When’s the last time you took a good look at your roof? Unless you keep a ladder nearby for weekly viewings, we’re guessing it’s been a long time. While there’s no need to look at your roof regularly, it is a good idea to know the warning signs that something isn’t right. Read through this list of common signs it’s time to repair your roof. Keep these tips in mind the next time you think about checking out the roof over your head.
Things to Consider
Before you can start searching your home for warning signs, it’s important you consider the age of your roof. Do you know how long ago your roof was reshingled or replaced? Most roofing experts agree that a typical asphalt shingle roof will last between 20 and 25 years. Knowing how old your roof is will help assess whether you need a total replacement or if you can get away with a repair.
Once you’ve discovered the age of your roof, it’s time to do an exterior inspection. Taking the time to do this a couple times a year will save you in the long run as you’ll begin to notice any differences. If you want to be extra diligent, take a photo of your roof during your first inspection. This way you will have something to compare to if you think you notice a change.
1. Curled or Cracked
Shingles that look curled or cracked are nearing the end of their lifespan. If you can see a fair amount of curled or cracked shingles, you’re better off replacing your roof than trying to repair the shingles as they curl up.
Curled shingles can also be a sign of environmental damages such as excessive heat or wind and ice. Shingles exposed to harsh weather over time become rigid and can snap off and fly away. To ensure your roof doesn’t fly away with them, have an expert come out and assess the situation.
2. Dark and Damp
Roofs are designed to keep water flowing down and away from your home. If any of your shingles look dark or discoloured this could be due to water being trapped under or around them. Keep in mind that the discoloured shingle is not always the offending shingle. The issue is likely higher up the roof and is causing water to run down and pool in a specific spot. If you’re unsure where the water is coming from, a roofing pro will be able to inspect and find the weak point in the roof.
3. Broken or Missing
If your roof is missing any amount of shingles, this can lead to a weaker roof over time. Shingles protect your roof and help shed water. Broken or missing shingles leave vulnerable entry points for water which can lead to bigger issues than just a roof replacement. If you have a small number of broken or missing shingles, you can have them replaced by a pro.
4. Buckling Shingles
Just like broken and missing shingles, buckling shingles are highly susceptible to wind and ice damage and can be torn off easily. How can you tell if you have buckling shingles? You’ll notice a wavy distortion that usually runs vertically up the roof slope. Wet or poorly installed underlayment can also cause buckling shingles.
5. Sandy Gutters
Do you have an odd amount of what looks like coarse black sand in your gutters? Those are actually granules from your worn out shingles. Composite or asphalt shingles shed their granules when they start to age and those granules will eventually end up in your gutters.
An older roof will naturally start shedding granules, however, if your newer roof is shedding this is likely due to physical damage on the roof (think falling tree branches or a very large raccoon jumping onto it). When the protective granules of a shingle are lost, the shingle begins to harden from heat and sun exposure. This loss will speed up the aging process and can create water entry points. This also means that your roof will need to be replaced sooner than usual.
Items like chimneys, vents, pipes, or skylights can all be sources of roof damage. The caulking around these items can separate, lift or simply dry out, making it easier for water to seep in. Often the fixes can be confined to these specific areas so don’t be concerned if you need to hire a chimney specialist or skylight expert to assist in your roof repair.
In Your Home
Stains on Ceilings or Walls
Water stains or discolouration on walls or ceilings can be caused by many different things, but one of the most common reasons is a leaking roof. Specifically, your roof’s underlayment might be allowing moisture into your home which leads to these stains. If your underlayment is the cause of these stains you will most likely have to replace your roof.
If you notice water or light in your attic that is not normally there, your roof could be to blame. If there are leaks in your attic, it might be as simple as replacing some flashing. If the leaks continue, the issue could be bigger. When in doubt, have a professional come out and investigate it. The sooner the issue is found, the easier the solution will be.
If you notice streams or beams of light coming through that weren’t there before, you most likely have a roof issue. If light can get in, water can too. Check your shingles as this could be the result of lost or damaged shingles on your roof.
You should also pay attention to the decking or rafters in your attic. If you find they are sagging downward instead of remaining straight, this may be due to leaks causing the rafters to absorb water. If the issue is specific to the rafters you maybe be able to avoid a complete replacement and instead fix the one problem.
Changes in Energy Bills
A spike in your heating or air conditioning costs could be due to air leaking out through your roof. This is a ventilation issue that needs to be corrected, not only to lower your bill but to remain comfortable in your home. Your bill should return back to normal once the issue has been dealt with.
Now that you know what to look out for, you can take better care of your roof and extend its life. Catching minor issues before they develop into big problems will not only cut down on the amount of time you spend worrying about them, it will also cut back on the cost and time to fix it. When you’re ready to fix your roof, start on HomeStars and find the right roofing pro for the job.
Cover image courtesy of Mathenia Insurance Group.