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How Do You Know If It’s Time For A Roof Replacement?

Removal old roof in Simphome
Removal of old roof replacement with new shingles of an apartment building

A roof replacement is one of the best investments a homeowner can make for their residential property. After all, it has a myriad of benefits. First, a newly installed roof increases the home’s value. Second, replacing a worn-out roof can drastically improve the air quality within and around the property. And last but not least, it’s one of the many ways to give your house the makeover it deserves.

However, roof replacement isn’t free. In fact, it’s among the most expensive home renovations out there, with costs ranging from USD$1,000 to USD$30,000, depending on the size of your roof.

While you do have the option to work with service providers such as Smith Roofing that offer more affordable options, that doesn’t change the fact that you still have to spend money. Since that’s the case, you wouldn’t want to get your roof replaced anytime you feel like it. In that regard, here are eight telltale signs that your house is in urgent need of a roof replacement:

Roof repair article in Simphome
Repair of the roof of a historic wooden house and replacement of clay tiles

1. Your Roof Is Long Past Its 25th Birthday

As you may already know, a roof has a certain life span. If it goes past that period, there’s a good chance it’ll no longer serve its purpose, at least not properly. For that reason, it’s advisable to take note of your roof’s age.

Of course, if you bought the house instead of having it built from the ground up, that information might be a bit difficult to ascertain on your own. Hence, you have to look at its home improvement history instead. This should tell you when the previous owner installed the current roof. Once you have the roof’s age, you should look into its type and the expected life span of that particular roofing.

For your reference, here’s a closer look at the different roofing types and how long they usually last:

  • Metal roof: The life span of a metal roof typically depends on its thickness. The thinner the metal, the faster it’ll wear out. A thin metal roof should last up to 25 years, while those that are relatively thick should last for over 50 years.
  • Wood shingles: These can last for up to 30 years, but you’ll need to provide them with extra care as they tend to be susceptible to fires, mold, termites, and other types of damage.
  • Composite shingles: This type uses rubber, plastic, or polymer and is made to look like wood. However, they’re more durable than their wooden counterparts as they can last for up to 50 years.
  • Three-tab shingles: A three-tab asphalt shingle is primarily used in do-it-yourself (DIY) roof projects and is the least durable out of all the roofing types, with an average life span of 20 years.
  • Architectural asphalt shingles: These are often made of durable and thick materials. They come in various colors and can last for anywhere from 30 to 50 years.
  • Concrete/clay tiles: Concrete and clay are known for their relatively high heat resistance, making them one of the strongest roofing types, with a life span of more than 50 years.
  • Slate tiles: Like the previous type, slate tiles have high heat resistance, but they can also withstand snow, moisture, and hail. While they can be rather expensive, slate tiles are the most durable roofing material and can last the longest, its average life span being 50 to 100 years.

While some types can last for up to five decades, once your roof reaches its 25th birthday, you can no longer expect it to perform its job as adequately as it used to. That’s precisely why experts recommend replacing the roof once it’s past this point. Of course, you can’t base your decision solely on its age, especially if you’re the type to take proper care of your house. You must look for other obvious signs prior to proceeding with the project.

2. There Are Signs Of Leakage In The Attic

When your roof starts deteriorating, the attic is the first part of the house that suffers from the detrimental effects. In other words, if there are signs of leakage in the attic, it may mean that your roof is no longer strong enough to withstand exterior elements, and it’s time for it to be replaced. With that said, here are three signs of leakage you might find in your attic:

  • Water stains/streaks: Perhaps the most obvious sign of a leaking roof is water stains and smudges. After all, there’s no way for water to get inside the attic unless there’s a gap or hole somewhere in your roof. If you want to check for this particular sign, it might be best to do so after it rains since you may not see water streaks on a sunny day.
  • Paintwork changes: Apart from water stains, you may also notice some imperfections on the paintwork of the attic, especially since water tends to ruin paint and plaster.
  • Sunlight: Similarly, if there’s a gap or hole in your roof, sunlight is bound to enter the area, which should be evident during sunny days if your attic is relatively dark.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s high time to replace your roof, especially if you have any electrical wiring present in your attic since this could cause a fire without warning.

3. Your House’s Paintwork Is Showing Some Imperfections

Take note that your attic isn’t the only area that can be affected by a leaky roof. Other parts of your house may also suffer from the consequences, particularly the exterior and interior paintwork.

  • Interior paintwork
    A leaky roof typically increases the humidity and moisture in an area, particularly the attic and ceiling. This, in turn, increases the overall humidity inside the house, and as you may already know, excessive moisture is one of the main weaknesses of paint. Of course, some types of paint are more resistant than others, but it’s bound to show some imperfections should you have a roof that has to be replaced.
  • Exterior paintwork
    A leaky roof has a more direct connection with exterior paintwork. Rather than increasing the humidity, a leaky roof can cause water to seep through the exterior walls. Over time, the paint’s exposure to water can lead to imperfections such as peeling or fading.

For these reasons, when you start seeing some imperfections in your home’s paintwork, you might want to assess your roof as soon as possible. After all, if this keeps up, you may not only have to replace your roof but also have to opt for repainting services, which would further add to your expenses. When carrying out the inspection, you might want to start with the outline.

