From spotting signs of damage to knowing when to replace old technology, this list will be your guide on when to get your roofing inspected and/or replaced.
Before you get professionals involved, take a close look at your roofing yourself. First, you’ll be searching for cracks or missing shingles. Your roof might appear to function perfectly fine even with these present, but openings in the roofing will cause greater damage if left unattended. Water damage is particularly nasty, as it can ruin walls and cause mold to manifest. It’s generally better and less expensive to replace roofing than to get roof leaks repair once the damage is done.
Next, you look for shingles of different color, namely darker ones, which indicates water damage. Continue by inspecting your attic for any light rays coming through from above and finish off by checking your walls and ceilings for leaks or mold signs. Even if the roof looks perfectly fine, openings in the foundation or a poor build/design can make roof leaks repair necessary. On that note, if you have to repair leaks, always check your roof!
If you’ve done the above and haven’t found notable damage, it means your roof probably doesn’t need immediate repairs, but you might still want to replace it preemptively. See below:
Less obvious damage
These are signs that a roof is wearing down. They don’t indicate a need for emergency roof repair but are still a sign that repairs are needed. Take head that the more worn a roof is, the higher the chance for serious damage becomes, especially if bad weather comes along.
Check if your shingles have curved edges or are otherwise misshapen, which is a telltale sign of aging. Over time, the shingles lose firmness and predictably, openings are created.
Look for visible erosion damage on the shingles, like spots of missing paint and otherwise uneven appearance and coloring. Over time, shingles are damaged by the environment and become more prone to damage. This is how you can tell if that’s the case.
Check for an abundance of granules or similar waste in gutters and corners. The elements subtly assert themselves over your roof, causing tiny amounts of damage over time which are hard to spot on the shingles themselves. Therefore, you should look in places where waste can accumulate, and act if you find an abundance of it.
Be on the lookout for any plant life, namely moss. While not immediately harmful, finding any is a great sign that the roof should be replaced. Plants need water to thrive, and water in your roofing is a sign that roof repair is needed before things get worse.
Know where and when to look
Roof damage is not consistent. When checking if roof repair is needed, pay attention to areas around openings such as chimneys, windows or anything plumbing-related. Any opening makes roof damage more likely to occur. If you’ve only found damage near these areas, consider seeking partial repair instead of a full replacement, especially if your roof is of a newer design.
Occurrences like storms, heavy rain, earthquakes or worse can also cause damage to your roof. More importantly, they can create openings. It is not unwise to check your roofing or to have it inspected after such events. Of course, if something recently made impact against your roof, like a tree (strangely common), it’s worth checking out if emergency roof repair is needed, even if there’s no visible damage.
How old is too old?
Roofs can come in many different materials. Assuming you know when the roof was installed, you should check which material was used to determine if a replacement is needed. Asphalt roofs of an older design last about twenty years, while metal and slate can last up to fifty years. Wooden roofs can last about thirty, but quality may reduce the lifespan.
Cement lasts around 25. The problem with checking your roof’s age is that materials have received noticeable changes over the years. The aforementioned, old asphalt roof lasts two decades, but a newer one may last up to five. Newer slate roofs can last up to eighty years, even. If you don’t see any specific damage and aren’t sure whether to replace the roof or not, consider having professionals inspect it for a definitive answer. Inspections are usually cheap and may even come free, depending on the service/company.
Consider local climate and recent events. If you live in an area that experiences harsh weather consistently, your roof’s lifespan will be shorter. Fluctuations between warm and cold also affect the aging of a roof negatively.
These are some of the more niche indicators that something’s up with the roofing. They still shouldn’t be ignored, of course.
To start off, instead of checking your shingles, check the roof’s foundation, both from above and below. You’ll be looking for any indents or shingles sticking out, as well as sagging and, of course, water damage. If the foundation is misshapen or damaged, more serious problems can arise under harsh weather conditions, and openings are created, which can cause water damage.
Speaking of water damage, remove a few shingles and check for wetness underneath. Make sure to check out key areas around chimneys, pipes and the like. Even if the shingles are resistant, they shouldn’t allow water to penetrate to the foundation. If they do, it is a sign of bad design or placement, and you should look into repairs before serious damage occurs.
For something less serious but still noteworthy – it isn’t just water that can cause darkened shingles. Algae can create the same effect, causing patches of darkened shingles. Algae can often be removed without major repairs, so consider finding out if you’re looking at water-damaged shingles or an algae outbreak. If the algae consistently manifest even after removal, it might be time to replace that part of the roof.
We hope this list has helped you determine whether it’s time to replace or repair your roof. Remember to do your best to prevent water damage, as roof leaks repair is far worse than just replacing some shingles.