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6 Signs You Need to Replace Your Asphalt Roof

March 11th, 2024 | 7 min. read

6 Signs You Need to Replace Your Asphalt Roof

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A roof replacement is the only solution for an asphalt roof at the end of its lifespan. The problem is that it’s hard to keep track of your roof’s age if you weren’t around when it was originally installed.

Unfortunately, this leads to many homeowners waiting too long for a replacement. Even worse, they only realize they need a new roof after roof leaks caused damage to their home’s interior. 

So, how are you supposed to know when to replace your asphalt roof to prevent leaks? 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has taken pride in providing transparent and honest roofing advice. Because of this, I want to help you identify the signs that it's time for an asphalt roof replacement. 

This article breaks down the following six signs you need to replace your asphalt roof:

  • Continuous roof leaks
  • Curling and cracked shingles
  • Finding loose granules
  • Vegetation growth
  • Premature roof failure
  • Storm damage

1. Your asphalt roof continuously leaks

The first way to tell if you need to replace your asphalt roof is when it has continuous leaks, especially if it’s older. This is usually caused by improper installation or the shingles have reached their maximum lifespan.

old 3 tab asphalt shingle roof that needs to be replaced(Old 3-tab asphalt shingle roof that needs to be replaced)

If your asphalt roof is 20-25 years old, it’s simply time for a replacement because the materials have maxed out. However, your asphalt roof doesn’t need to be at the end of its lifespan to experience constant leaks. 

This usually means there are bigger problems that can only be fixed by getting a replacement. Now, you don’t need to replace your asphalt roof for leaks caused by something as simple as nail pops or a cracked pipe boot

There are even situations where the same leak is hard to find and repair. However, you won’t know what your roof actually needs until you get a roof inspection

2. The asphalt shingles are curling and cracking

Curling and cracked shingles are indicators that your asphalt roof has reached the end of its lifespan. If they reach this point, the shingles are no longer effective and starting to deteriorate. 

cracked asphalt shingles that need to be replaced

Cracking and curling can also be a sign of trapped heat damaging the shingles caused by poor attic ventilation. An improperly ventilated attic dramatically shortens an asphalt roof’s lifespan, leading to a replacement way before you should need one. 

No matter the cause, once your asphalt shingles start showing this sign, you'll need to get a replacement.

3. Finding loose granules 

Granules are pieces of asphalt embedded in shingles for fire resistance, color, and UV ray protection. They are crucial to the longevity of your asphalt roof, and losing them is a huge sign that you need to replace it.

asphalt granules in the gutters and on the ground

When it gets bad enough, you’ll find loose granules in gutters or on the ground around downspouts. Just know that losing granules is natural as your asphalt roof ages through wear and tear.

However, hail damage also leads to granule loss, so you may actually have an insurance claim if you notice this sign after a big storm. But no matter the situation, finding loose granules is a huge sign that it’s time for an asphalt roof replacement. 

4. Vegetation growth on the asphalt shingles

Moss or other vegetation growing on your roof is a sign that your asphalt roof is getting older, and it’s time to start considering a replacement. You may not need a roof replacement immediately, but moss on your asphalt shingles damages them. 

moss growing on asphalt shingle roofs

So, if you have an older roof with moss or other greenery growth, you need to start budgeting for a new roof. You may also see black streaks on your asphalt roof caused by algae. 

Algae will grow on a 10-15-year-old roof, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be replaced. You can actually clean algae off your roof, but do your research, avoid power washing, and hire a professional roof cleaning company.

5. Your asphalt roof fails prematurely  

The signs we’ve already covered involve identifying an older asphalt roof that needs to be replaced. However, there are plenty of cases of asphalt roofs failing prematurely, leading to a roof replacement well before you need one.

improperly installed asphalt shingle roof

Improper roof installation and inadequate attic ventilation are two of the most common causes of premature roof failure. An improperly installed roof will never last as long as it should and comes with plenty of costly problems. 

If your attic isn’t properly ventilated, damage from the trapped heat and cold dramatically shorten your roof’s life. Unfortunately, both these issues are way too common in the roofing industry. 

Even worse, improper installation and inadequate attic ventilation void the manufacturer’s warranty on your asphalt shingles.

6. Your asphalt roof has storm damage

Just like hail damage leads to the granule loss sign, storm damage from hail and/or wind is another sign you need to replace your asphalt roof. It’s easy to identify wind damage because there will be missing shingles or whole sections off the roof. 

missing 3-tab asphalt shingles from wind damage

In extreme circumstances, strong winds can cause a tree or tree limbs to fall on your roof. On the other hand, hail damage is tougher to spot

hail damage to architectural asphalt shingles

If the hail was big enough to damage your roof, you’ll see dents or bruises (around 1” in diameter) on your asphalt shingles. However, I never recommend risking your safety if you’re not 100% confident on a ladder. 

Instead, you should look for collateral damage for things around your property:

  • Dents on gutters and downspouts above 5’
  • Dents or strikes on your garage door
  • Holes in your window screens 
  • Dings to any painted wood or shutters 
  • Splatter marks or dings to your electric meter, AC unit, or grill 
  • Dents to your mailbox and other soft metals on your property

If your asphalt roof has storm damage, you’ll most likely need a new one. Luckily, your homeowners insurance will pay for most or all of your roof replacement if you have a viable claim.

What do you need to consider before replacing your asphalt roof?

Now you know the 6 signs that you need to replace your asphalt roof. Remember, you won’t truly know if your asphalt roof needs to be replaced until it’s inspected. 

But if your roof shows any signs mentioned here, you need to start preparing for your new roof investment. The problem is you can’t prepare without knowing the budget you need, the decisions you’ll make, and more. 

This lack of information is one of the main reasons homeowners get taken advantage of by bad roofers. I don’t want this to happen to you. 

That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the seven things every homeowner needs to consider before starting the roof replacement process. 

Check out 7 Things to Consider Before a Roof Replacement to help you prepare for your upcoming roof replacement.

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