Signs Your Roof May Need Replacing
Signs Your Roof May Need Replacing
Are you wondering if it’s time to bite the bullet and replace your roof? Putting off a necessary replacement can lead to further problems in the future, so it’s best to watch carefully for warning signs and consult a roofing specialist if you think you’re due for a replacement. Not only will timely reroofing prevent the water leaks and the mold issues caused by dampness, but a new roof will be a big plus if you decide to sell down the road. While many problems can be addressed with repairs, there are number of signs that point to the need for a replacement of the entire roof. A good way to stay ahead of potential roofing problems is no inspect your roof at least two times a year, in the spring and fall.
To get a good overall idea of how your roof is doing, start inside the house. Head up to the attic with a flashlight and look for signs of water damage or leaking, dark spots or streaks, saggy areas in the roof deck or outside light showing through the roof. All are signs of an unhealthy roof.
Curled, Cracked or Missing Shingles
The condition of the shingles themselves are an indication your roof needs replacing. Take a good look at the slopes of the roof in direct sunlight to see if they’re losing granules, curling, blistering or buckling, indicators that they’re past their life expectancy. Missing shingles and broken “tabs” are also indicators. Inspect chimney flashing for damage; flashing wear and tear around pipes, vents, chimneys or other areas of penetration are danger signs.
The valleys of the roof, pathways over the years for rain and snow travelling down into the gutters, are particularly important to inspect. Shingles that are broken or missing in the valleys can lead to serious roof leaks and associated interior problems.
Look carefully in your gutters to see if they’re full of shingle granules, which will look like large pieces of sand. Healthy shingles retain their granules, but toward the end of life expectancy, shingles start to lose more granules. You can also take a good look at overall roof color; if it’s inconsistent or patchy, granules may be worn away.
Signs of Moisture or Rot
Look carefully for signs of moisture or rot, while keeping in mind that the wet spots may not be directly beneath the damaged shingle. Water travels to the lowest point before it drips, and wet spots can lead quickly to growth of mold, fungi and bacteria. Mold is particularly insidious because it can start to grow within 24 to 48 hours of water damage, bringing its associated health problems into your home. Take a walk on your roof (unless you have a tile roof) or have someone else do it. A spongy or bouncy feeling underfoot may be an indicator that the underlying roof decking is damaged or weakened from leaking moisture. Damp insulation also points to moisture intrusion.
Your roof’s age is a big factor in determining replacement necessity. Generally, asphalt shingle roofs last between 20 and 25 years. Other factors to take into consideration include whether the old roof was removed and an entirely new single layer of shingles laid. If the last replacement consisted of installing a new layer over the old one and the roof’s older than 20 years, you probably need a new roof. Properly ventilated roofs also last longer.
Both roofing materials and where you live have a bearing on how long your roof will last. Generally, cedar roofs in a dry climate will start to split and fall apart when they need replacing. In a moist climate, they’ll start to get mossy. Overall, a cedar roof has a lifespan of around 20 years. Tile roofs, on the other hand can last up to 100 years, though individual tiles can break and should be replaced by a specialist. Don’t walk on your tile roof or you may break more tiles yourself. If you have a roof with wooden shakes, you’ll also need to watch out for wood-boring pests including termites and carpenter ants.
Your Neighbors are Getting New Roofs
This isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses. If you live in a neighborhood where most homes were built at around the same time, your neighbors’ roofs have been exposed to the same weather conditions as yours over roughly the same period of time. If they’re starting to experience roof problems, yours may be coming along in the near future, and it’s good to get roof replacement into the budget fairly quickly.
Roof surfaces that don’t get much sunlight, such as those on the north side of the house or deep in the valleys, are vulnerable to moss growth, particular in moist, cool climates. More than an unsightly roofing issue, moss also holds moisture against the surface of the roof, potentially causing damage to top granules in colder climates. If you notice moss in time, it can be brushed off, but you’ll need to watch out for the inevitable regrowth.
If you think you may be due for a new roof, contact a licensed roofing contractor, or several, to see whether they think repair or replacement is the best solution.