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 know the warning signs that something isn’t right. Read through this list and 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 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.

Keep the following list in mind while surveying your roof and call in a professional if you notice any of the following warning signs.

Shingles

Curled or Cracked

curled shingles

Image courtesy of Toronto Roofing

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 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.

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.

Broken or Missing

missing shingles

Image courtesy of Aquiloni

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.

Buckling Shingles

buckling shingles

Image courtesy of Safe Roofing

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 cause buckling shingles.

Sandy Gutters

sand in gutters

Image courtesy of Archer

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 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 racoon). 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.

Roof Accessories

chimney flashing

Image courtesy of Household Decoration

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 or skylight expert to assist in your roof repair.

In Your Home

Stains on Ceilings or Walls

water stain on ceiling

Image courtesy of Boston Globe

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.

Attic Awareness

attic

Image courtesy of The Spruce

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

woman with bill

Image courtesy of Unilad

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 it is finally time to replace your roof, keep in mind that waiting too long could cause moisture, mold, and mildew issues that are even more costly to fix. When you’re ready to fix your roof, start on HomeStars and find the right professional for the job.

Cover image courtesy of 1 Shingle at a Time.

Posted by Jessica Greaves