For the most part, your roof quietly protects your house and doesn’t ask for much in return. It needs a nice gutter-cleaning once or twice a year, but other than that, it’s fine. Roofs can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, but you need a new roof once you start seeing these signs.
Disclaimer for Signs You Need a New Roof
There are significant differences between commercial vs residential roofing. These roof problems apply to residential roofing.
1. Water Damage and Leaking
If you notice water spots appearing on your ceiling, it’s time to investigate. It could be a leaky pipe, but if it isn’t, your roof is no longer able to protect your house from rainfall. Rain seeping through an old roof and into the house can lead to mildew, mold, and wood rot.
The next time you’re in your yard, take a look at your roof. Is the coloring of the roof more or less the uniform? For wood and asphalt shingles, dark streaking could be algae or rot from pooling snow or rainwater. For a metal roof, look for signs of rust.
3. Missing Shingles
Look for bald patches on your roof. Missing shingles need replacing immediately to protect your interior from the elements. Too many missing is one of the signs you need a new roof.
4. Damaged Shingles
Over the course of time or harsh weather, shingles can become cracked and damaged. Weakened shingles compromise the capability of your roof to protect you.
5. Shingles Curling
Wood and asphalt shingles only begin to curl at the edges when they have been around quite a while. While this curling isn’t necessarily considered damage, it does give you a better idea of your roof’s age.
6. Roof Debris in Gutters
Cleaning your gutters once or twice a year (as it’s recommended you do) helps you keep track of roof issues while you’re there. Although you will mostly find decomposed leaves in your gutter, keep an eye out for roof debris. A wood and asphalt roof will shed little black granules, and a clay roof will lose crumbled bits of mortar.
As roofs age, more and more bits slough off and get caught in the gutter. Watch for an increased amount as a sign that it’s time to replace your roof.
Even the best roof can only hold up for about 30 years. If you’ve lived in your house for twenty years and never had your roof replaced, it’s time to start asking around for a good roofer.
If you don’t know how old your roof is, there are a few different ways you can find out. You can reach out to the previous owners. If you live in a county that requires a building permit for replacing a roof, you can request a copy of the permit.
If nothing else, you can hire a home inspector or a roofing company to come out and take a look. They will give you a good idea of how old the roof is and how much longer you have before you need to worry about replacing it.
Making the Call
It’s important to replace your roof before serious and expensive damage occurs as a result. So if you notice one or more of these signs, you need a new roof; it’s time to start searching for a good roofer.
For more advice on owning a house, check out the Indoor and Outdoor archives of our blog.