As a homeowner, maintaining your property is one of your most important responsibilities. Similar to most investments your roof requires care and attention to provide maximum comfort, safety, and security. The longer you have lived in your home, the more important it is to pay attention to some of the signs that indicate a roof replacement is imminent.
Signs It’s Time for a New Roof
You rely on your roof to be structurally sound to ensure you and your family are safe from the elements. These 15 signs are the most common indicators that you may have a compromised roof. If you notice any of these signs on your roof, don’t wait long before getting in touch with a professional roofing contractor.
- Your Roof is Old: Although some materials last longer than others, no roofs last forever (although copper will last almost 100 years). Asphalt shingles are the most common residential roofing materials. They have a lifespan of 15-30 years. If your roof is older than 20 years, or the extent of repairs is more than half of the cost of new installation, it’s probably time for a full roof replacement.
- Your Roof Has Missing Parts: Even small parts play a big role in your roof. If you are missing a portion of your roof, gutter, underlayment, shingles, fascia, or even just a few bolts here and there, it’s time for a replacement. Missing parts are often just the obvious sign of more serious issues underneath.
- Noticeable Cracked and Damaged Parts: If you have cracks, damaged fascia, or problems with the gutters, it’s time for a new roof. These areas are critical to the integrity of the roof. A small crack will allow moisture in and then get bigger over time. As more moisture enters, it can damage the underlayment and cause mold, mildew, insects, and rot.
- Mold and Moisture: When moist air rises, condensation can develop on the underside of the roof. Overtime, if the attic is not well ventilated, this can cause rust and eventual mold growth. If left for long enough the plywood underneath your roof can actually rot out completely. Sometimes this can be due to over-insulating, or not allowing enough ventilation in the attic.
- Holes on the Roof: If there is a hole in your roof, this is a pretty obvious sign that something is wrong. Whether you notice holes on the interior or on the exterior, both can be equally harmful. Even if obvious holes in the roof aren’t present, look for patches of moisture leaking through or sunlight coming through the roof. If so, it is time to call a contractor and get your roof replaced.
- Rotting Roof: A rotting roof is never something you want to stumble upon. Sure signs of rot may include multiple damp areas across the roof, spots of mold, sagging areas, or darkening of specific beams. In some cases, it may be possible to repair specific beams where the roof has been affected, but in most cases it will be necessary to replace the entire roof.
- Sagging Roof: A sagging roof is a clear indication of a structural problem and an immediate concern. A sagging roof could be due to several sources. It may be a problem with structural support, water damage, or excessive weight from snow and ice. It’s always easier to take care of a sagging roof when the sagging area is small and before it grows into a much larger issue.
- Roof Leakage: A roof leak is an obvious sign that your roof has a serious problem. Ignoring roof leaks or putting a band-aid on the issue poses a serious risk. Not only can neglected leaks cause additional issues but uncovering the reason for the leak is key to discovering underlying issues in your roof. A roof leak may actually be a sign of a problem in your flashings, chimney, vents, skylights, or junctions. Left unrepaired, a roof leak will cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems.
- Moss and Algae Growth: Nature tends to grow over any structure in its path. Moss and algae on the roof may be natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. If treated early and regularly, you can eliminate growth on the roof without a full roof replacement. However, if left neglected, moss and algae growth can lead to mold, mildew, and deterioration. In fact, while most plant growths are visible from the outside, serious moss issues can extend to the interior of your home as well.
- Attic Temperature Different from Outdoor Temperature: Your attic circulates air in and out. Therefore, the temperature in the attic should be consistent with the outdoor temperature. If your attic is warmer than your home it may be prone to ice dams, and you may notice blistering or peeling of exterior paint.
- Leaky Chimneys: The flashing around the chimney is responsible for keeping your home sealed away from the elements. If there is water leaking around your chimney, this is a sure sign that your chimney hasn’t been flashed properly or that it is leaking. It’s important to start with a chimney inspection to ensure you have a barrier in place to provide protection against leaks around the chimney, rake, and sidewalls.
- High Energy Bills: If your roof is not well insulated, or has leaks, it will lead to excessively high energy bills. Your HVAC system works to heat or cool your home and poor insulation or lack of ventilation can alter the temperature in the home, causing your HVAC system to work overtime. If you notice you have high energy bills in addition to any of the warning signs listed above, it could be because your roof is under-performing.
- Missing Granules: Asphalt shingles are covered with a granule coating. Those granules can be washed away due to wind, rain, or poorly manufactured shingles. Missing granules is a sure sign that your roof is losing its weatherproofing properties. If left untreated, these missing granules can put your entire roof at risk of damage from the next storm that rolls through. Even if your shingles look satisfactory from the ground, check your downspout splash pan for granules after it rains.
- Roof Damage by Ice: If you get huge icicles or ice dams on the edge of your roof, it may look like a winter wonderland, but it’s not safe for your roof. Ice is caused by improper ventilation, inadequate insulation or a poor water shield. If left untreated, ice can cause sagging or collapsed gutters, water damaged ceilings, peeling paint, damaged plaster, and wet insulation.
- Storm and Other Damage: It is possible that even a new roof can suffer severe weather damage. This could be caused by large hail that breaks the shingles, wind that pulls up shingles, or subpar construction with substandard materials. In these cases, have your roof inspected and check on any warranties you may have.
Things To Do Before Replacing Your Roof
If you notice any of the signs above, it is definitely time to talk to a professional about a roof replacement. Before you start into panic-mode, take these few steps to ensure a smooth roof replacement.
- Choose the Right Roofing Company: Replacing your roof is not a weekend DIY project. Start by making some calls to various roofing companies in the area. Request an inspection and a quote for your project and make sure they can install the type of roof you need. We always recommend choosing a local company with reputable ratings that you can trust.
- Take Advice and Choose the Right Material for Your Roof: Although asphalt roofing shingles are among the most economical options, their lifespan is one of the shortest. Concrete or metal shingles last longer but are also more expensive. Consider each option carefully and decide material would best suit your home.
- Choose Between Peeling Off or Layering On: To comply with building code, you are not allowed to have more than two shingle layers on your roof. If this is your first roof replacement you can choose whether to peel off your existing roof or layer a new roof on top. We generally recommend a peel off in almost all circumstances.
- Inspect Your Roof Structure and Framing: A roof inspection is critical to check the structure and framing of your that is supporting your roof. If you notice any areas that are soft, broken or disintegrating, it’s time to replace them right away.
- Tell Your Roofer Your Concerns: Before a thorough roof inspection, tell your contractor what your concerns are. Review these carefully and make decisions based on the recommendations from a contractor you trust.
Roof Replacing Cost
Replacing a roof is an investment in your property that will keep your home protected for years to come. The average cost to replace a roof is $8,000 while the lifespan of a newly replaced roof is 30 to 100 years. Both the cost and the lifespan variable are based on the type of material that you choose.
FAQ’s About Replacing a Roof