Home Roofing 5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

While a properly installed roof should last many years, most roofs take a beating. They’re constantly exposed to the elements and ultimately wear down. Eventually, there are signs you need a new roof. From the age of your roof to missing and damaged shingles to water leaks and moss or algae growth and energy efficiency concerns, we’ll cover the five signs that it’s time to replace your roof. 

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says that 2.3 million single-family homes will likely require a roof replacement each year over the next decade. 

Could your house be one of them? Is your roof old, showing wear and tear? We’ll explore the five common signs to look out for that indicate it’s time to replace roof shingles on your home. 

Educating yourself on these signs can help you determine whether or not you need a new roof to ensure the safety and longevity of your home.

Sign #1: Your Roof is Over 20 Years Old

Understanding how age can impact your roof’s performance and durability is essential. As your roof ages, it experiences natural wear and tear, which makes it susceptible to various issues, such as leaks, damaged shingles, and even structural degradation. 

If your roof has surpassed the 20-year mark, looking for signs of wear and tear is crucial. 

Also, different types of roofs have various life expectancies. For example, asphalt shingle roofs typically have a lifespan of about 20 to 25 years. But metal roofs can last anywhere from 40 to 70 years. Clay or concrete tile roofs can last even longer and go 50 to 100 years before needing a replacement. 

Besides the type of material your roof is made from, other factors such as the quality of the installation, climate, and maintenance influence the longevity of your roof. 

To determine your roof’s age:

  • Look for documents relating to previous roofing work on your home, such as invoices or permits. These can provide information on when your roof was last repaired or replaced.
  • If documentation isn’t available, consult a professional roofing contractor to assess your roof’s condition and evaluate its age based on the visible signs. Some roof installers, like All Star Home, offer free estimates for repair or replacement.
  • If your roof has a few years left, you can do some things to extend its life, such as proactive maintenance, regular inspections, cleaning gutters and removing debris, and proper attic ventilation and insulation.

Sign #2: Your Roof Has Missing or Damaged Shingles

Missing or damaged shingles can significantly impact the appearance and function of your roof. They also take away from the overall curb appeal of your home by creating visible gaps and irregularities in the roof’s surface. This leads to a worn or neglected look. 

Shingles serve as a protective barrier against various weather elements, like rain, snow, and UV rays. Your roof is vulnerable to moisture infiltration, leading to structural damage and mold growth.

Shingle damage is easy to spot when severe enough. But, it’s better to know if you have shingle issues before obvious signs occur so it’s easier to mitigate further damage. This is where a free roof inspection by an expert like All Star Home comes in handy. 

So what are the signs of shingle damage? 

  • Curling – The first sign of shingle damage to look for is curling. The shingles may curl in two ways. If they’re cupping, the edges will turn upward, thus creating a cup form. If they’re clawing, the middle will lift, and the edges will remain flat. Curling shingles are more prone to wind uplift and moisture problems and could indicate poor installation or aging.
  • Cracking – The next sign to keep an eye out for is cracking. Shingles can develop cracks due to aging, thermal expansion, or severe weather. Cracking allows water to seep through and can eventually lead to leaks.
  • Granule Loss – Another sign of damage is granule loss, but it can be harder to spot with an untrained eye. Shingles have granules on their surface to protect against UV rays and provide fire resistance. Excessive granule loss exposes the underlying matting, leading to accelerated aging and reduced protection from the elements.

Inspecting Your Roof For Damage

It’s best to hire a roofing professional to inspect your roof for damage because they have the knowledge, experience, safety training, and equipment to conduct a thorough, accident-free inspection. 

