Replacing your roof at the right time saves you from costly home repairs. Unfortunately, your roof doesn’t hold up a sign saying, “It’s time to replace me!”.
So, how are you supposed to know when your roof needs to be replaced? That comes down to knowing what signs to be on the lookout for.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand what their roof is trying to tell them. Because of this, I’ll break down the 6 signs that your roof needs to be replaced.
This article covers the following signs that time it’s time for a new roof:
You have an older roof that’s leaking
Cracked, curling, or missing asphalt shingles
Vegetation growing on your roof
Finding asphalt shingle granules on the ground or gutters
Noticing rot or discoloration on the decking in your attic
Other houses in your neighborhood are getting new roofs
1. You have an older roof that’s leaking
The first sign that your roof needs to be replaced is if it’s older than 15 years and it’s leaking. However, an older roof doesn’t need to be replaced just because there’s an active leak.
Doing this ensures you’ll learn if the roof leak is really a sign that it’s time for a roof replacement or if you simply need repairs.
2. Cracked, curling, or missing asphalt shingles
The next sign your roof needs to be replaced is if your shingles are cracked, curling, or missing altogether. Curling and cracked shingles are a clear sign that your roof has reached the end of its lifespan.
When a roof shows signs that it has reached the end of its life, there’s nothing left to do but replace it. Unfortunately, you may not be able to spot this sign without getting on your roof.
On the other hand, missing asphalt shingles are more obvious and easier to spot. Depending on how many shingles are ripped off, it could lead to a roof replacement.
Just know you have a viable insurance claim if wind damage caused the missing shingles. However, improper installation is also a big cause of missing shingles, which leaves you with no recourse unless your workmanship warranty is in effect.
3. Vegetation growing on your roof
The next sign that your roof needs to be replaced is when you see vegetation growing on it.Moss or other vegetation growing on your roof is a sign it’s time to start considering a replacement, especially if you have an older roof.
(Left: algae streaks; right: moss growth)
You may also have some black streaks on your roof caused by algae. While algae will grow on a 10 to 15-year-old roof, it doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be replaced.
In fact, you can clean algae off your roof. But do your research and hire a professional roof cleaning company that knows how to soft wash.
4. Finding asphalt shingle granules on the ground or gutters
Granules are crucial to the longevity of an asphalt roof. They are pieces of asphalt embedded in shingles for fire resistance, color, and UV ray protection.
(Loose granules in gutter)
Because of this, losing them is a huge sign that it’s time to replace your roof. You’ll notice this sign when you find loose granules in gutters or on the ground around downspouts.
So, you might actually have an insurance claim if you notice loose granules after a big storm. But no matter the situation, finding loose granules is a huge sign that it’s time to start budgeting for a new roof.
5. Noticing rot or discoloration on the decking in your attic
Roof decking is the wooden foundation that makes up your roof system. Your roof needs a solid deck so the roofing material and other roofing components can be installed properly.
When your roof decking’s integrity is compromised, it can lead to mildew, mold, and structural damage from the weight of your roof. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to spot compromised decking without tearing off your old roof first.
However, seeing rotten or discolored decking in your attic is a sign you need a new roof or, at the very least, extensive and expensive repairs. If you notice rotting or discoloration, water got underneath your roofing materials and soaked all the way through the wood.
This could be from water getting underneath something, improper installation, or the roofing materials have maxed out to the point they aren’t functioning correctly. If it’s widespread and left to sit, you could have your roof cave in when the weight gets to be too much.
6. Other houses in your neighborhood are getting new roofs
The last sign that your roof needs to be replaced is when other houses in your neighborhood are getting new roofs. This is especially true if the homes in your neighborhood were all built around the same time.
This obviously won’t apply to you if your neighborhood is much older or the houses were built at different times. However, potential storm damage is another reason you should pay attention to if other homes in your neighborhood are getting a new roof.
(Left: hail damage; right: wind damage)
If your neighbors are getting their roofs replaced after a strong thunderstorm with hail or straight-line winds, they had a viable insurance claim. While there’s no guarantee that your roof specifically has damage too, you should contact a roofer and your insurance company for an assessment.
What do you need to consider when replacing your roof?
Now you know 6 common signs that your roof needs to be replaced. If you have any of the signs (or even multiple), you’re ready to reach out to a local roofing contractor for a roof inspection to start the process.
But before picking up the phone or hitting that “Request an Estimate” button, there are things you need to consider when getting a new roof. These considerations help you make the right decisions, avoid being taken advantage of, and prepare you to meet with a roofing contractor before they set foot on your property.