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How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?

Pitched roof on a home
How often should a roof be replaced?

When you check the forecast and see rain is headed your way, do you strategically place buckets and pans throughout the house? If so, there’s no question about your roof issues. If your shingles can be repaired, that’s great. But how often should you replace your roof?

Picture this: You’re cozied up on your couch, enjoying a movie night with your loved ones, when suddenly, you hear a loud dripping sound. At first, you think it’s just the sound of rain outside, but as you look up, you notice a water stain spreading across your ceiling. Panic sets in as you realize the roof over your head has failed, and you’re left wondering what could happen next.

A roof is an essential home component, yet it’s often taken for granted. It’s the first line of defense against the elements, protecting your home from rain, snow, hail, and wind. But what happens when it fails? The consequences can be catastrophic.

For starters, a leaky roof can cause extensive water damage to your home’s structure, including ceilings, walls, and floors. It can also damage your furniture, electronics, and personal items. The dampness can create a breeding ground for mold, harming your health.

Furthermore, a damaged roof can compromise your home’s structural integrity, making it unsafe. It can weaken the foundation and cause the walls to shift, leading to potential collapse. In severe cases, a damaged roof can even result in a total loss of your home.

So, it’s safe to say that a roof is more than just a cover for your home. It’s a critical component that ensures your safety, protects your investment, and maintains the structural integrity of your house. Don’t wait until it’s too late; ensure your roof is in top-notch condition to avoid potential disasters.

Determine your Roof’s Age: The Most Important Factor


If you know the age of your roof, you are way ahead of many homeowners. Records from when a roof was replaced are often lost, leaving a homeowner guessing. Most roofs won’t last beyond 20 years of service, which is a decent baseline. If your roof has reached two decades old, it’s time to consider replacing it.

A surefire way to test the age of a roof and whether it needs replacing is to look at the metal on the top. Vents, attic fans, and chimney flashing will all show age and were likely replaced the last time the roof was overhauled. Rusty spots are a sign of age and exposure.

Knowing the age of your home’s roof is crucial for planning maintenance, repairs, or replacement. But what if you’ve recently moved in and the previous owners didn’t provide that information? Fortunately, there are several indicators you can look for to estimate your roof’s age and assess its condition. 

Signs of an Aging Roof:

  1. Shingles: Look for signs of curling, cracking, or missing shingles. Over time, shingles deteriorate due to weather exposure and aging materials.
  2. Granule Loss: Check if your gutters and downspouts have excessive granule buildup, indicating shingle wear and aging.
  3. Sagging or Drooping: A sagging roof may indicate structural issues caused by water damage or aging materials.

Best Ways to Check Roof Age:

  1. Consult Professionals: Contact a licensed roofing contractor or home inspector who can assess the roof’s condition and estimate its age based on visible signs and their expertise.
  2. Building Permits: Check with local authorities for building permit records, which often include information on roof installations or replacements.

Safety Considerations: Inspecting a roof can be dangerous, so exercise caution:

  1. Prioritize Safety: If you’re uncomfortable with heights, lack proper equipment, or have no experience, it’s best to hire a professional roofer.
  2. Ground-Level Inspection: Assess the roof from the ground using binoculars to look for visible signs of damage, such as missing shingles or sagging sections.
  3. Attic Inspection: Examine the underside of the roof in your attic for signs of leaks, water damage, or deteriorated materials.

Conclusion: While determining the exact age of a roof without documentation can be challenging, understanding the signs of an aging roof can help you estimate its lifespan. Consult a professional who can provide a more accurate assessment when in doubt. Safety should always be a priority, so if you’re uncertain or uncomfortable with roof inspections, it’s advisable to hire a licensed roofer who can conduct a thorough examination. By staying proactive and maintaining your roof, you can extend its lifespan and ensure the protection and longevity of your home.

What to Look for When Surveying Your Roof

Curling Shingles

Curled shingles tell you that your roof has seen better days. The edges of shingles will eventually curl up, a natural occurrence with an older roof. What curls a shingle is UV light. When the protected coating of granules on a shingle wears away, the sun can penetrate and dry it out. You can look for loose granules near your downspouts or in your gutter that will tell you that your roof is showing some age and that dry shingles aren’t far off.

Your insurance company will love you if you have a newer roof, which is another great reason to ensure it’s up to date. If there is a house inspection and curling can be easily seen from the ground, it will be hard to secure a new homeowners insurance policy–or pass a house inspection if you’re trying to sell it.

Tab Adhesion

Aging drying shingles will cause poor tab adhesion and can cause quite a bit of damage to the roof and interior during even a minor windstorm. Winds can lift and snap off dry shingles exposing the nail heads underneath, which are an entry point for water. If you can lift a shingle past the adhesion tab, you know it’s dried out and needs a roof replacement.

Branches Near The Roof are a Problem

If you have tree limbs close to the roof, they will inevitably make contact when winds pick up. That contact can wear on your shingles and shorten the life of your roof. Those same branches can increase rodent traffic to and inside your home. Look at areas where you see branches close to your roof for signs of wear, then trim them back to preserve what life your shingles have left or ready for new ones.


If there is any debris from trees on the roof, branches, pine needles, or leaves, it will become acidic as it breaks down, speeding up the aging process for your shingles. So, any valleys or areas where debris might get stuck should be cleared often, or those areas could degrade faster than the rest of the roof. If you like a roof-top garden, make sure it’s not the type that will cause you headaches and roof leaks!

Avoid the Bucket Brigade: Fix or Replace Your Roof

It has gone unnoticed for years, yet a roof’s importance is paramount to the life of your entire home. Spring storms are coming; look up and see what shape your roof is in, and avoid the bucket brigade showing up when you least expect it.

If you are thinking of selling your home, a new roof may be one of the most important upgrades you can do to your do for a quick sale. Potential buyers will love knowing they have many years before needing to worry.  Talk to one of our experienced realtors today so we can help you make the right decision.

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2 Responses to “How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?”

  • You made an interesting point when you talked about how looking at the metal on a roof can tell how old it is. In addition to that, it might be a good idea to have a professional inspect your roof before you make a big decision. If you want to replace your roof, it would be important to make sure that know that you actually need to do that.

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