors available today. Consult with a professional roofing contractor for selecting the most suitable for your home and climate.

One of the most popular roofing materials is the asphalt shingle. Asphalt shingles are available in a wide range of traditional and modern colors and styles, including the popular earth-tone hues and three-dimensional designs that would be compatible with the cedar shake look.

Most of today's asphalt shingles are designed to provide satisfactory service for a period ranging from 15 years to 25 years. They require little maintenance and are fire and wind resistant.

It usually is possible to install a second roof over the existing roof, which will save you a good deal of inconvenience and trouble, as well as money.

However, it is not recommended to install a third roofing layer over existing roofing because of increased weight that can damage the overall structure.

We are in the process of remodeling our home by adding a master suite plus a family living area off a remodeled kitchen.

The additions have required some major changes in the roofline, and we are now working on the design of the exterior and contemplating the type of roofing material that would look best on our newly designed home.

I like the look of slate and would like to consider using it instead of shingles, which were used previously. I understand this should be long lasting. Are there any pros and cons concerning slate as a durable roofing? -- R.B.

The major drawback in using slate on an existing structure would be the added weight when compared with other roofing materials. You will need to inspect the structure of your existing home and the support of the roof to assure that it can withstand the added weight of slate. You may find that added support (involving some major reconstruction in both the existing and remodeled portions of your home) will be necessary to install the slate roof.

Contact a qualified roofing contractor for an expert opinion. Other than the problem of weight and the added expense of slate, this material will give you many added years of service compared with most other commonly used materials.

I have a suggestion regarding the removal of bathtub flower adhesive, which you recently dealt with in your column. This problem is common when trying to remove old contact or pressure-sensitive adhesives.

First and foremost is safety. Never use a heat gun in the presence of flammable solvents. Explosion and fire might occur. The heat gun may assist in removal of the flowers, but not the adhesive.

Several techniques are effective. First, try paper towels or pieces of rag dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Lay them over the adhesive and cover them with plastic film to prevent drying. After the adhesive is softened, pick it up with strips of masking tape. A 50-50 mixture of xylene and isopropyl alcohol finishes cleanup. Alcohol mixed with solvent reduces smearing often created when using a solvent alone. -- W.H.C.

The removal of adhesive products and the residue left is a continuing problem among consumers.

I have often recommended using a heat source, such as hair dryer (not a heat gun), to help soften the adhesive for removal of such products as bathtub adhesive decorations.

Following this procedure, the residue left from the adhesive must also be removed. Unfortunately, adhesives vary and so do the solvents that are effective in their removal.

Various solvents that I have recommended for testing on adhesives have included lacquer thinner, MEK (methyl ethyl keytone) rubber cement solvent, 34X and naphtha.

For residue left from sticky labels, we have also recommended amyl acetate (banana oil), which is also the same as fingernail polish remover, and some of our readers have recommended Spray & Wash.

I am happy to pass along W.H.C.'s suggestion as another method of attacking this frustrating and difficult problem.

Send inquiries to Here's How, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190. Only questions of general interest can be answered in the column.