The roof over your head is one of the most important aspects of your home. It provides protection from the elements, shelter from the weather and safety and security to you and your family.
Despite the importance of its functionality, roofs aren’t always top of mind to homeowners when it comes to maintenance and improvements. Roofs are often treated as a constant that’s just there, much like the foundation of your home. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.
Much like performing routine maintenance on your car, though, being in-tune with the state of your roof and recognizing the telltale signs that it’s time to replace your roof is important to the structural integrity of your home, inside and out.
Being proactive about your roof and replacing it before it’s too late will save you money in the long run, and will give you the peace of mind that your family and your possessions are being protected from above.
But what are the signs that your roof needs some work? And when does it make more sense to replace your roof rather than repair it?
The longevity of your roof greatly depends on the roofing material it’s made from, with asphalt shingle roofing typically requiring replacement every 15 to 20 years. However, higher-quality options such as 30 or 40-year shingles can extend this timeline significantly.
As your roof approaches the end of its expected lifespan, it’s crucial to begin annual regular roof inspections.
The roof inspection helps identify signs of wear and tear, including a curled or missing shingle, deteriorating flashings, or shingle granules collecting in gutters, signaling the need for replacement.
In addition to the age factor, other circumstances, such as severe weather damage or persistent leaks, can also warrant a sooner roof replacement. The ultimate decision should be guided by professional advice, ensuring your home’s longevity and structural integrity.
The first step is to recognize the signs that you need a roof repair, if not replaced entirely. While you may not be a roofing expert, there are easy ways you can identify that your roof needs some attention.
Some of these signs include:
A telltale sign that your entire roof needs to be replaced is that it’s leaking. That may seem obvious, but many people believe that if a roof is leaking, it can be repaired. By contrast, if your roof is leaking, it means you have likely already waited too long to address the issues that led to the roof leak in the first place.
The signs listed above are all things that occur before a roof begins to leak. In almost every instance, if you have a leaky roof, it’s because there’s an underlying problem that was never addressed, which has now resulted in water seeping through the shingles and into your home.
Unlike the other signs of a damaged roof, leakage can’t easily be identified from looking at the roof from above. Instead, in most cases, you will be able to identify a leak by looking up at your ceilings. If wet spots have formed, there’s a leak in your roof.
At this point, it’s essential that you act fast to fix the problem before it causes even more structural damage to your home than it may have already caused. When a roof leaks, water seeps into your home, soaking into insulation and down inside walls and ceilings.
The scary part about roof leaks are that often times, you won’t be able to see all the damage that has occurred. While the soaked roof ceiling should be easy to spot – as is any water physically dripping down from above in plain sight – it isn’t always apparent if water has begun to seep into walls or other areas as wet spots won’t always appear right away.
Unfortunately, while you may want to investigate how you can repair your roof if it is leaking, it is advisable to replace the roof entirely if it has gotten to this stage. Leaking often results in damage to drywall, floorboards and other structural parts of the home, which can require extensive repair work.
For example, replacing damaged plywood under shingles could cost anywhere from $50 to $65 per sheet. If you wait too long to replace your roof and 10 sheets need to be replaced, this alone cost $500 to $650 on top of the cost of doing your roof.
That’s why it’s important to keep on top of the health of your roof throughout its life cycle to prevent leaks from happening at all.
One of the first questions most people ask when there is an issue with their roof is: can I repair my roof, or should I replace it? The answer isn’t always simple and straightforward. Whether it’s OK to repair your roof will depend on the damage the roof has sustained, how big of an area is damaged, the age of the roof and the cost comparison between repairing and replacing.
Even simple repair jobs that address localized, minimally-damaged issues can be expensive, costing several hundred dollars in materials and labor at the least, and into the thousands of dollars if the problem is bigger. While replacing the roof entirely will be a substantial cost outlay, it’s more of an investment into your home than it is a sunken cost.
The easiest area to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace a roof is its age. An asphalt roof should last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, depending on weather conditions and how on top of maintenance you are. If your roof is experiencing any of the telltale signs mentioned above, you’ll want to think long and hard about how old your roof is before making a decision to repair instead of replace.
Most people begin to think about replacing their old roof when it hits the 20-year benchmark. But as we discussed above, that’s often too late. If your roof is 15 years old or older, it’s best to strongly consider replacing the roof entirely instead of repairing the damage.
Repairs to an older roof of this age are often only Band-Aid solutions. Because your existing roof will need to be replaced altogether in the near future anyway, it’s more advisable from both a cost and safety standpoint to replace it now instead of waiting.
Going the repair route will cost you money that could go toward the roof replacement. And, because the roof is already beginning to deteriorate, it’s best to get ahead of any potential bigger problems before they could cause significant damage to other parts of your home.
By replacing your roof, you will be addressing the issues completely, and protecting your home for years to come.
The key to protecting your home and the people and possessions inside it is to be proactive about roof replacement. Homeowners will often try to stretch the age of their roofs well past the expected and suggested lifespan, not recognizing the telltale signs that a roof needs attention and not making necessary repairs or full replacement until significant visible damage has already been done.
By educating yourself about the signs of roof damage and deterioration – and by being proactive about replacing your roof before it’s too late – you’ll actually save yourself money and bigger headaches in the long run. Too many homeowners wait until their roof is actually leaking before they pull the trigger on replacing it, which often results in major damage to insulation, drywall, ceilings and floorboards and potentially other serious structural issues.
Pay attention to the signs that your roof needs attention, and replace it before it’s too late. By being proactive, you’ll be protecting the safety and security of your home and your family.