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How to Know When You Need A New Roof

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 you’ve got issues with your roof. If your shingles can be repaired that’s great, but if not, it’s time to consider a new roof.

Your roof’s job is to keep what’s outside out and can keep the interior of your house as strong and stable as the day it was built. When your roof falls down on the job, it will wreak havoc with water damage and mold. If you aren’t experiencing obvious signs that you’ve got a problem like with the bucket brigade, how can you tell if you need a new roof?

Determine your Roof’s Age

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

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

From the ground– or better yet if you are capable– get up on the roof to check for the visible signs of aging.  If you are unsure always contact a professional.


What to Look for

Curling Shingles

Curled shingles tell you that your roof has seen better days. The edges of shingles will eventually curl up which is 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 it 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 make sure it’s up to date. If there is a house inspection and curling can be easily be seen from the ground, it will be hard to secure a new home-owners insurance policy.

Tab Adhesion

Aging drying shingles will cause poor tab adhesion and that can cause quite a bit of damage both 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 up past the adhesion tab, then you know it’s dried out and in need of replacing.

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

It goes unnoticed for years, yet its 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 this spring.



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2 Responses to “How to Know When You Need A New 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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