When you see a warning sign that there’s something wrong with your roof, like a leak or water damage, it’s vital to take steps immediately. Getting out the ladder and inspecting the roof can help you figure out whether you’re likely to need a simple repair or a whole roof replacement. Keep in mind, though, that a roofing professional should always make the final determination.
Here are some factors that might indicate you need a new roof:
Age of Your Roof
A typical asphalt shingle roof should last about 15-20 years, while wood shingles have a longer life of around 30-50. If you have a tile or slate roof, it can last up to a hundred years or even more (although individual tiles may need replacing earlier). Comparing the age of your roof to the average length of time that material lasts will give you a good idea whether a replacement is warranted. It’s important to remember that extreme climate and weather can sometimes play a part in aging a roof prematurely.
Condition of Shingles
If you have an asphalt shingle roof, like 70% of American homes, you might notice damage to the shingles as one of the first signs that your roof needs replacement. Look for buckling or curling tiles, shingles that are losing granules, or shingles that are missing entirely.
Finding excessive amounts of granules in your gutters (especially after a storm) is another warning sign, since shingles will start to lose them at the end of their effective life. This will also happen for the first few weeks when you have a new roof put on, but in this case, it’s totally normal and no cause for concern.
Signs of Rot or Mold
Visible patches of rot, mold, or excess moisture are an obvious red flag. This is most common with wood shingles, but can also happen with asphalt. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rainfall or humidity, be especially alert for rot and mold.
Damage to Flashing
Flashing is the metal sheeting that’s installed around angles or joints on your roof to keep out water, commonly found around places like your chimney. Cracking or peeling flashing needs to be addressed immediately to avoid water seeping inside, and it can be a warning sign about the condition of the rest of the roof.
Check Inside, Too
You can spot some of the warning signs of an aging roof without stepping foot outside. These include a sagging roof deck, water damage, dark spots on the ceiling, and outside light showing through the roof.
Even if you keep an eye out for these signs, it’s still a good idea to get a professional roof inspection at least once a year. This will give you a chance to address small issues before they become big problems. Keep your roof in good condition and it will do its job of keeping your home and its occupants safe.