Most homeowners don’t give their roof much thought until they find a leak. However, by the time you discover a leak, probably around the time you climb up in your attic to grab Christmas decorations, you might already be dealing with water damage to other interior parts of your home that require costly repairs.
Knowing the condition of your roof in order to take preventative measures can save a lot of headache and further repair costs. The good news is homeowners can check the state of their roof without special equipment or professional help. You just need to know what you’re looking for. Here’s a handy guide with signs that indicate a roof replacement might be in your near future.
Climb up into your attic or crawlspace and start your search here. The most obvious sign is light filtering through the eaves, indicating you have larger holes in your roof already. However, less obvious signs exist here too.
If you see stains or streaks on the ceiling or walls, you could be looking at water damage from holes you can’t visibly see. Check to ensure that the surface of your ceiling is uniform; if you notice sagging, it’s a clear sign of water damage between the roof and ceiling.
If you don’t notice any inside damage, talk a walk outside and inspect your roof. Do you see any missing shingles, or shingles that are curling up or cracked? Is the flashing around chimneys and dormers intact? Does it look even straight across, or do you notice areas of depression?
After an initial inspection, get a closer look, assuming you are able to safely do so. It’s important to note that climbing onto your roof can be dangerous, and . Consider calling one at this point if you have concerns but don’t feel prepared to climb on top of your roof.
Check to see if the granules on the shingles are still consistent; as a roof nears the end of its lifespan, you’ll notice bald spots where the granules have fallen off or see them built up in gutters. Do you see any moss or algae buildup? Both will hold moisture against shingles, and a significant growth can mean underlying water damage.
Check the roof valleys, the area where two sides of the roof meet. Because rain and snow wash through these areas, they are one of the most common areas to find damage.
Sometimes, it’s common sense factors that let you know it might be time for a replacement roof. Checking records to see how old your roof is can give you a good indication; most roofs are rated for 20 - 25 years. If you’re closing in on that time, start looking for those signs listed above.
If you notice other homes in your area getting a new roof, yours might need to follow suit. Most homes within neighborhoods are built in the same span of time, meaning if the neighbors are replacing theirs, your roof could be due as well.
If you do notice signs of damage or areas of concern, however, don’t assume it means you need to replace the entire roof. Sometimes, if a roof has been properly installed and cared for, you may be able to simply replace the damaged areas and avoid a full replacement. A licensed roofing contractor like Hunterdon Siding and Window Co. can inspect your roof, note problem areas, and let you know your best course of action.