The roof is one of the most important parts of a house. If it’s leaky or if it suffers from a mold infestation, it can become hazardous for the people living under it. Surprisingly, most homeowners don’t pay much attention to maintaining their roof in good condition. The roof ages over time, just as people do, and can become weak and unstable.
That’s why you should inspect your roof at least twice a year — once in the spring and once in the fall. If there are trees around your house, you should perform inspections more often — especially after a storm. Make sure there are no obvious signs of sagging or damage to shingles. Also, you should clean any debris you find on the rooftop, in the gutters, and downspouts.
To help you with the inspection process, here are seven warning signs you should repair or replace your roof.
Check for leaks from the inside
You should perform the initial screening of the condition of your roof from the inside. The attic is the first place to check for obvious signs of roof damage. So, grab a flashlight, head to the attic and search for moisture stains or mold. Also, if you can see sunlight beams coming through your roof, that’s a clear sign your roof is damaged and will cause leaks.
Review your maintenance records
As with any kind of structure, a roof also has a life expectancy. If the roof was properly built, expect it to last for about 25 years. However, the lifespan of a roof installed on top of the existing shingles is shorter — about 20 years.
If you can’t remember how long it has been since the roof was installed or repaired last time, check your maintenance records. All in all, if it’s been about 20 years, prepare yourself for a complete roof replacement.
The condition of the shingles will reveal whether your roof is leaky or watertight.
To see if the shingles are in good condition, you’ll have to climb up onto the roof (Tips for Safely Navigating Your Roof). Inspect the rooftop for obvious signs of damage, especially after a violent storm. If you see cracked or curled shingles, you should consider a maintenance repair.
Also, check the gutters and downspouts. If you notice the shingles are shedding a lot of granules, that’s a clear signal they might need to be replaced.
Wear and tear around openings
Flashing refers to thin pieces of aluminum or steel that are placed around joints and objects on the roof to prevent water seepage.
Examine if there are visible signs of flashing damage around seams, vents, and chimneys. Those parts of the roof are more prone to damage and can cause leaks. If you see any cracks, consider performing regular maintenance.
Besides, metal flashing is more durable than cement or tar flashing. So, consider upgrading for better protection against leaks if you don’t have metal flashing already.
Roof sagging is dangerous
Apart from ruining the overall appearance of the house, a saggy roof can be extremely dangerous. The entire roof could collapse if you don’t localize what’s causing the sagging on time.
Weakened material and poor ventilation are common reasons for roof sagging. Usually, you’ll have to replace the entire roof if the sagging is extreme. So, check the decking and rafters in your attic for signs of moisture damage and rot. Know that the lowest parts of the roof are especially prone to sagging.
Moss and plants spell trouble
Moss and plants might look nice in your garden, but on a roof, they can cause serious trouble. If you notice moss or plants growing on your roof, that’s a telltale sign it has sustained moisture damage.
Note that moss or mold can compromise the entire roof and underlying structures. To remedy this problem, you can use a brush to clean the problematic areas. But, be sure to check the extent of the damage after cleaning.
Repair or replace?
Whether you’ll have to replace the entire roof or just repair it depends on the extent of the damage. But, don’t panic if you notice a couple of damaged shingles or if there is a minor leakage. That doesn’t mean you need to replace your roof entirely.
If the roof was installed properly and is not older than 20 years, you might be all set with a minor repair. However, if you are not sure, it’d be wise to get in touch with us to perform a free estimate.