Replacing a roof is a pricey proposition. Most homeowners can expect their roof to last around 25 years. Before you consider a new roof, it’s important to research your options in both roofing materials and contractors.

Your roof’s lifespan can be extended with proactive maintenance and annual inspections. It’s better to be proactive and look for early signs a roof will need replacing to minimize repair costs and risks of injury or property damage. Proper upkeep of your home helps ensure that it stays in good condition to maximize future resale value, and protects you in the meantime.

Despite knowing the average lifespan of various roof types, you must continue to monitor your roof’s health to know how often to replace your roof. If you’re thinking about having a roof replaced, here are some important points to keep in mind.

Damage to Roof Material

Strong thunderstorms and hurricanes put a lot of strain on roofs. The extremely high winds often cause shingles to lift or fly off completely. Sometimes you can replace a shingle or two, but the potential for repair depends on the missing shingle’s location and the condition of those surrounding it.

When shingles start to curl or buckle, it’s a sign that they’re not longer properly attached and have likely already sustained damage. The curved surface can be caught by a strong wind, leading to further damage next time it storms. In some cases, a qualified roof repair company can replace specific shingles, but the problem can signal a larger problem.

Similar to shingles, if any of the roof’s supporting structure is cracked or missing, it’s an immediate red flag. Proper support is needed to ensure the roof is structurally sound and will not be at risk of collapse.

Time to Replace Your Roof: A Guide for Homeowners

Leaks and Water Damage

Moisture marks, brown, yellow, or grey stains, and peeling paint on walls and/or ceilings could all indicate a damaged, leaking roof. Also take a peek in your attic, where damp rafters or leaks could additionally point to roof damage. Although you are the first line of defense when it comes to spotting roof damage, be aware of your limitations. Call in a roofer for a professional inspection once a year. A basic inspection could save you thousands of dollars in roofing repair costs by spotting minor damage before it turns into a major problem. A trained professional also has the tools and safety techniques to get up on your roof and check for damage.

Sagging is a sign that trapped moisture has rotted away boards under the roof. A droopy, sagging roof is one that surely needs replacing before further damage occurs to your home. Check the surface for signs of trapped moisture, rotting boards, or sagging spots—especially at the lowest points in the roof.

A good way to see this is to stand back from your house, perhaps across the street, and look at it from different angles. A home’s roof should appear straight along its lines, so signs of sagging and slumping should be easily noticeable when it occurs. If your roof is letting water leak into your attic or other areas of your home, this is a surefire sign that you need a new roof.

The Roof Has Outlived its Lifespan

Know how old your existing roof is. Depending on the material, the lifespan of a roof could be between 20 and 50 years, but it varies by the roofing material.

Asphalt shingles tend to last anywhere from 10 to 25 years typically. The state of the shingles’ outer granule layer can also indicate whether it is time for a replacement. If you notice missing granules on several of your shingles, or see granules in your yard or landscaping, this could indicate that your shingles are deteriorating. The most obvious indicator that it may be time to replace your shingle roof is cracks in the shingles. When your roof shingles begin to crack, they lose the protection they once offered from your home. In turn, the next storm or hurricane could allow water to seep into your attic, creating a costly roof leak.
Metal roofs are more expensive but require few repairs and last 30 to 50 years. Metal roofs typically show signs of deterioration when they are reaching the end of their lifespans. You may notice the following signs indicating it is time for a metal roof replacement: rust and corrosion, faded or damaged paint finishes, brittle, flimsy panels, discoloration, and deteriorating fasteners.
Clay tiles can typically last 40 -50 years on average. Keep an eye out for these signs that may indicate you are in need of a roof replacement: cracks in the tiles, leaks in the attic, mold spots, missing tiles, and stains on the tile.

You should know when your roof was installed so that you can estimate the lifespan for your roof. It also depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one layer of shingles, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof.

Signs it's Time to Replace Your Roof

Aging Faster Than it’s Lifespan

Moss, mold and fungi such as mushrooms indicate trapped moisture, can erode the lifespan of a roof. To do away with moss that collects in shaded corners of your roof, use a stiff brush but be careful to address any underlying problems. If obvious moss remains after brushing, contact a professional to get the roof properly inspected.

Poor Insulation/ Energy Bills

Keeping a home cool in southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf coast takes constant energy — sometimes, almost year-round. There are several ways that a good roof can help keep the cool air inside, reducing your energy bills. First, any leaks in the roof can allow air to escape. Second, the color and material of your roof can make a big difference. Lighter colored tiles or reflective surfaces like a metal roof help to reflect the heat of the sun.

While many roofs tend to last for a few decades, at some point they all begin to deteriorate. So if you’ve done your part by having regular inspections performed on your roof, but some damage is beyond a minor fix you need a new roof. If a roofing contractor performs an inspection and finds systemic problems, replacing the roof can be a more cost-effective plan than paying for repeated repairs from damage.

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