How can I tell if my roof needs to be replaced?

Homeownership comes with a lot of maintenance. Putting off certain repairs may not be a huge deal, but a leaky roof is. If your roof is showing signs of its age, pay attention to it and take the proper steps to resolve it before the damage gets out of hand. Read on for some telltale signs of a roof that needs replacing
Joe Ferguson

Joe Ferguson

Architectural Joiner at SkirtingsRus.

Cracked Tiles and Curling Discolored Shingles

If you notice any leak inside the home as well as sudden watermarks on the ceiling, it means a routine check of your roof is needed. For shingles and tile roofing, you might need to check on joints and flashing if they are still sealed and intact. Cracked tiles and curling discolored shingles can also be a sign to replace your roofing.

Roof’s Age, Granule Loss, and Missing or Broken Tiles or Shingles

There are a lot of ways to tell if your roof needs to be replaced, however here are the most common:

1. Age.
Modern roofs have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years for commonly used asphalt shingles. We recommend calling a local roofer to do an inspection when your roof reaches that twenty-year mark. They will be able to tell you how many years you have left on your roof, or if it needs to be replaced. Most roofers will offer free inspections.

2. Granule Loss
This is another common issue that indicates that your roof will need to be replaced soon. Granule loss happens when your shingles lose their protective granules due to weathering, aging, or improper installation. It’s normal for roofs to lose small amounts of granules, however if you see a lot of accumulation of these granules either in your gutters or on the ground, it’s an indication that your roof might need replacement soon.

3. Missing or Broken Tiles or Shingles
This is less common, because as long as your roof was properly installed, you’re unlikely to see large amounts of missing or broken tiles or shingles. However, if you do see any, it’s a sign that either the roof wasn’t properly installed, or the roof is getting old. Either way, you should have your roof inspected to see what kind of damage there is and what you need to do to fix it.

4. Water damage inside your home
Roofs can develop leaks, even in long periods of dry weather. This is because a leak is just a hole that water can use to penetrate your home’s roof, and these can come from anything from improper sealing, age, bad underlayment, nails, or tons of other things. If you see a dark-colored stain on your ceiling or wall that appears right after a rainstorm, there’s a good chance that it could be coming from your roof.

These leaks are important to get on top of quickly, because it’s common that by the time you actually see the leak, it’s already been active for several months. This can mean that there is already water damage to your roof or your attic, and you should call a licensed roofer to come out and inspect the damage.

5. Moss or Algae Growth
Mosses and algae don’t usually damage the roof directly, but it is an indication that your roof is trapping moisture and isn’t able to properly direct water from precipitation away from your home. This means that when it rains, your shingles or tiles are retaining moisture which allows the moss to grow. Typically, this means that in shingle roofs, the protective granules aren’t working properly, and in tile roofs, it can mean that your underlayment is damaged.

6. Sagging or warping
In severe cases, your roof might sag or warp in certain places. If you notice this, it means that there is severe damage to the roof, and it’s important to have a licensed roofer come out to do an inspection. In these cases, we don’t recommend walking on your roof to determine the extent of the damage yourself, as the structural integrity of the roof could be damaged.

By far the most common things that we see in our roofing business are granule loss and water damage. Another note is that roof replacement is not your only option – sometimes, if damage is relegated to only part of the roof, you can either do a partial replacement or a simple repair – both of which are much less expensive than a full replacement.

We often see cases where the part of the roof that faces the sun most of the day, which is typically the south-facing side for us in the United States, often gets more weathered than the north-facing side of a roof, because it is exposed to more heat from the sun. This can lead to the south-facing portion of the roof weathering and developing leaks more quickly than the north-facing side.

Seth Larson

Seth Larson

Don Rees

Don Rees

CEO & Founder of RealCraft.

Moss Growth, Shingles in Rough Shape, or Sagging Roof

Moss growth
Moss is a telltale sign that your roof is collecting extra moisture and organic matter. This growth can lead to the destruction of your roof by damaging your shingles. And if there is moss, there is some sort of moisture that is causing it to grow which can be troublesome. Your house might also be shaded for a lot of the time which causes moss to grow excessively as well. If you have moss on your roof, it’s a good idea to replace it as soon as possible.

The moss over time will cause damage and also encourage the growth of more moss and organic matter. It’s best to remove as much as you can when you notice it or you will be looking at doing a major replacement.

The shingles are in rough shape
If your shingles are curling up and flying off of the roof, you should be looking at getting your shingles replaced. Damaged shingles can lead to moisture and debris getting underneath them which will leak into your home. Shingles are your number one protection against the outside elements, so when they are damaged, you increase the chances of issues happening in your home.

Your roof is sagging
A roof sagging is one of the telltale signs that you need a roof replacement. It often means there has been too much weight and pressure on your roof which can be caused by things like heavy snow and ice. A brace can help to shift the weight of the roof, but it doesn’t often fix the problem.

Wet or Damp Boards Underneath The Shingles

There are a few ways to tell if your roof needs to be replaced. First, you will for sure know that a roof needs replacing if there are leaks that are coming into the house through the ceiling. Some leaks could be a sign that you just need a patch job, but oftentimes once a roof is leaking, it needs a full replacement.

Next, you may notice sagging or dents in the roof from above, if you look at your roof from the outside and it looks like a bowl shape, then it is possible you need a replacement.

Another way to tell if your roof needs replacing is to check the boards underneath the shingles, if these boards are wet or damp, you need a replacement. You can access these boards from the attic. The last thing to check for is missing or broken shingles, if you have multiple shingles that are damaged, then you may need a new roof.

Jay Sanders

Jay Sanders

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