8 Caution Signs Your Home's Roof Is Shot
It's good to know when to run for cover - and by that, we mean call the professionals.
A secure roof on your home is pretty critical if you're used to having a warm, cozy, leak-free home. Here's are some important warning signs to look for and how to deal with potential issues before they become big ones.
Your roof's 25th year is coming.
"An asphalt shingle roof should last between 20 and 30 years," says Claude McGavic, executive director of The National Association of Home Inspectors. "If you have a 40-year-old roof, there could be a problem - even if it looks good from the ground."
Time left until a new roof: Five to ten years, depending on your roof's condition. If you live in a development and fellow neighbors are starting to replace their roofs, that's a possible indication that you should do the same.
The shingles are curling.
Shingles can curl in two ways: Cupping, which is when the edges of the shingles turn upward; and Clawing, which is when the edges stay flat and the middle starts rising. "Both are signs of weathering and indicate that problems - potentially leaks - are relatively close to fruition," says Mark Graham, vice president of the National Roofing Contractors Association.
Time left until a new roof: "Depending on the extent of the curling, it could be anywhere from a year to five years before you need a new roof," says Graham.
Full shingles are missing.
From a functional viewpoint, there shouldn't be an issue with just replacing a few shingles here and there. "What you do need to be prepared for is the fact that it's just about impossible to get a new shingle to match the color of an old one," says Graham. "Granule colors have changed pretty significantly over the years. Plus, the colors change slightly with weathering."
Time left until a new roof: You can keep patching until a larger problem shows up, but if a roof starts to look like a checkerboard, people generally choose to replace the entire roof.
Shingles are cracking.
Cracked shingles are classically a result of wind damage. If just a few are cracked, you can definitely swap them. "If the cracking isn't isolated to one particular area and it's random throughout the roof, that's a telltale sign that you should start thinking about a new roof," says Graham.
Time left until a new roof: You may need to replace the entire roof in three to five years.
You're finding granules in the gutter.
If you recently got a new asphalt shingle roof installation and you see a lot of granules in the gutters, there's no need to worry: Those are just loose, extra ones. If it's been 10 or 15 years, that's an indication of a bigger situation. "Granules help keep the sun off the asphalt," says McGavic. "Once the granules fall off and the shingles start to bake, the quality will deteriorate in a hurry."
Time left until a new roof: If you didn't just install a new roof and you're starting to see the granules in the gutter, the shingles are probably halfway through their lifespan, McGavic estimates.
The shingles are covered with moss or algae.
There is actually no reason to panic. "It's just a cosmetic issue," says McGavic. Many homeowners may decide to replace the roof because they don't like the look of it (and a lot of new shingles are algae-resistant). Whatever you do, don't take matters into your own hands by power washing or scraping away at the green stuff. "That's a good way to chip off all the granules, which again, essentially renders your shingles useless."
Time left until a new roof: As long as you can handle the appearance. Consider a wash that's one part bleach and one part water to remove algae or moss or look into zinc strips that can be installed at roof peaks and will eventually eliminate the problem. If you do decide to replace your roof, consider tiles that are algae-resistant, like GAF Timberline.
You can see sunlight from your attic.
You don't need us to tell you that this isn't a good sign! If light can get in, so can rain, cold air, and snow. Check for light and also look for water stains. "If you find any, watch them over a few rainfalls and if they change shape or size, that means you've got an active leak," says McGavic.
Time left until a new roof: It is dependent on the extent of the damage, so call a pro just to be safe. Small leaks can be patched, but larger ones, structural damage, and age may make it a wiser choice (and cost efficient) to replace your roof sooner rather than later.
The whole roof sags.
It's time to panic. "A sagging roof is typically an indication of a structural issue," explains Graham. There could be issues with the decking in the attic or worse, with the supports in the foundation. "You're not necessarily in imminent danger, but this is the kind of thing that's a lot easier to take care of when it's small and localized, than when it has progressed."
Time left until a new roof: Not much, if you don't act soon. If you see a depression or a droop, call in the pros as soon as you can. Monarch Roofing can inspect your roof at no-charge.