Determining when to replace your roof is a difficult task. Many dishonest roofing contractors will tell you that your roof needs replacement even when it doesn’t. Given the cost of a new roof, maximizing your current roof’s service is a frugal solution. Nevertheless, if you wait too long, you may incur expensive repairs. Therefore, identifying warning signs before it is too late can save you a lot of money by extending the current life of your existing roof or allowing you to time your roof replacement.
First off, it is important that you know the age of your existing roof. With asphalt shingles, a typical roof has a life of around 20 years. Depending on where you live and how severe are there weather elements, an asphalt roof may only last about 10 years. If you roof is made out of either wood or metal shingles, it will have a significantly longer lifespan. Knowing the age of your roof will allow you to better time your roof replacement. However, you will still want to inspect it in order to identify warning signs.
It is necessary to examine your roof on an annual basis. It is not necessary to get all the way on top of your roof in order to examine it. What you need to do is get a good vantage point such as standing 30 feet back from your yard and using binoculars or possibly examining it from a bedroom window.
What to identify
Signs of wear on your shingles are generally easy to identify. If one shingle is cracked, curled, broken or missing, this is generally not a big problem and can easily be fixed. A problem occurs when there are many shingles that are curled or mission. This is a sign that an expensive repair or roof replacement is imminent. If only a couple of shingles have issues, you should further investigate the problem as this is a major warning sign for things to come.
You will also want to look for moss or other vegetation growth as this could mean that some of your shingles are rotting. Discoloration and peeling paint are signs that the shingles have lost some of their strength and may be coming to the end of their useful life.
Do not only look at the shingles themselves but pay special attention to what surrounds your roof. If you have large trees within a couple feet from your roof, the branches can put pressure on the roofing shingles and potentially puncture of lift the shingles. Trim any branch that is within a few feet of your roof as this is a key preventative measure which can extend the life of your roof.
Once you thoroughly examine the outside of your house, step inside and examine the inside of your roof. You want to look for signs of moisture which indicates that your roof is not doing its job – protecting your house from the elements. Moisture can be identified by dark spots on your ceilings or on upper walls. Moisture is the first sign of a leak therefore you will want to address the issue before it becomes pervasive.
With asphalt shingles, you can identify worn and aged shingles if you notice piles of granules in your gutters. These mineral granules provide a layer of coating on the shingle which protects them from the sun and other weather, rain and other elements. Once these granules fall off, the shingles lose their sturdiness.