How to Know When You Need
to Replace That Old Roof
How often do you look at your roof? Most people don’t look at their roof very often, since most people, that own their home is too busy with their kids or jobs. Especially me, the only time I notice my roof is when I’m coming up the driveway or on my way home, but even then, it’s just a passing glance.
Even so, inspecting your roof regularly and making little fixes as needed can prevent some costly repairs down the road. There’s another benefit, too; keeping your roof in good condition will also be a big plus if you decide to sell your home. So, what are the most noticeable signs that you need to replace your roof?
What Are the Signs?
- Shingle edges are curled, or shingle tabs are cupped
- Bald spots where granules are missing
- Cracked shingles
- Neighbors are getting new roofs
- Your roof is at least 20 years old
- The roof just looks old and worn
- Dark streaks
- Cracked, torn, bald or missing shingles
- Loose material or wear around chimneys, vents, pipes or other penetrations
When you glance at the exterior of the roof, pay attention to such things as damaged flashing, missing shingles, curling, blistering, buckling, rotting and algae growth.
While many shingles today are produced for durability, if your roof is over 20 years of age then it’s definitely time to replace. Due to the fact that many factors can accelerate the aging of shingles. For example, if your roof is not properly ventilated, it can negatively impact your shingles
If your neighbors are replacing their roof, it is probably a good idea to consider replacing yours as well. Since, homes built around the same time period can experience the same types of weather conditions and other things.
If you start to see dark streaks on your shingles, it can mean that your roof has contracted a type of airborne algae. While this may not necessarily harm the roof shingles, it may not look good either. This may not always mean you have to replace your roof, but it is a good warning sign that your roof is getting older. The algae however, can be a very easy thing to remove by using a 50:50 blend of water and bleach spray on your roof. It is important to use a low volume garden hose, so you do not knock the protective granules off your shingles. It is also important that you protect your landscaping from the bleach run-off.
Moss growth can be more than a cosmetic issue, it can grow on roof surfaces that don’t get much sunlight especially in cool, moist climates, it holds moisture against the roof surface and overtime in freezing climates can cause damage to the granules on the top of the shingles. Moss can be brushed off, but it won’t prevent it from growing again; take care not to damage the shingle surface. Since moss is harder to remove then algae and it will almost always grow back, you will probably want to contact a professional. This way you have a better chance of not inflicting damage to your shingles.
Determining when you need a new roof also depends on roofing material as well as the part of the country in which you live. With that being said, I have a few tips for roofing materials.
- Cedar: A cedar roof in need of repair or replacement will split and fall apart in dry climates. In moist climates, it will get mossy. The lifespan of a cedar roof is about 20 years.
- Tile: you should examine the tiles very often, to check for cracks, however do not do so by walking on them, this can cause them to crack. Tile roofs can last up to 100 years, but individual tiles can break. They can be replaced, but only by a roof specialist.
- Concrete: should never need replacing
Find the Simple Fixes
If your roof is under the age of 20 then most damages can be repaired rather than being replaced. Repairing instead of replacing can also save you some money as well as time. Start protecting your home by using some simple observation skills. If you find problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your roof. Many repairs can be made before a major rebuild is necessary. So, when it isn’t necessary don’t rush into replacing your roof.
If you do decide to go ahead and replace the whole roof, keep weather and other issues specific to your locality in mind when choosing materials. Also, don’t wait until water is unexpectedly pouring into your home because of a leaky roof. Repair before you have no other choice but to replace.
How to DIY a Shingle Repair
- Locate the damaged shingle, lift it up with your fingers and pry out the nail with the back of your hammer
- Remove any old roofing cement residue with a wet rag and paint scraper
- Round off the back corners of the new shingle with a sharp knife or box cutter
- Slide the new shingle into place and secure it with roofing nails into each upper corner
- Cover the nail heads with roofing cement
If your DIY or repair skills aren’t up to par, it may be a good idea to find a roofer. It is always better to ask for help then it is to let your pride take over and mess something major up.
How to Find a Roof Contractor
If you think you need to replace your entire roof, research and find a reputable contractor. Make sure their license is authentic and up-to-date. Pay attention to whether their references recommend them without hesitation.
You can also check sites like Google, Houzz, HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack for verified reviews of contractors in your zip code.
Always check your roof for damage. Watch out for algae and moss, make sure to know the difference between the two. Decide on the right roof materials for your area, climate, and weather. Find the simpler fixes, the can save you money and time in the long run. Always make sure that you know what you’re doing when you are repairing your own shingles. If you are not sure what you are doing call a contractor. When dealing with a roofing contractor to replace your roof, make sure that his license and all his paperwork is up to date. Thank you from all of us here at Texas Home Exteriors.