Roofs usually don’t need to be replaced for years or decades at a time, so they aren’t often on homeowners’ minds when considering home maintenance. But how will you know when it’s time to replace your roof?
We’ve put together some quick ways to tell if you should consider replacing your roof—how to recognize the warning signs and save or swap your roof before the damage worsens.
The shingles are curling, missing, or cracked
Shingles can curl at the edges (called “cupping”) or from the middle (called “clawing”). Either way indicates weathering and can lead to future problems, so it’s best to get shingles replaced as soon as they show signs of curling. Other potentially hazardous roofs are ones with missing or cracked shingles—not only is this a safety concern for workers, but they can also lead to future damage and should be replaced as soon as possible.
While the presence of broken shingles doesn’t mean the whole roof needs to be replaced, you can decide whether or not you want to fix them piecemeal or have the whole roof redone at once. In many cases of replacing individual shingles, it will be more difficult to match the original shingle color, but if you don’t mind waiting until your roof is older or a bigger problem presents itself, you can replace individual shingles as needed.
The shingles are covered with moss or algae
Moss and algae indicate problems with drainage and moisture that can cause more serious issues in the future. While they aren’t immediate concerns, it’s important to pay attention if moss or algae starts creeping onto your shingles. If you decide you want to replace your roof with something that can better resist moisture build-up, consider searching for algae-resistant shingles or tiles.
Your neighbors are starting to replace their roofs
It’s not polite to be a nosy neighbor, but in this case, you just might want to pay more attention to your neighbors. If you’re living in an area with houses that were built around the same time, be aware of when your neighbors begin to replace their roofs. At that point, it may be time to consider replacing your own roof, or at least to begin looking for other warning signs to determine if there is any damage or general wear and tear.
You’ve had the same roof for 20+ years
Is your roof beyond its teen years? If so, it’s time to consider replacing it. Most roofs last 20-30 years with general wear and tear, with asphalt shingles in particular lasting about 20 years. Observe your roof to see if there are any visible signs of damage or age, and if you’re not sure whether or not you can wait a few more years before replacing it, consult a professional.
Not sure exactly how old your roof is? You can check home inspection documents to see when your roof was built or last replaced.
There are granules in the gutter
This might sound like you’re finding some fantastical monster or insect lurking on top of your house, but in actuality, we’re talking about loose, small rocks of asphalt that come off your shingles. Granules provide protection from the sun’s UV rays, increase the safety of the roof’s surface for workers, and help maintain the appearance of the roof.
While finding a few granules in the gutter is normal just after a roof has been built or replaced, it’s something to keep an eye on if you’ve had your roof for a few years. Granules also affect the color of shingles, so if you notice discoloration or a darkened area on the roof, this may be the cause of loose granules. Another good way to check for missing granules is to look for bald spots on the roof, which indicate that the shingles are worn.
Granules are essential to ensuring the safety and longevity of a roof, and they have a big impact on life and appearance. If you notice discoloration or loose granules, it may be time to replace your roof.
The roof is leaking or sagging
If you find water stains in the attic or on the top floor, your roof is probably leaking—allowing for rain, air, and snow to sneak in. While small leaks can wait a bit of time before absolutely requiring attention, larger leaks or sagging roofs should be taken care of ASAP. Sagging usually indicates a structural issue, so unless you want your roof to fall in, consult an expert and get it fixed!
You notice mold or a strange odor in the attic/top floor
Mold is never a good sign, as it indicates excessive moisture, is detrimental to materials, and can pose health risks. Roofs are no exception to this rule—if you see mold in your attic, it’s time to get your roof inspected and possibly replaced.
Mold is often accompanied by a musty smell, so even if you can’t see the issue, try to sniff it out. A strange odor could mean leaking in the roof or ventilation issues in spaces like attics.
The roof simply looks old or worn
Sometimes, simplicity is best. If you walk outside and observe your roof, look for signs of general wear and tear. If it looks old or shabby, it may be time to replace it. Consider calling a professional inspector or roof contractor, and they can help you from there.
If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a professional roofing company and resolve the problem as soon as possible. Expert roofing contractors will be able to tell you the extent of the damage and what the best solution is. The goal is to recognize the warning signs and resolve any issues before they worsen—and then be able to stay confident in your roof until its next replacement!