But, if you perform an inspection on your own, please follow these guidelines: 

  1. Prioritize safety: You should ensure you have the proper safety equipment before and after the inspection. Obtain a sturdy ladder, non-slip shoes, and fall protection gear to maximize safety. If you don’t have these items, please hire a professional and don’t follow through on your own. Remember to exercise caution when doing work that involves heights.
  2. Visual inspection: You can use binoculars to inspect the roof’s surface from the ground. Look for the signs of damage we’ve already outlined.  In addition, pay attention to any irregularities or signs of water damage on the ceiling inside your home.
  3. Check for loose shingles: If you follow safety protocols and have the proper safety equipment, climb carefully onto your roof and gently walk around, checking for loose or displaced shingles. Pay attention to other signs you need a new roof, including lifting, cracking, or curling at the edges.
  4. Document your findings: While inspecting your roof, you should take photos or videos of any issues. This can be helpful when discussing the problem with a roofing professional. 

Replacing or Repairing Damaged Shingles

When it comes to repairing or replacing damaged shingles, It’s generally best to leave replacing and repairing shingles to a professional roofer to ensure the job is done correctly. However, if you decide to undertake this task, keep the following tips and precautions in mind: 

  1. Safety precautions: Avoid working on your roof during adverse weather and utilize safety equipment and exercise caution. 
  2. Gather the necessary tools and materials beforehand: Have the materials you need on hand, such as roofing nails and cement, a pry bar, and replacement shingles. 
  3. Replace shingles: If you only have a few damaged or missing shingles, carefully remove them with a pry bar, and replace them with a new one of the same type and size. Secure the new shingles with roofing nails and apply roofing cement to seal the edges.
  4. Seek professional assistance for extensive damage. We can’t stress this enough. The integrity of your home and your family’s safety is at stake when roof damage is severe.

Sign #3: Your Roof Has Leaks or Water Damage

Leaks and water damage can cause significant issues for the structure and safety of your home. Persistent leaks weaken your roof’s structural integrity, which compromises its ability to support the weight of the roofing materials. Over time, this leads to sagging or even collapse if severe enough. 

Water damage can affect underlying materials like insulation, decking, or support beams. This can create hazards like electrical issues, mold growth, or rot, jeopardizing the health and safety of your household. 

Common Signs of Water Damage

  1. Stains: Discolored patches on the ceiling or walls, especially if accompanied by a musty odor, indicate water infiltration.
  2. Mold and mildew: Humid environments caused by leaks can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. Dark spots, fuzzy patches, or a musty smell could be mold and mildew, especially in areas where moisture is prevalent.
  3. Rot or decay: Water damage can cause wood materials to rot or decay. Check for soft, spongy, or disintegrating wood near the roofline or in the attic. 
  4. Sagging: The most dangerous sign to look out for is sagging. If you see any noticeable dips or unevenness in your roofline or ceiling, this could indicate structural damage caused by excessive moisture. 

Detecting Leaks or Water Damage

  1. Inside the home: Check out ceilings, walls, and areas under windows for stains, discoloration, or mold growth. Look out for musty odors, peeling paint, or bubbles in wallpaper.
  2. Attic inspection: Using a flashlight, carefully look for signs of water stains, damp insulation, or rot. Follow any visible water trails to identify a point of entry.
  3. Roof inspection: Follow our safe roof inspection guidelines or hire a professional to conduct a thorough inspection, looking for damaged or missing shingles, cracked flashing, clogged gutters, or any other potential entry points for water. 

Tips For Fixing or Preventing Leaks and Water Damage 

  1. Prompt repairs: Delaying repairs can worsen the problem and lead to further damage and costly repairs. So act quickly at the first sign of leaks or water damage.
  2. Regular maintenance: Schedule regular roof inspections and maintenance to minimize the potential for major problems later on. An example of routine maintenance is cleaning debris from gutters and ensuring clear downspouts for efficient water drainage.
  3. Seal and caulk: Apply appropriate sealants and caulking to prevent water infiltration. Regularly inspect and maintain seals around vents, chimneys, skylights, and other roof outlets to ensure protection from water. 
  4. Professional assistance: For extensive water damage requiring complex repairs, it’s best to seek the expertise of a professional roofing contractor to accurately assess the situation and provide appropriate solutions. 

