Rain, hail and wind are just a few things that your roof must withstand to provide you with a comfortably dry, leak-free home. While materials like asphalt shingles and cedar shake are designed to withstand the challenge of everyday exposure, age and the elements can damage even the most resilient roofing materials. You can feel confident it is time to replace your roof if any of the following signs are present.
1- Signs of Damage
Cracked, broken and missing shingles are one of the most obvious signs that you need a new roof. Sometimes, damage is less obvious. For instance, asphalt shingles curl along the edges or bulge in the center when they are damaged by wind, rain and snow. Luckily, identifying damaged shingles is easy.
To identify damaged roofing materials, visually inspect the material for cracks, breaks and other signs of damage. Broken clay tiles and fuzzy, splinters wood shake are also signs that you need a new roof. If you have asphalt, composite, or fiber cement shingles, check the gutter for granules, or the sand-like topcoat found on most shingles.
Granules start falling off when the shingles are about halfway through their expected lifespan. As long as the material doesn’t show other signs of damage and most of the granules are in place, you can wait to replace the roof if you find a few granules in your gutters. When other signs of damage, such as curled edges, are present, expect to replace the roof as soon as possible to prevent leaks.
2- Issues With Ice
Poor roof ventilation results in ice dams, or large ice buildups along the edge of your roof or gutter. Ice dams can cause roof damage in two ways. First, the weight of the ice can cause your roofing materials to separate, resulting in water damage to the underlayment and decking materials. The ice also prevents water drainage, causing serious issues when melted snow backs up and refreezes, adding a significant amount of weight to the roof.
In regions with snowy winters, the added weight can result in a collapsed roof. Installing a new, properly ventilated roof is the often the best option if you have recurring issues with ice dams. You should also seal your home’s interior to keep heat inside, and insulate the attic. Sealing and insulating your home help prevent ice dams, but also increase energy efficiency for lower heating costs during winter.
3- You Have Leaks
Leaks are the most obvious sign that you need a new roof. Not all water leaks are easy to see, especially when the problem is caused by missing or damaged flashing material. When flashing is damaged, leaks can occur inside walls, along chimneys and inside vents that open onto the roof. Some signs that you have a hidden roof leak include:
- Discolored walls and ceilings
- Cracked, peeling paint and peeling wallpaper
- Unusual odors, such as a musty, mildew-like odor
- Wooden flooring may expand, feel soft, or begin to splinter
- Mold growth on the walls or ceiling
Finding the source of roof leaks can be difficult. After water penetrates your roof, it tends to flow down rafters and other building materials to cause damage in unexpected areas. The fastest way to find the source of the leak is to contact a roofing professional, especially if you can’t see any visible signs of damage like missing shingles.
Although most homeowners can expect their roofing material to last for 20 to 30 years, events like severe storms and fallen tree branches can cause damage to your roof at any time. Inspecting your roofing materials annually and after severe weather events allows you to identify damage before it can cause serious problems.