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When to Replace a Roof

By July 21, 2019March 29th, 2022No Comments

As a homeowner of an older or aging house, you may be wondering how to tell if you need a new roof.  As a potential buyer, you may be wondering how long the roof will last until you need to replace it.  From either perspective, the age of a roof oftentimes enters the equation when you buy or sell a home.

Many homeowners figure they need a new roof after they spot a leak in their ceiling. This leak could be due to several different issues.  But what factors really determine whether the house needs a roof replacement?  Since there are numerous shingle materials on the market these days, let’s just look at the most common type: asphalt shingles.


Roof age

Most experts agree that a typical asphalt shingle roof will last between 20 and 25 years. The condition of the outer, visible layer of roofing sometimes depends on the number of old roofing layers below, if any exist, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, you will probably need a new roof soon.


Shingles curling and buckling

Heat a direct sunlight change the composition of most materials over time.  Shingles that are curled or buckling are another sign that you may need a new roof and are oftentimes due to heat stress.  Look at the areas of the roof that get the most direct sunlight and if you notice the shingles are curling and losing granules, it could mean the shingles are past their life expectancy. There could also be a possibility that the roof material is defective and contact with the manufacturer or seller may result in replacement.


Roof valleys

If your roof shingles are falling apart or missing in this area, it’s a definite sign you need a new roof. Valleys are one of the most important areas of your roof because rainwater runs over them at a relatively high speed, therefore gradually removing surface particles from them. Snow and rain collect at the valleys and into gutters. If the valley is compromised, you could be susceptible to roof leaks.


Missing shingles

Asphalt shingles are installed in layers over each other.  The shingle consists of a tabbed area of three of four tabs.  The un-tabbed, plain-looking portion of the shingle receives the nails used to attached the shingle to the roof.  As nails are placed through one shingle section, a section of un-nailed shingle tabs will overlay will the nailed area, providing a rain-proofing result.  So, when you look at a roof, you normally can’t see the portion of the shingles that are nailed.  But if you can, this means half of the shingle is gone in that area.  Oftentimes, after high winds, aged shingles will tear off, exposing the mail holes, which will eventually leak water through the roof.


Chimney flashing

This is another area to be concerned about. If your flashing consists of roof cement or tar, it may need to be replaced with a long-term, water-tight fitting, which would be a metal flashing system.


Excessive shingle granules in the gutters

Look in your gutters to see whether they are loaded up with shingle granules. Roofs tend to lose more granules toward the end of their life cycle. Inconsistent or darker color on some parts of the roof is another sign the granules have worn away.


Daylight through the roof boards

You notice a spongy feel or trampoline bounce when walking on the roof, which means the underlying decking is weakened from moisture and potentially rotting. Check your attic to see if there is any daylight coming through the roof boards or if the roof boards show water stains. Also check for moisture in the insulation.


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