As a homeowner, keeping up with your home and being sure it remains up to code at all times is amongst your more important responsibilities. Like most investments in life, all properties require upkeep as years go on to bring maximum comfort and security. The longer you have lived in your home, the more likely you have mulled over investing in a new roof installation. However, before jumping to the decision to replace your roof entirely, there are some warning signs to look for to figure out whether or not the time is proper for you and your home.
If you’ve conducted just a little digging into this question, you’ve probably come across the ”20” year rule for replacing your roof. That number is used as a benchmark. The majority of residential roofs need replacing within that window. But, there are quite a few factors at play, and not any roof is the same.
Your roof takes a lot of external wear and tear with every year that flys by. Sunlight, strong winds, flying trees, rodents, hurricanes, large sums of rain, or destructive weather conditions – all of these have an impact on a roof’s lifetime. How quickly your roof needs to be replaced depends on many things:
- What kind of weather is experienced.
- Yearly maintenance and care.
- Age of the materials.
- Quality of the materials.
- How well it was installed, to begin with.
- Were repairs addressed when needed?
- If wildlife was kept away.
- External debris accumulation.
You Have An Old Roof
Usually, an asphalt shingle roof has a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. Metal or tile roofs tend to have a much longer lifespan. If your roof is nearing its typical replacement age, you should probably start thinking about a roof replacement. In addition, if other roof repairs were installed over the top of your pre-existing roof – a practice known as overlaying – you should assuredly think about getting a new roof. Overlaying is a quick fix that can mask more significant roofing problems beneath the shingle surface.
Conduct An Interior Roof Check
The first step is to scoop up a flashlight and get to the attic for all intents and purposes. Ensure to grab a flashlight with a bright beam, so you don’t miss any damage, and always be sure to be safe as you go through these types of inspections.
Upon arriving in your attic, try to identify one (or several) of these four signs that a roof replacement may be necessary:
1) Sunlight Shining In Through The Roof
Before you turn your flashlight on, try and identify any rays of sunlight coming through breaks or punctures in your roof. If the light is spotted shining through your roof, repair or replace your roof immediately. If the light is getting through your roof, then water is also leaking into your roof.
2) Dark Streaks & Stains
This one is also relatively easy to uncover. If there are dark stains or dark streaks on the underside of your roof or running down the walls from the base of your roof, then your roof is probably leaking, and moisture is damaging both your roof and your home’s interior structure.
3) Sagging Areas
In the same way that water will make a piece of cardboard soggy and weak, water can also make the structure of your roof begin to sag. If you notice sagging areas in your roof, take your hand or a broom to carefully prod at the sagging spot. If the spot is wet or moves around quickly with a touch of your broom, you know you have moisture damage.
In addition to searching for dark streaks and sagging sections, be sure to look for any present signs of water leaking or rotting your roof on the inside. If you see any clear signs of water damage, you should immediately call a roofer to evaluate your roof.
Missing, Loose, Or Cracked Shingles
The issue with most roofs is that they’re ignored and out of sight. Most of the time, not taking a good look until there is a stain or dark spot clearly visible from the street or yard.
Weathered or dilapidated asphalt shingles are pretty easy to discover if you search for them. Missing shingles can be replaced one by one, but they often indicate a larger issue. Large swaths of cracked or loose shingles (or shingles that are falling apart) point to your roof needing replacement.
Asphalt shingles have a couple of ways to curl – the first is called cupping when the edges curl towards the sky or clawing when edges stay flat, and the middle starts popping up. Both could indicate that:
- Moisture has built up underneath the shingles because of inadequate ventilation in the attic.
- Shingles were inadequately installed.
- Old age and wear from direct sunlight and weathering.
Bald spots on your shingles mean that the granules have begun falling off, exposing the asphalt below. Tip: check your gutter system for shingles granules. If rain carries them into your gutters, it’s likely your roof needs replacement.
Moss, Dark Spots And Algae Growth
Dark spots (or generally grimy-looking shingles) are caused by moss and algae growth. Again, these may not be directly tied to how often you have to replace your roof (or get it repaired), but such problems can spread out and cause damage.
Noticing moss or other types of nature growing on top or out of your roof? If so, don’t worry. Our natural environment tends to increase over any structure in its path if it is not properly cared for and maintained.
When inspecting your roof and the fungus you have noticed, make sure to do so by examining both the inside and outside of your roof. While most plant growths are likely to be seen from the outside of your roof, when there’s a larger issue at hand, nature may also be thriving on its own indoors without your knowledge.
Most of the time, eliminating the algae from a roof is a way to quickly remedy the issue without further investments or repairs. But, if you see substantial growths on your roof or even inside your home, it is highly advisable to work with a roofing company to identify the root cause and reason for the growths.
In the event the roof is just completely overgrown, then the only plan would be to get a new roof. This usually happens to roofs that go unattended for long periods of time.
The good news is that natural growth and buildup are not usually an indicator that you must repair or replace your roof. Rather, moss is moreso an eyesore to your roof and one that is quite common in humid geographic regions.
If you do require a new roof installation, in the end, there then becomes a number of decisions to be made. Beginning with the roofing material to use, will you stick with asphalt or consider metal? Which roofing contractor to work with? If by chance, there’s a valid insurance damage claim. For many people having the cash on hand to get a new roof may not be a possibility. There is financing available for qualified homeowners offered by many roofing companies. Ensure to do proper research before deciding on which contractor to work with.