Now that the snow has finally started to melt and the sun is showing its face again, you may be seeing your home with fresh eyes for the first time in quite a while. This is a time of year when many homeowners become aware of roofing issues that may have escaped their notice over the long winter.
Have those shingles always looked a little uneven?
And what are all those little granules coming out of the downspout over there?
If you’re wondering whether a total roof replacement is needed or if you just need a roof repair, here are some signs that will give you a good idea.
Drooping and sagging
The good news: minor sagging can be fixable when it is the result of small design flaws in the framing or too many layers of shingles. So it’s possible a roofing professional will be able to address the issue without giving you an entirely new roof. This is not an issue to put off, though. The sooner you take action, the better your chances.
The bad news: major roof drooping, sagging and waviness are strong indicators that your roof is at the end of its lifespan—especially if it’s starting to show its age in other ways too. It could also be a warning sign of rot caused by moisture, which could lead to big problems if left unchecked.
Knowing when to replace your roof is a delicate process. You don’t want to pay for an overhaul if there are still a few years left in it, but you don’t want to wait for a major issue either. The materials that make up your roof will help to give you a rough idea:
- Wood shingles can last up to thirty years if they are being regularly inspected.
- Asphalt shingles, the most common roofing materials, can last anywhere from fifteen to thirty years.
- Architectural shingles are thicker and sometimes more aesthetically pleasing than other asphalt shingles, and often have a longer lifespan as well. They can last for twenty-five to thirty years.
- Clay tiles can last fifty years, which makes them well worth the higher investment you or the previous owner made on the front end.
- Metal roofing can vary depending on the type and thickness of the metal used. Lifespans range from a mere twenty years up to seventy or more!
- Slate can last over a hundred years if the rafters are strong enough to support them.
If you know that your roof is starting to near the end of its lifespan and you are starting to notice warning signs, it may be time to look at a roof replacement.
Moss and algae
Plant life may be picturesque on a forest floor, but it should never be allowed to grow on your roof. Moss and algae are synonymous with moisture, which is the last thing you want leaching through your shingles!
A small amount of growth may be no cause for concern if you address it right away. Scraping it by hand and washing away excess with a garden hose is the gentlest route. You can also try a moss control powder made from zinc sulfate. Once you’ve cleared the existing moss, keep branches trimmed away from your roof and regularly clean your gutters to keep it at bay. If moss is a big concern for you, there are zinc strips that you can apply to your roof each year to help with the problem.
In some cases, too much moss and/or algae means a full roof replacement. Roots may have made their way between shingles, causing buckling, loosening, and maybe even leaking. Be sure to discuss options with your local roofing professional to see how you can keep your new roof plant free.
Don’t worry if you have a couple of missing shingles or even a small leak. It’s not uncommon to need minor repairs after a big storm or a run in with falling branches! If your roof is still relatively young, these repairs are short work for a roofing professional. The most important thing is to call before these small issues grow into something more serious!
If your flashing is showing wear (that’s the material sealing the openings in your roof around chimneys, gutters, etc.) it may be a matter of simply replacing your tar flashing with an updated metal flashing system.
A see-through attic
If you can see daylight streaming through the roof in your attic, it is rarely a good sign—particularly with asphalt shingles. If light can make it through, so can moisture. This does, however, make it easier to identify problem spots, which is always a good thing! As with the other issues on this list, if you are seeing light in an isolated spot, it may mean you just need a quick roof repair. If your attic is starting to remind you of disco night at the bowling alley, you may want to budget for a roof replacement.
Rogue shingle granules
If you’re finding more shingle granules than usual in your gutters or downspout, it could be an early sign that a roof replacement is in your future. Older roofs tend to shed more granules as they age. You can also look at the shingles themselves to see if the coloring has started to look inconsistent. If your roof is getting on in years and there’s evidence that the shingles are starting to wear thin, you may want to call a local roofing professional to come out and inspect it.
In fact, whether you think you need a quick and painless repair or are worried you’re headed for an entirely new roof, it’s always helpful to get a professional opinion. When it comes to your roof, it’s not just a matter of curb appeal; it’s about keeping your home safe, dry, and structurally sound. The superficial things you’ve noticed may be warning signs of a less obvious problem, or you might be pleasantly surprised at what can be fixed with the right knowledge and tools!