Sign #4: Your Roof Has Moss or Algae Growth

Moss or algae growth on your roof can impact the aesthetics and health of your home. These growths look unkempt and unappealing, diminishing the overall look of your home. Plus, moss and algae retain moisture, leading to the deterioration of your roof over time.

Tips and Precautions for Dealing With Moss or Algae on Your Roof

Common signs of moss or algae growth include dark streaks, green patches, or slippery surfaces on the roof. Consider trying the following when your roofing system has signs of moss or algae:

  1. Safety first: Algae can cause very slippery surfaces, so wear appropriate footwear if you try to remove it yourself.
  2. Gentle cleaning: To avoid damaging roofing materials while cleaning, use soft-bristle brushes or low-pressure washers.
    1. Natural cleaning method: Remove moss and algae growth by scrubbing it off with a mixture of water and mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly with water afterward. Trimming overhanging tree branches and improving sunlight exposure can also help prevent future growth. 
    2. Chemical method: Try one of the commercially available moss and algae cleaning products. They are specifically designed for roofs and are effective at inhibiting moss growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions when using these products. 
  3. Regular maintenance: Conduct routine inspections to identify and address the earliest signs of algae and moss growth to prevent further damage.
  4. Zinc or copper strips: Ask your roofing contractor if they can place zinc or copper strips near the roof ridge to ward off moss or algae growth.
  5. Hire a professional: If the moss or algae growth is extensive or difficult to remove, it’s best to consult a professional roofer for safe and effective removal methods.

Sign #5: Your Roof Has High Energy Bills or Poor Ventilation

Your roof is vital for your home’s energy efficiency and your indoor comfort. An old or damaged roof can cause higher energy bills as it allows heat and air conditioning to escape. This causes your heating and cooling system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature.

There are benefits to replacing your old inefficient roof with a new energy-efficient unit. It’ll conserve energy and save money, although how much will depend on your climate, insulation, and roof design. But, studies show that, on average, you can expect up to 30% on energy bills.

If you decide to check your roof for ventilation issues, follow the safety precautions we’ve already discussed before getting on your roof. Then, look for signs of inadequate ventilation, such as moisture accumulation, mold growth, or excessive heat in the attic. Also, look for blocked vents or obstructions. 

But, it’s best to hire a roofing professional for a thorough inspection. They will assess ventilation issues, measure airflow, and recommend appropriate solutions. 

Tips and Precautions for Improving Roof Ventilation and Insulation

  1. Balanced ventilation: To create a balanced airflow, ensure proper intake and exhaust vents.
  2. Ridge vents and soffit vents: Consider having ridge vents installed along the roof ridge and soffit vents at the eaves. 
  3. Insulation: Ensure proper insulation in the attic and consider adding insulation to the roof deck. This can help maintain consistent temperatures in the home.
  4. Professional installation: Consult a professional roofing contractor with experience in energy-efficient practices to ensure proper installation and performance when it comes to complex ventilation or insulation upgrades.

How to Choose the Best Roof for Your Home

To choose the best roof for your home, consider the following factors:

  1. Material: When it choosing between roofing materials like asphalt shingles, metal, tile, wood, etc., consider their durability, performance, appearance, and warranty.
  2. Style: Next, you’ll choose a roofing style that complements your home’s architecture and reflects your personal preferences in terms of design, color, texture, and pattern.
  3. Contractor: Choose a reputable contractor with relevant experience. Consider their reputation, certifications, positive reviews, and track record for delivering quality customer service and top-level workmanship. 
  4. Budget: Take into account the initial upfront costs associated with different roofing options. Consider the long-term costs and ensure they align with your budget while meeting your needs and preferences. 

Closing Thoughts

Our guide has given you the knowledge to recognize the top 5 signs you need a new roof. When these signs occur, getting a new roof can help ensure your home’s safety, longevity, and energy efficiency. 

A roof replacement can also protect your home against leaks, prevent water damage and moss and algae growth, and improve your home’s curb appeal.

Contact us for a free estimate or to get more information. Our experienced roofing professionals are ready to assist you in making informed decisions about your roof.