Your home’s roofing system is a critical element that both maintains the structural integrity of your home, and keeps your family safe from the elements. Even a small leak can potentially create problems that can cost thousands of dollars of damage if ignored. Water damage can lead to insect infestation, dangerous mold and other issues that can not only affect your home but can be dangerous to your family’s health.
Sometimes, a roof can reach the end of its lifespan without experiencing failure, or damage. Whatever the case, like installing replacement windows that leak or are worn out to improve energy efficiency, replacing a roof at the end of its life is a home improvement that makes sense, and is more than worth the investment.
So how do you know if your roof needs a simple repair, or if you need a full replacement roof installation?
There are some obvious warning signs. If you see one or more of the following signs you may need a new roof. If you’re not sure whether you need a repair or a replacement, call a professional roofing contractor and arrange an inspection.
Here are some of the red flags to watch for before calling a roofer.
Warning Signs That You Need A New Roof
First, unless you are a professional, STAY OFF OF THE ROOF! It can be extremely dangerous and most of the warning signs that your roof may need to be replaced can be seen using binoculars for exterior inspections and in your attic with a flashlight. Here’s what to look for:
# Visually Check the Shingles
With binoculars from the ground, look closely at your roof. Are the shingles missing, cracked, curled or cupped? Can you see bald spots where the granules are missing? If any of these conditions are present you may want to contact a roofing contractor for a more thorough inspection.
# When Was Your Roof Originally Installed?
If your roof is 20 years old or more, it may be time to start thinking about replacement. While most modern roofing systems typically last 30 years, many factors can accelerate aging. For example, if your location experiences temperature extremes with direct sun all day, or your roof is not properly ventilated. Sometimes, your roof just looks old and worn.
If you’re not sure when you’re roof was installed, look to your neighbors. Often many homes in a neighborhood were built around the same time. If your neighbors are having work done on their roof, it might be a good idea to have yours inspected.
# Perform an Interior Inspection
This is an easy and effective way to evaluate your roof’s condition. Get a flashlight and go up into the attic, and as always be careful! Once you’re in the attic, look for these four common signs:
- Daylight Through the Roof Boards – While it’s still dark look at the roof, if you see light coming through cracks or holes, call your roofing contractor immediately. If the light is getting through, so is water.
- Dark Streaks and Stains – This one is easy to see. If you have dark streaks on the underside of your roof decking your roof is likely leaking and moisture are damaging not only your roof but your home’s interior.
- Sagging Areas – Water can make the structure of your roof begin to sag. If you see sagging areas use your hand or a broom and lightly prod the sagging spot. If the spot gives, bends easily, or feels wet, you have moisture damage.
- Leaks and Water Damage – in addition to sags and streaks, check for obvious signs of water damage, like stained ceilings or rotting on your roof. If you see any clear signs of water damage, call a roofing contractor immediately.
Shingle Granules in the Gutter
This is another way to identify damage to shingles. If you see particles or pieces of shingles in the gutter then your roof may be compromised and more susceptible to water damage.
Damaged Chimney And Roof Flashing
Flashing is commonly found around penetrations in the roof, like vent pipes, and around the base of your chimney. If your flashing is made of tar, or roof cement, it may be vulnerable to water damage as it ages. Consider replacing it with a more durable metal flashing system.
Perform annual internal and external inspections to stay on top of any problems before they become critical. If you see any signs of damage or leaking, call a professional. Most roofing contractors will perform a free inspection. When the inspector arrives, let them know what you saw and where you saw any damage. They will be able to verify if it’s a problem, as well as look for other signs you may have missed.