With winter around the corner, it is important that you take steps to protect your home against winter storms and heavy snowfall. Perhaps most critical is that you ensure that your roof is ready to withstand another winter, as your roof is your home’s first line of defense against water infiltration. Yet, how can you tell when it is time to have your roof replaced? While it may be difficult for many homeowners to tell the difference between a new roof and one that needs replacing, if you know what to look for there are subtle signs which can indicate that your roof may be in need of replacing. If you are unsure whether your roof can make it through the coming winter, here are a few signs indicating that it may be time to consider having your roof replaced.
When trying to decide whether it may be time to invest in a new roof for your home, one of the clearest indicators that you may need a new roof will be your roof’s age. While the life expectancy of your roof will depend on a variety of factors including the type and quality of materials used, the average asphalt shingle roof is built to last between 20 and 30 years. This means that if your roof is nearing its 25th birthday, then it may be time to consider investing in a new roof. Even if your roof seems fine from the ground and does not appear to be showing signs of damage, there may be structural damage that you can’t see. Having your roof inspected as it nears its 25th birthday can give you a better idea of its condition and how soon it may need to be replaced.
Of course, if you did not yet live in your home the last time the roof was replaced, then you may not know how old your roof is. Fortunately, as your roof ages, it will give off warning signs that it is failing, giving you time to plan to have it replaced. In order to get a better idea of your roof’s condition, and to allow you to look for signs of damage, it is important that you get on top of your roof and inspect it for signs of damage at least twice a year (ideally in the fall and spring).
When inspecting your roof, you should look to see if any shingles are loose or missing, as this can indicate problems with your roof. While it is not uncommon for shingles to be knocked loose or be blown off of your roof during a storm, and discovering that a few shingles are missing after a particularly heavy storm may not be cause for concern, you may have a problem if many shingles are missing from your roof and there has not been a storm recently. As your roof ages, it may begin to shed shingles. While it can be simple in the beginning to replace shingles as they go missing, you may be fighting a losing battle if you find that your roof is shedding shingles frequently. The fact is that a roof that sheds shingles frequently is compromised, and it will likely be more cost-effective to have your roof replaced than to continue replacing last shingles.
When inspecting your roof, you should also look to see if your asphalt shingles are balding and seem to be missing a lot of granules. As your roof ages, you may begin to notice that it sheds granules during storms, and you may begin to find granules in your gutters or on the ground around your home following heavy rainfall. While it is normal for an asphalt roof to begin to shed granules about halfway through its life, this granule loss should be fairly minimal in an otherwise healthy roof.
If your roof’s granule loss has gotten so bad that you discover large piles of granules in your gutters whenever it rains, or if your roof appears visibly bald and devoid of granules when you inspect it, then it is critical that you have your roof replaced as soon as possible. Not only is heavy granule loss a clear sign that your roof is failing and needs to be replaced, but also, granules play a vital role in protecting your shingles from the sun. Without these granules, your roof’s shingles will begin to crack and deteriorate even quicker, threatening your roof’s structural integrity.
When inspecting your roof, you should also look for visual signs of damage to your shingles such as curling, buckling, or cracking, as these can all be signs of an aging roof. While localizing shingle damage may not be cause for concern, as you can have a handful of shingles replaced fairly easily, if cracking and curling become widespread problems across your roof, then it may be time to have your roof replaced. Over time, your roof’s shingles can begin to curl or crack either due to age, or weather exposure. Once these problems become widespread, it is important that you plan to have your roof replaced within a year as damaged shingles can allow water to seep under your roof, potentially causing costly damage to your home.
As part of your regular roof inspection, you should go into your attic and inspect the underside of your roof as this can give you a better idea of the condition of your roof. Once you are in your attic, lay on your back and turn off all of the lights in your attic including any flashlights that you may have brought with you. When looking at the underside of your roof, you should not be able to see any gaps through your roof boards. If you can see the sky between roof boards, and/or you can see sunlight coming into your attic from between your roof boards, then it is critical that you have your roof replaced. Gaps in your roof boards will not only let in light, but they can also let in moisture, causing water damage. It is then critical that you check the underside of your roof frequently as this can help you to discover damage to your roof early before you encounter a leak.
Of course, just because you do not see any noticeable gaps in your roof, this does not necessarily mean that your roof is not leaking. When you are in your attic inspecting the underside of your roof, you should also look for signs of moisture in your attic that can indicate a roof leak. If you discover pooling water or boards that look damp, this can indicate that your roof is no longer watertight and will need to be replaced. Make sure to check your attic’s insulation to see if it feels waterlogged, as your insulation may hold water even after water elsewhere in your attic has dried.
A lesser-known sign that your roof is aging and may be in need of replacement is if the cost of heating and cooling your home has spiked in the last year or two. While various problems can lead to a reduction in the energy-efficiency of your home’s HVAC system, such as an outdated furnace or aging windows, if your home’s windows and HVAC system are relatively new, then your roof may be to blame for your rising energy bills. As your roof begins to age, it may not do as good of a job at preventing heat transfer in and out of your home, which could cause your HVAC system to have to work harder to heat and cool your home. Having your roof replaced would then help to significantly improve your home’s insulation, improving your home’s energy-efficiency.
A clear sign that something is wrong with your roof, and that it likely needs to be replaced, is if your roof appears to be drooping or sagging. If your roof is sagging, this could indicate one of a variety of severe problems such as a roof that wasn’t installed properly, a roof that is too heavy, a roof that has water damage, or it could indicate more severe structural issues. Regardless, it is critical that you have your roof inspected as soon as possible if you believe that your roof is sagging.
Of course, even if you do not notice any of the above signs which would indicate that your roof is aging, you should trust your gut when trying to decide if it is time to replace your roof. If your roof appears old, outdated, or worn down, then it may be time to consider having it replaced. Having your aging roof replaced would not only ensure that your home is protected when winter arrives, but it can also transform the way that your home looks, boosting its curb appeal and helping to give it a more updated/modern look.
Knowing what to look for can help you to know when it is time to have your roof replaced, and it will give you time to prepare to have it replaced before winter arrives. However, if you are still unsure whether your roof can make it through the next winter, then you should consider having your roof professionally inspected. A roofing contractor can help you to determine what condition your roof is in, and they can also help you to decide what course of action you should take in order to ensure that your home is protected when winter arrives.
Feel free to contact us to learn more about the signs indicating that your roof needs to be replaced as well as to schedule an inspection of your roof to see if it may be in need of replacing.