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The question that looms over many of today's homeowners is when to replace the roof. Instead of an accurate countdown indicating the best time to replace your roof, most people buy or inherit their home without any surety of the roof's condition or how close they may be to a new roof installation.
Bad weather — such as hurricanes — also plays a part, as roofs that face regular harrowing may need to be replaced sooner and with sturdier materials.
Signs Pointing to a New Roof
So is it time to replace your roof, or how long in the future is your roof replacement? Let's dive into the signs of a failing roof so you can determine the state of your roof in comparison.
Age of the Roof
The number one factor of new roof replacement is age. The older your current roof, the more likely a roof replacement is in your near future. Roofs built 20-30 years ago are now approaching their recommended 'retirement' age, meaning it'll soon be time to install a new roof. If you're not sure about the age of your roof, there are two pretty good indicators. The first is how long you know the house has gone without a roof replacement. If you can calculate past the 15 year mark, it's time to start planning for a new roof. The second method is to watch your neighbors. Many homes were but at the same time (and in the same way) as nearby neighbors. So when more than one neighbor starts roof replacement, your home may be on the same schedule.
Curling and Cracked Shingles
The other signs it's time for a new roof can be observed by looking at the roof or peering from the attic inside. As a roof ages, the singles themselves wear out and start to take more damage or drop from the roof entirely. So the first thing you can look for is signs of curling and cracked shingles - especially in a large swath or spread all over the roof. Shingles should remain flexible and nailed down but old shingles become brittle or even too bendable. Look for shingles with curling corners, cracked shingles, and partial broken shingles.
Large Patches of Missing or Damaged Shingles
Sometimes called 'bald spots', large areas of missing or thin tiles is a clear sign that your roof is wearing out. As a roof approaches its reinstallation time, weak shingles break and fall away. This can reveal the lower layer of shingles or even the raw underlayment below. Shingles on the ground or the visible change in roof texture from missing patches of shingles show that your roof is shedding its layers too fast for maintenance.
Daylight in the Attic
One of the common results of a roof with damaged or missing shingles is a thin roof. You can often see this simply by standing in the attack during the daytime. If you can see daylight coming through sections of the roof, not just the window, then your roof is in trouble. This means it is no longer a complete barrier and protection from the weather and the next bad rain or wind could cause serious damage to the weakened roof and home below.
Granules in the Gutter and Yard
When shingles reach the end of their lifespan, they don't just curl or break away. Their structure actually breaks down. Asphalt composite shingles, the most common type, have a layer of UV resistant granules over their surface. While these granules can be knocked off by things like wind and hailstones, they most hold fast. Until the roof is old and ready to be replaced. THen the granules start to drop away more quickly. If you have noticed a growing number or abundance of granules in your gutters or on the ground along the line of your roof eaves, then it's time for a roof replacement. This means your shingles are near their expiration date.
Sagging or Buckling Roof Shape
One of the most worrying and potentially dangerous signs of an old roof is sagging or buckling. When a roof sags, when valleys form, or when it buckles along thee upper ridge, this means the structure of the roof is giving way. A sagging roof may need not only a fresh layer of shingles installed, but possibly structural rebuilding and repair to ensure the new roof is structurally sound and free from sagging or old rot.
Frequent Roof Repairs
Lastly, keep track of how frequently your roof needs repairs. Homes in regions with regular storms can expect a few storm-related roof repairs. But if your roof is leaking or losing shingles in normal non-storm weather, then it's likely at the end of its life span. If the roof leaks every time you get a heavy rain, even if you patched up after the last leak, means that there are too many potential leak points and it would be more efficient to install a new roof than keep patching every thin spot. Shingles that blow or break off in average wind speeds mean your shingles are no longer strong enough to last.