knowing when to replace roof

How Do You Know It’s Time to Replace Your Roof?

Know When to Replace Your Roof With This Guide

Your roof is one of the essential features of your home. Not only does it help keep you and your family safe and comfortable no matter the season, but it also helps shield your possessions from the wrath of Mother Nature. For this reason, it’s essential to keep your roof in good health and replace it when repairs are no longer sufficient. 

How do you know when it’s time for a replacement? Typically, roofs have a lifespan indicated by the quality of the shingles or other roofing materials used, and you can get a good idea about when it’s time for a replacement based on the date of installation—most roofs tend to last 20 or 30 years as a general guideline. However, if you purchased the home since the roof was installed, it may be necessary to rely on other signs your roof may need to be replaced. 

Fortunately, Red Owl Roofing has compiled a guide to roof replacement, including three significant signs you need to replace your roof.

Sign #1—Visible Roof Aging

One of the best ways to determine whether your roof needs replacement is to assess its visible condition. Over time, regular wear and tear, weather damage, and unusual events can deteriorate your roof so that while it continues to keep out the elements, ongoing damage will become increasingly apparent over the years. Most of these visual cues to the condition of your roof are readily observable from the ground; however, if you feel you need a closer inspection, contact a professional who can do so safely and without causing damage.

Common visible signs of aging include:

  • Discolored shingles. Over the years, UV exposure and weathering can alter the color of your shingles, a sure sign your roof may be past its prime.
  • Warped shingles. Upon installation, shingles are flat to the roof, with no visible curled edges to collect rainwater or catch in the wind. Over time, however, shingles can warp and become less effective and more susceptible to the elements—look for an overall wavy roof surface, or curled, cupped, or ragged edges on your shingles.
  • Cracked shingles. Over time, UV exposure can cause shingles to become brittle and crack, which alters your shingles’ ability to protect your roof decking and home from water intrusion.
  • Balding shingles. The surface of your shingles is covered with a granular coating designed to protect the shingles from drying and cracking due to UV exposure. If the coating is worn away, your shingles are more susceptible to UV and weather damage.
  • Dark patches or streaks. While UV discoloration typically results in lightened shingles, lichen and algae growth can lead to darker streaks on your roof. These pests can damage the granular layer of your shingles and speed deterioration. If you notice lichen, schedule a professional cleaning and inspection to determine the extent of the damage.
  • Moss growth. Like lichen and algae, moss growth can harm shingle granules. However, moss roots are much larger than lichen and can cause more extensive damage to your shingles. Also, moss can retain water and further damage your roof.
  • Time since installation. If you know your current roof’s installation date, you can get a good idea regarding whether the above damage requires repair or replacement. Properly installed, quality asphalt shingles can last for 30 years or more. However, exposure to Mother Nature or improper installation can take a drastic toll and cause your roof to lose its protective value before the end of its lifespan.
  • Sign #2—Storm Damage

    As mentioned, your roof is the primary means by which you protect your family and possessions against the elements. As a result, your roof absorbs the brunt of the damage during storm events like tornadoes, hurricanes, heavy winds and rain, hail, and more. In addition, the large surface area of your roof makes it even more susceptible to damage, making it crucial to inspect your home’s roof after a storm.

    If you experience any of these weather events, conduct an inspection:

  • Hurricanes or tornadoes. While tornadoes can produce circulating winds of over 200 mph, even a minor tornado, producing winds of over 72 mph, can damage a roof. Similarly, hurricanes and tropical storms, while inland, can produce sustained winds of 40 mph or more. Such winds can produce damage by removing shingles and decking or causing other objects like tree limbs to puncture the roof.
  • Straight-line winds. Unlike tornadoes, straight-line winds blow in a single direction and are considered damaging at speeds over 50 mph. Straight-line winds can remove shingles altogether, leaving your home vulnerable to the elements. Alternatively, heavy winds can cause shingles to curl or break, which can allow moisture into your home.
  • Hail. Hailstones of any size can cause pitting, cracking, and granule loss, while severe hail can break shingles and damage gutters and flashing. The most severe hailstorms can break through the decking and cause damage to the interior of your home. In all three cases, your home is vulnerable to moisture infiltration and damage.
  • Sign #3—Water Intrusion

    While storm activity is a common cause of water infiltrating your home, other water damage occurs gradually, over time. In general, any sign of water damage to the interior of your home or inside your attic should mean an immediate roof inspection. If your roof is allowing water to seep inside your home due to excessive aging or storm damage, structural damage to your roof, water damage to your insulation and drywall, and potential mold and mildew growth are likely not far behind.

    Unfortunately, while visible water damage is often readily apparent, it’s usually a bit more challenging to isolate the source of the leak. For example, water can travel from a puncture near the peak of your roof and damage the drywall at the edge of your home.

    Next time you experience heavy rainfall, inspect your attic and look for:

    • Dark patches in the wood of your roof decking
    • Moldy or otherwise deteriorated insulation
    • Deterioration or moisture near any skylights, vents, or chimneys

    Contact a Trusted Roofing Contractor

    If you notice any of the above signs of deterioration—or after a hail or windstorm—contact a professional Austin roofing contractor to inspect your roof and help you determine if repair or replacement is the right solution for you. A professional can safely navigate your roof and isolate problem areas not visible from a ground level or novice inspection. Completing this assessment as soon as possible can help you address current issues and prevent additional damage to your home. 

Red Owl Roofing is a Certified Contractor with over 35 years of roofing experience in Central Texas. Contact us today to schedule a roofing inspection and find out how a 50-year warranty can add value to your home.