Don't wait until it's too late. Find out when to replace a roof, or you could end up with big problems.
You probably don't think about your roof very often. Unless something goes wrong, that is. A leak is usually your first indication you need to replace your roof, but you don't need to wait that long. There's a lot you can do before it gets to that point. These tips will help you decide when to replace a roof so you don't get stuck with major home damage.
The best scenario is to catch and correct problems before they begin. If you wait until your roof is leaking, you've waited too long to replace or repair your roof. When water gets through the roof, it can get into your walls where the moisture creates mold and mildew. A major leak can even go unnoticed for some time if it isn't in an obvious location.
Even though a leak is one of the most noticeable signs that there is a problem, there are other steps you can take to find out when to replace a roof on your home.
When to replace a roof: the homeowner's guide
Most contractors recommend checking your roof twice each year: once in the spring and once in the fall. You'll know when to replace a roof (maybe now!) if you see these signs during your roof inspection. Here is what you should look for:
The inside inspection
Grab your flashlight, and let's go to the attic. Inspecting your roof from the inside is safer and might be the only inspection you need to make.
- Sunlight: Before you turn on the flashlight, look closely at your attic ceiling. Are there any rays of sunlight shining through? If sunlight is coming through holes in your ceiling, that means water or even small rodents could come through, as well.
- Water damage: Are there signs of water damage? If the support beams of your roof feel damp, soggy, or look substantially different than the surrounding wood, this could be a sign of a long-term leak.
- Mold: Mold is a side effect of water damage, but it can cause major problems on its own. In a humid environment, mold can grow quickly. Mold that gets into your walls can have an effect on the air quality in your home, making it annoying or even downright dangerous for anyone with mold allergies.
The outside inspection
Only check your roof outside if you feel you can do so safely. Otherwise, hire a roofing contractor or home inspection company to climb up and examine your roof. The bonus is that they should be able to easily tell when to replace a roof. They'll also give you a general estimate of the cost if roof replacement is necessary.
- Missing shingles: Missing shingles, especially around the roof "valleys" or chimney, can make a roof especially leak-prone. Missing shingles can also be a warning sign of other roof damage, such as additional leaks or general wear.
- Curling or cracked shingles: Shingles that are cracked, brittle, or curling are indications that your roof is at or nearing the end of its life.
- Worn or bald shingles: Most shingles are rough and gritty like sandpaper. If shingles are missing this grit, it could mean that your roof needs to be replaced.
- Rotten shingles: Just like underneath the roof (the ceiling of your attic), soft or mushy spots are a sign of extensive wear and leaking.
Do you know when to replace a roof? If you do notice these signs, contact a roofing professional. You might find that some simple repairs will take care of your problems, especially if your roof isn't that old. And like any home checklist, you may find that your individual circumstances require variations, so feel free to use this as a starting point and make it work for you.
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Have you replaced your roof? How did you know when to replace a roof? Share your stories in the comments.