7 Signs You Need a New Roof

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 by Ian Gattuso

Wear and tear comes with the territory when you have a house for several years. Whether it's snow wind or rain, one of the first places to feel the hit is the roof. It's vulnerable to different elements, which means you need to keep an eye on it. Here are seven signs you may need a new roof. 


You See Dark Stains and Streaks on the Interior Ceilings

One of the main signs you need a new roof is seeing dark stains on the ceilings. Most of the time, it means you have a water leak or excess moisture. If you don't get this inspected immediately, you could incur sizable costs to fix the roof not to mention more extensive ceiling re-finishing repairs. 


When you start seeing these early signs, pay close attention. Call a professional so they can identify the site of the leak or ventilation issue. In some cases, you may save yourself a whole roof replacement when you diagnose the issue early. It'll reduce your long term costs when you can have a  roof repair instead of a replacement.


Mold or Rot on the Roof Plywood

It tends to happen when excess moisture gets into the plywood or roof rafters. If you're looking from the outside, you'll notice it starts to droop and sag.


This can be from a wet basement or crawlspace adding excess moisture and even causing condensation on the bottom of the roof deck as the humid air rises from the lower level.  Poor roof ventilation issues allowing excess heat and humidity to stay trapped in the attic can also be a contributing factor.  This moisture and or heat will impact the rigidity of the plywood and is especially prevalent if the engineering used for the plywood is too thin compared to the span between the rafters.  For instance a 2ft. rafter span with ½ plywood.


Have a roofer go up into your attic and use his meter to see if there's moisture trapped in the layout of your roof.  He can also inspect your attic and find these type of problems.  If you have a wet or damp below ground space in your home make sure that is also something that is mentioned to your roofer.  Even though basements and crawlspaces aren’t their area of expertise in most cases, it can go a long way when it comes to dealing with the same problems over again.


Cracked Shingles or Shingles with the Fiberglass Exposed

Here's another big issue that needs checking. Shingles can crack as they get old and you may even notice that some look shiny on the lower section of the tabs. Constant UV rays, wind, rain and even hail hits cause shingles to thin as they deteriorate with age.  Many times, as the shingle ages it becomes unglued from the shingle under it which allows wind and wind driven rain to blow it back towards the peak of the roof.  If the shingle is older it is likely to crack when this happens. 


Also, as the shingle wears, the asphalt and stone leave the shingle and the shiny fiberglass strands begin to be exposed as the shingle thins from wear.  Whenever you see this, it is most likely that your shingles are on their last leg and you should begin saving for an upcoming replacement.  Your roofing contractor can identify these problems and make the proper recommendations based on the thickness of the shingles for about how many years are left in their expected service life. 


Missing Shingles

It is commonly understood that wind and wind driven rain are the enemy of a roof.  Depending on the age of the roof, when a shingle blows off it may not be possible to weave in new shingles with the old brittle ones and when it is possible, it is highly unlikely to match an old shingle with a new one, even if it is the same brand and color.  If you are able to have it patched up, you’ll see the discoloration just about every time. 


With that said, you can see why many homeowners decide to replace the roof or large sections of the roof when a blow off happens.  Though it is not the end all, be all of what factors that keep a shingle on the roof, manufacturers with a shingle that has a good “pull test” rating are likely a good choice to replace with. If you decide to replace your roof because of missing shingles, make sure you find a contractor that takes the steps necessary to make sure your new shingles die of old age instead of being blown off again in the future and requiring a patch.


Your Neighbors Are Replacing Their Roof

While it may not seem like a big thing at first, you have to think about the houses in your area. If you live in a neighborhood where the houses were built at around the same time, and most of your neighbors have newer roofs,  you might consider following suit.  Most new roofs have what are called dimensional shingles, while most roofs prior to the year 2000 have 3 tab shingles.


When you don’t know the age of your roof, information like this can help you determine whether or not you should repair or replace the roof.  The issues that caused your neighbor to replace their roof may soon be an issue you’ll have to deal with.


The Roof Is Over 20 Years Old 

If you've lived in the home for ten years and it's a 20-year-old home, you need to get your roof checked out by default, especially if you have a 3 tab shingle.  Even though you may not have noticed anything peculiar, things like chimney caps and crowns can deteriorate and things like the rubber around your plumbing vent boots and the tar around chimney’s without counter flashing tend to age out by this time and could already be causing issues.


It’s always best to get a professional with trained eyes to see underlying issues like these when your roof is this old.  They'll notice subtle things that can give you the information you need to decide whether it’s best to repair or replace or at the very least help you find roof problems before they find you. 


Moss Covering Your Shingles

While it might look cool to have that "houseplant effect" on your roof, it's a sign of trouble to come. If it's not too deep into your shingles already, it’s best to find a way to clean the area up. It’s good to brush off the moss because it brings in birds, mice, and other pests you don't want on your roof.  You can also call a professional roof cleaner to deal with the situation for you.


The plant life can ruin roof materials and also decrease the shingles effectiveness. As the growth gets up under the shingle it promotes the shingle to unglue from the one below it.  This can happen simply from moss overgrowth or when the moss freezes and expands.  When this happens the shingle can now lift up and then curl back during a heavy wind. 


It's imperative to look at any issues you see on your roof because they have the potential to cause harm to your house and your family. Getting an early start can help you save money from getting a roof replacement. Call an expert who can see the cause for different roof issues to give you better advice about the situation. 


Related Categories: Roof Damage

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