When does the roof of a house need to be replaced? If you are seeing signs that you need to change the roof of your house, it is best to act immediately.
The roof, being installed all at once, and uniformly subjected to the elements. This means it should deteriorate with the same patterns and very homogeneously. Oftentimes, when you notice deterioration in one part, many other areas of the roof will have similar deterioration.
Your roof may be warranted for 15, 30, or even 50 years, but it may not last that long depending on the slope of the roof, the quality of the installation, the quality of the ceiling ventilation, and the weather conditions in your area.
How long does a typical roof last?
The lifespan of your roof is primarily determined by the material used in its construction. Traditional asphalt shingle roofs generally last between 20 and 25 years.
Wood shingle roofs typically last 20 to 30 years.
Metal roofs can last 40 to 50 years.
Slate, copper, and tile roofs can last up to 100 years or even longer.
Is there a way to tell if you need a new roof?
Signs your roof needs replacement
If your roof is nearing the end of its useful life, you should start thinking about replacement as soon as possible.
You can estimate when your roof will need to be replaced based on the average lifespan of the material used on your roof and when it was originally installed.
However, keep in mind that bad weather and unexpected damage can significantly shorten the life of a roof, especially if problem areas are not repaired in a timely manner.
If you don’t know when your roof was installed, or if there is a possibility that bad weather and damage have shortened the life of your roof, watch for signs of age, wear, and tear.
Learn to recognize the early signs of a problem and take steps to strengthen your roof.
Is it leaking?
The most obvious sign that you may need a new roof is finding water inside your home.
Periodically check the attic or ceiling, especially after storms or high winds.
Look for signs of water penetration, because major leaks inside the home are most likely originating there.
However, keep in mind that water can travel a considerable distance – for example, across rafters or inside walls. The point where it infiltrates can be completely different from the point where it is finally seen.
Have leaks recently appeared inside your home? If so, there could be a leak somewhere on your roof.
Leaks often occur in roof valleys (which direct rainwater into gutters) and in areas where flashing has developed cracks and breaks.
A simple roof leak repair or roof patch may be helpful if you only have one or two leaks; but multiple leaks could indicate that it is time to replace the roof.
Roof leak detection can be a dangerous DIY job, so it’s best to hire a roofing specialist if you need to inspect your roof for leaks.
Peeling paint or blistering (swelling of the wood or trim), inside or out, can be due to water pooling where it doesn’t belong.
These types of marks are much more than an aesthetic problem. They indicate the presence of a serious leak that may or may not be due to a roof defect. Importantly, this is one of the main possible causes you should investigate.
Mold or Mildew Growth
Mold or mildew growth on the ceiling or walls can be a sign of roof leaks, the result of condensation problems, or even a simple plumbing issue.
Check that your insulation is dry and that your home has adequate ventilation. Also, check that bathroom fixtures and plumbing are not leaking or sweating.
These types of problems may be corrected at a lower cost than replacing the roof.
Structural problems are sometimes overlooked as a possible cause of roof leaks. The roof line can sag regardless of the age or architectural style of the home. In century-old homes and log cabins, the roof may be supported on actual logs or timber rafters, which can warp and bow with age, excess moisture, or heavy snow load.
Cracks and other stress fractures in the foundation of any home can distort the walls and create a space through which water can enter. Before you consider replacing the entire roof, first invest in making sure the structure of the rest of the house is sound. Otherwise, you might continue to suffer the same problems with the new roof. Simply replacing it would be a real waste of money.
Sunlight through roof boards
Take a look inside your attic or crawl space during the day.
Do you notice any sunlight coming through?
This is a sure sign that you have a leaky roof that needs replacement.
Missing or broken shingles
Roofs are built to withstand high winds and storms.
If you notice shingles missing from your roof, it could be a sign that your roof is failing.
If your roof is showing serious signs of wear and tear, have a roofing professional inspect it to see if it needs to be replaced.
Your Roofing Options
When it comes time to replace your roof, be sure to consider your options.
Common roofing materials in sunny, temperate areas like Florida and California include asphalt shingles, wood shingles, metal roofing, clay or concrete shingles, and slate.
Many homeowners opt for asphalt shingles because they come in a wide range of styles and are the most affordable roofing option.
Wood shingles come in a variety of wood types and can be treated with fire retardants for improved fire resistance.
Metal roofing is lightweight, fire resistant, and very durable. Slate is the most expensive roofing option and is known for its extraordinary longevity.
Clay and concrete shingles offer comparable benefits to slate, but with greater variety at a lower cost.
As you select a roofing material for your home, consider “future-proofing” your roof. You may want to consider upgrading to an energy-efficient cool roof. Cool roofs use an additional layer of premium shingles that reflect sunlight more effectively and reduce heat transfer into the home. This can keep your home cooler in the hot summer months and also reduce your energy consumption.
Another way to “future-proof” your roof is to install a solar or electric heating system on it. Solar panels are a great way to harness clean, renewable solar energy to power your own home. Solar panels are an especially smart investment in sunny, temperate climates.