How to Know When It’s Time for a New Roof

Posted April 25th, 2019 in Roof Maintenance

Replacing a roof is a time-consuming and potentially expensive endeavor, which is why it’s essential to do it at the right time. Wait too long, and collateral damage could occur to the rest of the house. Replace it too early, and you’re artificially shortening the lifespan of your roof (and spending unnecessary money).

Luckily, there are plenty of signs to look for that will tell you exactly when it’s time to replace your roof. These signs fall into two categories: interior and exterior. We’ll tell you what to look for in each, and what to do if you think it’s time to replace your roof.

Interior Signs That It’s Time for a New Roof

Assessing the longevity of your roof starts on the inside—which is good news for anyone who doesn’t exactly fancy the idea of clambering around on their rooftop! Just grab a good flashlight and head up to your attic (or wherever you can get a clear view of your roof’s interior structure).

Look for Daylight

Daylight sneaking through your roof is the first and most obvious sign that you could use a new roof! If light is getting in, water could be getting in, and that means trouble. If you see daylight getting through the holes or cracks in your roof, you can stop the rest of your inspection and call the professionals immediately! (Keep in mind you may see daylight coming in around some vents, such as the peak attic vents. That is totally normal.)

Check for Water Damage

If you don’t see daylight, it’s time to turn on your flashlight and look for any signs of water damage. This includes dark stains, streaks, and sags in the roof. If you see any of these, it’s definitely cause for concern—though you may only need to patch or repair the roof, not replace the whole thing. Still, if you see signs of water damage, contact a professional to do a full inspection before things get worse!

Exterior Signs That It’s Time for a New Roof

Once you’ve checked the interior for signs of gaps or holes in the roof, it’s time to get outside and look at the exterior. This is where you can spot the signs that a roof is reaching the end of its lifespan, and where you can determine if it’s time to replace before any costly leaks occur.

Look for Standing Water or Water Damage

If you have a flat roof, look for large puddles or pools of water. Minor water pooling is okay, but large areas should be addressed. Pooling water becomes even more problematic if you’re in a climate where it can freeze, which helps force apart seams in your roof.

As with the interior, dark stains or streaks on the exterior of your roof or under your soffit venting are also signs of water and humidity where it shouldn’t be, and could be indicators that it’s time for a replacement.

Inspect the Shingles

For a shingled roof, the lifespan is all about the condition of the shingles. If you have wooden shingles that are starting to rot or decay, it’s probably time to replace. Asphalt shingles will peel and curl as they near the end of their useful lives. If you see any signs that shingles are failing, or if they’re missing altogether, it’s time to turn things over to the pros. You should also check your gutters for pieces of crumbling shingles, and to give them a cleaning while you’re up there.

Check the Flashing

Flashing is the waterproofing around your chimney, skylight, walls, and other joints in your roof. It’s usually pre-painted steel, but can be made from other metals such as aluminum or copper. Most roof leaks start as the result of failing flashing, so be sure to inspect these areas for visible signs of distress. Repairing flashing can sometimes be simple affair, and can save you a lot of money in water damage repairs!

Know the Lifespan of Your Roof

While it’s good to check your roof each year for signs that it needs replacing, you should also know the expected lifespan of your roof. This varies by material and design; a flat, torch-on roof generally lasts 25-30 years, while a metal roof could last 50 or more. If you know how old your roof is, you should be able to reliably estimate how long it will last.

While regular maintenance, like clearing snow and debris, can help extend the life of your roof, roofs don’t last forever. When it’s time to replace your roof, don’t delay—ideally, you should get a new roof installed before the old one breaks down and starts to leak!

If you’re ready to replace your roof, or want a professional inspection to estimate how much time your roof has left, get in touch today!

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