Every homeowner has to think about it at some point: is it more practical to get a roof replacement, or is it still OK to repair this roof? The best person to ask is a roofer, but you should also be able to determine things by yourself before you call a professional.
If you don’t know how, then this list should help you figure it out.
Start Inside Your Home
Sure, your roof looks fine when you’re standing from the ground, but if you want to know whether it’s time to replace it, start in your attic. If your attic doesn’t have a lightbulb installed, use a flashlight, and slowly work your way around, checking for stains that mean your roof is leaking.
If your roof has been leaking for a long time, and you simply haven’t noticed it, you might also find evidence of rot. This is absolutely a sign that your roof is due for replacement. Do it because rot will only get worse and affect more parts of your home. Talk to your roofer about it immediately.
The same is true if you find mold. In most cases, you’ll smell it before you see it. Mold and mildew infestation is unhealthy for your household. Mold spores have been known to cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. If the mold and mildew are everywhere already, it’s time to get a new roof.
Turn the flashlight off, and look around for beams of light coming from above. If you find those tiny shafts of light, especially if there are many, call your roofing contractor because your roof has holes, and it’s time to replace it.
This does not simply mean your shingles are shot; it probably also means the roof deck and the underlayment have holes, too. If the underlayment is intact, it’s probably OK to replace only the damaged shingles, but if it has holes, replace your roof. You can’t tell how much water damage there is in different parts of your roof if moisture has entrenched itself.
Observe the Roof
Look at your roof, and see if it’s sagging in any spot. You might be able to spot this while you’re in the attic, especially if the sagging is remarkable. But sagging can also happen at the eaves and corners, where it’s more obvious from the outside.
A sagging roof is a sure sign that your roof is badly damaged. It might be holding plenty of moisture, or there might be rotting boards. If your roof is sagging for whatever reason, it is no longer safe to keep or repair.
A large droop or sag can also put the roof in danger of collapsing. Before anything dangerous happens to your roof, make arrangements with a professional for its replacement.
Check Your Records
You should have a record of any roof work you’ve had done. When was your roof installed? What repairs or improvements have you made? Have you installed a penetration, such as a skylight or a chimney? And, most importantly, when was the last time you had your roof reshingled or replaced?
You should also have your roof regularly inspected and maintained by a professional roofing contractor, and keep records every time your roof is inspected, including whatever repairs or replacements your contractor had to make.
With regular inspections and maintenance, your asphalt shingle roofing system should last up to 20 or 25 years. However, if your roof is nearing its twentieth year, remember that this is the time to consider a replacement.
No matter how well you’ve maintained your roof, after 20 years, it’s past its healthy service life, so it’s time to start asking for estimates from reputable contractors and preparing your roof replacement budget.
A record of roof work isn’t just a good thing to have for determining when your roof is due for replacement. It’s also a good piece of evidence, along with your receipts, that you’ve taken care of your roof, just in case you’re claiming against a warranty or if you have to file a claim with your insurance company after a storm has damaged your roof.
Note, however, that there are some activities that might void your warranty or affect your insurance, such as installing a satellite dish on your roof. Always check your warranty, call your roof manufacturer’s hotline, or ask the roofing professional that installed your roof before doing anything. At any rate, installing things like a satellite dish or an antenna on your roof can shorten its life.
Inspect the Shingles
If you are comfortable standing on a ladder, you can do this yourself. If not, stay on the ground, and use binoculars to observe your shingles. You can also hire a professional to do the inspection.
Note that it’s not advisable to walk on your roof. This is especially true if your roof is old, has sagging areas or has noticeable damage or a big leak. The structural integrity of the roof might no longer be intact, and you risk damaging it even more or even putting yourself in danger if you walk all over it.
So, from a secure ladder or from the ground, check your entire roof slowly and carefully. See if it’s still in good shape. The shingles should be flat against the roof, not buckling, cupping or clawing. There shouldn’t be any cracked or missing shingles.
If there are a few damaged or missing shingles, perhaps, you can get away with repairs. But if there are too many damaged shingles or if almost all of your shingles are cupping or clawing – a sure sign of attic heat damage – then it’s time to replace your roof.
Cupping and clawing shingles mean your attic is not doing a good job of ventilating. Heat is trapped in your attic, and that can bake your shingles. This can shorten the life of your shingles, and it is also the leading cause of ice dam formation.
Ice dam formation happens when there is too much heat in the attic so the snow at the ridge and the top part of your roof melts faster and flows to the edges where the temperature is still freezing. The melted snow refreezes and forms a dam, stopping the natural shedding of water and forcing the moisture to back up and enter the bottom of your shingles. This leads to moisture penetration and water damage.
Your attic should be able to maintain a temperature that’s close to or the same as the outdoor temperature. If your attic isn’t doing that, then talk to your contractor about making changes to the attic ventilation system when they replace your roof.
Another thing to look for on your shingles is moss. Moss, mold or fungi growing on your roof means they are receiving plenty of moisture. Your roof is trapping moisture, and the growths only trap even more. While a little moss can be corrected with a soft brush, if there is moss where your roof isn’t shaded by a tree, a tall wall or another house, or if the moss is everywhere, then it’s time to replace your roof.
Inspect the Gutters
A roof that’s nearing the end of its life will shed most or all of its shingle granules. Those granules protect your roof from ultraviolet (UV) damage. Without them, your shingles can no longer last long as they are completely exposed to heat.
While checking your gutters and downspouts, if you find lots of granules, then your roof is shedding them faster. This is a sure sign that your roof needs to be replaced.
Note that you will also find plenty of granules in your gutters and downspouts as well as on the ground around your roof when a new roof is installed. Those are loose granules and new shingles normally shed them so there’s no need to worry.
These are some of the ways to determine whether there are signs pointing to the need for roof replacement. Home Remedy USA is a trusted roof repair and replacement company. We can inspect your roof to determine whether a repair will do or it’s time to replace it. Call us today at (828) 222-0706, or fill out the form on our website to get a quote.