At times, it is obvious that a roof is in bad shape, but the signs are not always so clear. Many homeowners don’t know if they need a simple patch job, a larger repair, or a complete roof replacement. If you know when your roof was last replaced, that is a great place to start. Roofing materials have a general lifespan that they typically last for if they are properly cared for and maintained, so looking at your roof’s age is a great place to start.
Lifespan of roofing materials
Shingles and roofing materials are generally given a specific amount of time for which they will perform well. Some climatic factors can shorten the lifespan of a roof, though, so this must be taken into consideration. If you live in an area that is prone to strong winter storms, heavy winds, hail damage, or hurricanes, these weather events can significantly reduce the life expectancy of your roof. Typical estimates on the lifespan of a roof, however, are as follows:
- Composition roofs and asphalt shingles: 20 years
- Fiber cement shingles: 25 years
- Wood shingles: 30 years
- Tile, metal, and slate roofs: 50 years or more
Signs you may need a new roof
If you are a new homeowner or have only lived in your home for a few years, you most likely have not had a roof installed. Finding information on the roof’s age may prove to be difficult. If that is the circumstance you are in, there are signs you can look for on the roof that indicate it may need to be repaired or replaced. As you examine your roof, look for these indicators:
- Black algae streaks. If you see dark streaks running down your roof, it may indicate that you have an accumulation of algae that can retain moisture and damage your shingles.
- Damaged chimney and step flashing. The metal flashing around chimneys and at the roof’s intersection points with walls can rust and become damaged due to the elements. This leads to leaks around the chimney that can affect the interior of your home.
- Unpatched holes. There are a variety of reasons that holes may have been drilled into your roof, such as the installation of antennas and satellite dishes. If these holes are not patched after the items are removed, water can leak into your home.
- Broken and damaged shingles. If you can see your shingles have been damaged by wind, hail, and ice, you should have those shingles replaced immediately. If the damage is prevalent across most of the roof, it is likely you will need a full roof replacement.
- Shingle damage from hail. There are several ways that hail can have a negative impact on your roof. Large hailstones can actually puncture shingles and leave obvious holes. Lighter hail can also wear away at the granules on your shingles, which allows the sun’s rays to destroy them.
- Tar and roof cement patching. Previous homeowners may have paid a contractor to perform a quick, easy fix on parts of your roof, especially around chimneys and walls, with roof cement. This seals out water from weather elements for a short time but, in the end, often does more harm than good. If you see cracked patchwork on your roof, you should call a roofing contractor to assess your situation.
- Curled shingles. If your shingles are curled up around the edges, it can mean a few different things. They may not have been installed or lined up properly, or they may simply be well beyond their life expectancy. If you can see your shingles are curling, call a skilled professional.
- Missing granules. The granules on your shingles will erode away with time. If you can clearly tell that a lot of the granules have washed away, this is an indication that you may need to replace the roof.
- Exposed nails. As shingles reach the end of their lifespan, they become worn, exposing nail heads. This is often a sign that your roof has reached the end of its ability to function properly.
- Cracked shingles. When you see that shingles have become cracked, you should call in a roofing contractor to repair them right away. Proper maintenance will increase the longevity of your roof and protect your home from water damage. If the damage is already extensive, a full replacement may be necessary.
It is always a good idea to inspect your roof regularly and identify any potential problems that could result in damage to your home. If you find that you have any of the issues mentioned above, reach out to the expert contractors at Mr. Roof at (614) 444-2253 for an estimate on repairs or roof replacement.