We take a lot of things for granted in our busy lives, and one of those tends to be the roof over our heads. Consequently, your life can take a sudden unexpected turn for the worse when you have water streaming down from a leaky roof. It pays to take steps to evaluate the condition of your roof from time to time. Here are some signs to look for that could indicate that you need a new roof.
The first thing you should do is to determine how long ago your roof was installed, replaced or reshingled. You can find this information easily if you keep records of home improvement projects that have been done on the house, or you could contact the previous owner if you haven’t lived there very long. You will want to learn the date that the work was done on the roof and what type of materials were used. A common asphalt roof tends to last up to 25 years. If there were roof materials installed over an existing roof, these shingles or other materials will need to be replaced within 20 years.
Climb up and look around
If your house is bombarded by some heavy storm conditions, it’s always a good idea to climb up to the roof and inspect the shingles. Look for any patches that are cracked, damaged or if they appear to be coming loose. In this inspection, you should also check the gutters to see if fragments are coming loose from the shingles. If there are a lot of granules, this could mean that the shingles are getting too old and can no longer withstand the stress of heavy precipitation and wind.
Other signs to look for are cracks in seals on the roof over structural elements such as skylights, chimneys and vents. When roofs are installed these areas receive sealing compounds to prevent leaks around the seams in these areas. Cracks or breaks in these sealed areas could lead to leaks. You might find that it’s worthwhile to upgrade from basic tar to more durable materials such as a metal flashing system.
A sagging roof is a bad sign
One sure sign that a roof needs to be replaced can usually be spotted from the yard or the street. If you notice drooping or cratering in the roof, it could pose a serious hazard. You don’t want a large section of the roof collapsing in on you during the night. Other signs you might notice are moisture in the roof material, rotting wood and sagging in lower parts of the roof.
If you see some greenery sprouting on the top of your roof, it might look charming or add character reminiscent of an old Ivy League school, but it could be an indication that your roof’s durability is compromised. Flora such as moss, fungi and mold are signs of moisture trapped in the roof, and soggy materials are structurally weak. The growth is sure to continue to increase and work its way deeper into the roof, so this situation can’t be ignored. Sometimes the problem can be dealt with if it only consists of moss growing in shaded corners. In these cases, make sure that there are not deeper issues that have already caused extensive damage.
Remember that a leak or some damaged shingles don’t always mean that you need to replace the entire roof. If it was installed less than 20 years ago, you might be safe in doing spot repairs to address isolated issues and save a lot of money until the roof is ready for a complete overhaul.