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When is it Time to Re-roof? How to Spot a Failing Roof Before Your House Is Damaged

Replacing your roof is a major project, but if you let a damaged roof go for too long, the consequences can be much more severe than the cost of replacing the roof would have been. Don’t miss the signs of a roof that needs to be replaced, and learn what to recognize as dangerous.

Sagging Spots

Areas of the roof that appear to be sagging are a critical sign that your roof may need repair. If you see a spot on your roof that you think is sagging, do not attempt to walk on that area. Sagging can have several causes, none of which can be fixed simply. Ceiling joists join the walls of buildings together and support the weight of the roof. If time, weather, rot, or something else has caused damage to one or more of these joists, they can begin to slip or buckle, causing the roof above it to sag.

Sagging Roof

Another sagging problem connected to ceiling joists is improper placement. Ceiling joists are always supposed to be placed in parallel; if they are not parallel, gaps can form where the roof does not have enough support.

Too much weight can lead to sagging as well. If your roof has a heavier type of shingles, such as tile, but was not constructed with joists or rafters strong enough to support that type of roof material, it will begin to sag. Snow, pools of water, or debris can also cause your roof to sag because of the added weight.

Weather can cause some of the problems mentioned above. Heavy rains and snows can add weight to your roof or cause water to leak into the rafter, which will eventually rot. Strong winds may deposit debris on the roof. The sun’s rays will cause damage to your roof over time.

Other Warning Signs

Mossy Roof

Moss can cause enough damage to your roof that it could need to be replaced. If there are obvious patches of moss on your roof, it is a good sign to do a more thorough inspection, both for damage caused by the moss and possible water damage, as moss growth is encouraged by wet wood. If the moss has not yet caused damage to the roof, a commercial moss remover may do the trick.

Over time, the shingles on your roof will get worn down. Small areas or single shingles can simply be replaced by themselves, but if most of the shingles on your roof appear to be cracked, curling, or generally worn, it may be time to replace your roof. Bald spots on your roof where most of the protective granules embedded in the shingles have been worn away are another sign.

If you notice a sudden uptick of other people in your neighborhood replacing their roofs, that’s a good sign to take a hard look at yours. Generally, home built in the same area were built around the same time, so it makes sense that when your neighbor needs a new roof, you likely do, too.

Old Age

Roofs can have a widely varied life span depending upon the materials used as well as the climate, the quality of the installation, and how well it is maintained. The largest factor is the roofing material:

  • Asphalt shingles last 20 to 40 years.
  • Fiberglass shingles can last over 50 years.
  • Wood shingles or shakes last around 30 years.
  • Steel roofing can last more than 50 years.
  • Copper roofing lasts more than 100 years if maintained.
  • Clay tile lasts 40 to 60 years.
  • Slate and concrete tile last anywhere between 50 to 100 years.
  • Flat roofs can last from 10 years (asphalt covering) to 50 years (rubber roofing or thermoplastic olefin membrane).

Recognizing the signs of roof damage before it becomes severe can save you money. Keep an eye out for damaged shingles or tiles, and if you have any questions call Mr. Roof.

Featured image source: changes made to original