4. The Outline Of The Roof Is No Longer Straight

The outline of your roof is supposed to be straight. If that’s no longer the case, then you might have a sagging roof, which can be a bit worrying. While it doesn’t necessarily mean your roof is on the verge of collapsing, a saggy roofline means that the structure requires some repairs or reinforcement. This is mainly because a saggy roof only occurs because of the following reasons:

  • Excess weight
    Every roof shingle is designed to handle a certain weight load. Anything more than this limit can cause it to flop or dip, which would create a sagging effect on your roof. In short, if your roof is sagging, there’s a good chance it may collapse if it receives any more weight. For example, if it storms or snows, the water or snow may accumulate and trigger a collapse.
  • Water damage
    Although roofs are designed with a proper water drainage system, heavy rainstorms may cause damage to their structure over time, which leads to sagging. This would further diminish the efficiency of its water drainage system, making it practically useless against water intrusion.
  • Low-quality materials
    A sagging roof may also be due to low-quality materials, which results in a lower weight load and durability. Either way, this is yet another reason to replace the roof.

There are several ways to fix a sagging roof. For one, you can reinforce the internal framing to get it back to how it used to be. You may also try installing a bigger raft or replacing the sheathing. But if you want to resolve this issue once and for all, you can replace the roof altogether.

5. The Shingles Are Exhibiting Visible Signs Of Deterioration

As you may already know, shingles are what make up most roofing types. The performance of the roof largely depends on these components. Hence, to gauge the current state of your roof, you can start by checking each individual shingle. While it’s natural for a few shingles to deteriorate, if more than a third of them are showing signs of deterioration, you might want to replace your roof at the earliest time possible. On that note, here’s a closer look at some of those signs:

  • Rotting
    This is when the surface of the shingle completely disintegrates, which often causes it to take on a different color than usual. Rotting is typically contagious, so there’s a good chance that the adjacent shingles are also in the process of rotting. Therefore, the best solution to this is a complete roof replacement.
  • Blistering
    Blistering is when it looks like something is coming out of the shingle’s surface, or in other words, it’s bubbling out. This typically occurs when there’s a buildup of moisture inside the shingle. Since there’s a chance that moisture has accumulated throughout the roof, the best course of action in this scenario is to change out the roof entirely.
  • Curling
    Shingles may also curl up as a result of excessive dryness, improper installation, or poor-quality materials. Curling shingles tend to expose certain parts of the roof, leading to water intrusions, so it’s best to address this issue straight away.
  • Missing
    Perhaps the most extreme sign of deterioration is when shingles are missing from the roof. Much like the previous signs, this can expose your home to water leakage, even more so than curling shingles. Fortunately, it’s easy to spot this sign. In this case, you can choose whether you’ll install a new shingle or replace the entire roof.

If you have a metal roof, these signs won’t be applicable to it. However, if your roof consists of shingles, any of these would be an excellent indication of whether you need a roof replacement or not.

6. You Can See Abnormalities In The Roof Flashing

The roof flashing is a thin metal material that professionals install on the roof to keep water away from specific areas such as chimneys, roof valleys, and walls. While it’s undoubtedly sturdier than roof tiles and shingles, it can still deteriorate given enough time. Since it’s an essential component of any roof, any damage to it is a cause for concern.

Moreover, if you see any abnormalities in this particular component, then there’s a good chance your roof shingles and tiles are experiencing worse signs of deterioration.

7. Moss And Algae Are Growing At A Rapid Pace

Another sign that your roof is in its last years is when you see an overgrowth of moss and algae. This is mainly because these two types of plants only grow in damp conditions.

In other words, if they manage to grow on your roof, then it’s a telltale sign that it’s no longer fit for purpose. Furthermore, moss and algae can cause damage to your roof. For example, they may cause shingles to curl or blister. Algae can diminish the roof’s ability to reflect sunlight as well, further inhibiting the functionality of your roof. And most importantly, mold can lead to serious health issues such as asthma, rhinitis, and nasal congestion.

8. Your Energy Bills Are Skyrocketing For No Apparent Reason

Most homeowners invest in a new roof as a means to lower their energy bills. This is because your roof serves as the first line of defense against precipitation and water. If water doesn’t properly drain through the roof gutters, it may accumulate on top of the roof, which will eventually leak through to your ceilings, saturating the house’s insulation.

When that happens, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system becomes less efficient and is forced to work overtime to provide you with a comfortable temperature. This, in turn, increases your energy bills drastically.

That’s precisely why a massive increase in your bills is a sign that you need a roof replacement. After all, it’d be better to pay a one-time fee for a long-term solution rather than paying high energy bills that’d only keep increasing every month.

Final Words

While a roof replacement can indeed be a bit pricey, a damaged roof has a much bigger impact on your house than you may initially think. It can create a slip and fall hazard as water continues to leak from the roof to create puddles of water in certain areas. Water leakage may also get into electrical circuits, which may result in a fire. What’s more, water intrusion can cause considerable damage to the wall framing and ceiling joists, resulting in more serious issues.

Written by Simpson

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