5 Easy Ways to Figure Out if You Need a New Roof

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 by Elizabeth Mixon

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Have you ever wondered if you need a new roof? Replacing your roof is easy to overlook when there are more exciting projects, like bathroom remodeling.

But, your roof protects one of your biggest investments – your family’s home and all the memories in it.

That’s why it’s important to know when to replace your roof. Read on to learn 5 easy ways to tell if you need a new roof.

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Inspect Your Roof

One of the easiest ways to determine if you need a new roof is by visually inspecting it.

You want to look for any problems with the shingles. Curling shingles – either on the edges or in the middle – can be a sign that your roof is no longer watertight. Although you don’t have to replace your roof immediately, your roof will likely have leakage problems soon if you don’t replace it.

Missing shingles can also signal that your roof needs to be replaced. Although you can patch missing shingles, you likely won’t be able to get a matching color. After having to replace enough shingles, your roof will look mismatched. At this point, it’s better just to replace the whole roof rather than continue to patch it.

If you have an asphalt shingle roof, shingle granules in the gutter can indicate that it’s time to replace your roof. When asphalt shingles are new, it’s normal to see granules in your gutter – they’re just excess roof material. However, when your roof is aging, granules in the gutter mean your shingles are at the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced.

Algae and moss growing on your roof is another sign that it’s time to replace your roof. Moss on your roof can trap water on and beneath the shingles – leading to water damage. While not a structural problem, algae can be problematic by making your roof look unsightly.

Cleaning algae and moss can cause your shingles to break down. So, if you notice a lot of moss or don’t like the way algae looks, it’s time to replace your roof.

A final sign to watch for on your roof is sagging. If your roof looks like it’s dipping in any place, it’s time to replace it. Sagging is an indication of structural problems with your roof, which get harder to fix as they worsen. So, if there is any sagging, it’s better to replace your roof now rather than waiting for more structural damage to your home.

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Examine Your Chimney

Looking at your chimney is another easy way to tell if you need your roof replaced.

One sign of chimney problems is when the place where the chimney joins the roof (also called flashing) is sealed with roof cement or tar. Both roof cement and tar are a cheaper and faster way to seal chimney seams. However, they aren’t durable and are prone to cracking. This can cause your roof to leak, leading to damage both to the roof and other areas of your home.

Instead, the chimney should be joined with the roof with metal flashing, which is much more durable. Roof cement and tar make it harder to install proper flashing. And, the presence of shoddy materials indicates that your roof might not be very high quality. Replacing your roof and installing proper chimney flashing will ensure that your roof is structurally sound for years to come.

No chimney cricket (a small roof-like structure behind your chimney) can also indicate that you have problems with your roof. Chimney crickets help water and other debris drain off your roof – rather than getting stuck behind your chimney. If water and debris collect on your roof, it can lead to water damage and rot.

While not a sign that your roof has to be replaced, it’s a good idea to check for roof damage around your chimney if there isn’t a cricket. If there is damage to your roof, it’s time to replace it. And, make sure your roof installers also put in a chimney cricket.

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Look to Your Neighbors

Seeing when your neighbors replace their roofs is another easy way to determine if you should replace your roof.

Roofs generally last around 20-30 years. If you didn’t install the current roof on your home (if you’ve been in your home for less than 20 years), it can be hard to know exactly how old your roof is.

An easy way to figure out the age of your roof is to look to other houses in your neighborhood. Houses in the same neighborhood are often the same age - meaning they need their roofs replaced around the same time.

If your neighbors are replacing their roofs, it’s a good indication that your roof is reaching the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced.

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Investigate Your Attic

Inspecting your attic and being on the lookout for any attic related roof problems is another easy way to tell if you need a new roof.

When you’re in your attic, you shouldn’t be able to see any light filtering in through the roof. This means that your roof isn’t air or watertight. Things like water, snow, ice, and more can get into your house through these roof cracks leading into your attic. This can cause lasting structural damage in your home.

If you can see light through the roof in your attic, it also means that hot and cold air from outside is getting into your home. This can push your utility bills way up because your heating and cooling system is having to work even harder to combat the outside air that’s seeping in through the roof.

To avoid the structural problems and increased energy costs, you should replace your roof if you can see sunlight through the roof in your attic.

Ice damming (lots of icicles hanging off your roof in the winter) is another attic related sign that it’s time to replace your roof. The heat from your attic should melt enough ice and snow off your roof to prevent a large collection of icicles. Ice damning indicates that there’s a ventilation problem with your roof – meaning that it could be time to replace your roof altogether.

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Check for Furry Guests

A last easy way to know if you need a new roof is to look for unwanted animals in your home.

Common animals that might make their way into your home are bats, squirrels, and possums (to name a few.) If you find them in your attic or other areas of your home, they’re likely entering your home through a hole somewhere. Often, in your roof.

If unwelcome animals have moved into your home, you should closely inspect your roof for holes. Beyond the annoyance of uninvited animals invading your home, animals in your home mean that anything can get in through your roof – like damaging water or cold air.

Any holes in your roof indicate that you need to at least patch your roof. Either having large or many holes is a sign that you need to replace your roof entirely.

The Bottom Line

It can be hard to determine when you need a new roof – especially if you don’t know the age of your roof.

Even if you don’t know how old your roof is, you can use these 5 easy ways to figure out if it’s time to replace your roof.

Need help with a roof replacement or repairClick here to get your free estimate today!


About the Author

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Elizabeth Mixon is a freelance writer who helps real estate businesses create unique and engaging content/copy to win over their ideal clients. Combining her passions for real estate and marketing, Elizabeth offers a variety of content marketing and copywriting services – like blog posts, website copy, and social media content. To find out more about how Elizabeth can help you, click here.

A Kansas City native, Elizabeth lives in a suburb of KC with her finance, Greyhound, and Shih Tzu. When she’s not writing, you can find Elizabeth watching HGTV or experimenting with new baking recipes.