Resistance Exteriors

14 Signs You Need a Roof Replacement

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Did you know roof replacements are 90% of the U.S. roofing market? Many roofs reach the natural end of their lifespans each year. Some roof replacements come sooner than expected, however.

How can you tell if your roof needs replacing? When should you call a roof replacement company? Are there ways you can prevent premature roofing replacement in the future?

This inclusive guide answers all these questions and more. Read on for 14 warning signs of roof replacement, plus tips for keeping your routine roof care and maintenance on point.

1. Roof Age

The main driver of roof replacement is age. Roofs have average lifespans.  They need regular maintenance and replacement from wear and tear, just like car parts and major appliances.

There are many factors for a roof’s lifespan:

  • Material type
  • Slope and design
  • Climate and weather
  • Direct sunlight exposure
  • Shade and debris
  • Mold and pest infestations
  • Attic ventilation
  • Roof accessories
  • Gutter and runoff systems
  • Workmanship quality
  • Roof maintenance

Material type is usually the biggest influence. It determines the expected length of time a roof will last, barring a tornado ripping it off or similar disasters.

Although it varies by quality, the average lifespan for roofing materials is:

  • Asphalt shingles: 10-20 years
  • Architectural shingles: 15-30 years
  • Wood shakes/shingles: 20-30 years
  • Built-up roof (BUR): 20-30 years
  • Ribbed metal: 25-50 years
  • Seamed metal: 50 years
  • Clay: 50-100 years
  • Slate: +100 years

Roof care ensures you get the most from your roof’s lifespan. Routine roof maintenance should be performed every 1-2 years at a minimum. Like your own routine healthcare, it helps spot minor issues and prevents many major issues from developing.

2. Water Buildup

Some temporary water buildup is normal. Water shouldn’t linger too long on your roof, however, as it will cause long-term damage. It can even be a sign your roof already needs replacement.

Roof ponding is another potential red flag. Ponding refers to stagnant water persisting for longer than 48 hours.

This issue mostly applies to flat roofs, but water buildup can be an issue for any roof type that has:

  • Sagging areas
  • Inadequate water runoff
  • Clogged gutters
  • Improper slope design
  • Faulty flashing
  • Poor installation

You may not see any interior water damage yet. If you notice water buildup that isn’t evaporating from your roof as it should, however, it’s time to dial a roofing company.

3. Leaks and Drips

It seems obvious leaking water would come from your roof. Leaks and drips can come from many culprits, however:

  • Leaky or burst pipes
  • HVAC units
  • Clogged or broken gutters
  • Excess condensation
  • Faulty appliances
  • Backed up drains
  • Clogged sump pumps

The leak’s origin may be difficult to determine. Water can travel surprisingly far from its source before it starts causing damage.

Do you suspect your roof is the main culprit? A roofing company can do a quick inspection and help you find the source of the leak, or help you rule it out as the sneaky leak source.

4. Interior Water Damage

You may not notice anything wrong with your home’s exterior. However, your home’s interior might tell a different tale.

Tell-tale signs of water damage include:

  • Discolored stains on walls and ceilings
  • Soft or crumbling wall
  • Musty damp smells
  • Mold and mildew areas
  • Warped paint and wallpaper
  • Dripping or running water
  • Damp and/or musty carpet

All these signs are bad news. Schedule professional services ASAP to locate the rogue water source.

The damage will grow exponentially worse and more expensive the longer it goes unfixed. Even a total roof replacement is easier than dealing with extensive damage to your carpet, walls, ceilings, and furniture. 

5. Sagging Areas

A sagging roof is both a relief and a red flag. It’s a relief because it means your roof didn’t immediately collapse on anyone’s head. It’s a red flag because it means your roof is well on its way to collapsing.

There are many causes of sagging roofs:

  • Excess age deterioration
  • Excess weight
  • Water damage
  • Rot or pest damage
  • Structural damage
  • Supporting structure flaws
  • Installation and design flaws

It’s critical to replace your roof when its lifespan is up. Your roof also needs adequate support and water runoff to withstand weight and weather.

If termites or decay start chewing up your structural support, even a healthy and well-maintained roof will sag. Shoddy workmanship and design flaws can also droop your otherwise well-maintained roof.

It can be difficult for the average layperson to pin down the exact cause of roof sagging. A reputable roofing company can go over the sagging areas and figure out the root cause of your roof woes. 

6. Plants and Fungus

Moss may add a charming Storybrook England touch, but it’s actually a sign your roof’s health is on the fritz. Fungi and plant growth can be a warning signal of roof replacement service.

Along with moss, you may see signs of:

  • Algae
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Lichens

These opportunistic organisms thrive in moisture and shade. They also hold in more moisture of their own. Most of this growth is easy to spot with your eyeballs:

  • Moss: Bright green fuzzy growth
  • Algae: Dark black and green streaks and splotches
  • Mold: Dark green, black, or red fuzz
  • Mildew: Gray, white, and brown powder that turns dark
  • Lichens: Green, blue, and white circles and splotches

You may not be able to see certain growth areas from the ground, however, especially if they slide underneath your shingles and other roof components.

These organisms indicate it’s time to call for professional roofing services. As they grow, they cause decay and damage to your shingles and other roof structures.

Too much plant and fungus matter can also add a surprising amount of weight to your roof and cause sagging. Regular roof cleaning is the best prevention. 

7. Missing or Damaged Shingles

If your roof uses shingles, even the tiniest flaws can mean big trouble. Just a missing shingle or two can open up your roof to leaks, pests, and fungi matter.

Along with missing patches, keep an eye out for shingles that are:

  • Cracked
  • Blistered
  • Bent
  • Peeling
  • Brittle
  • Curling
  • Displaced
  • Torn
  • Buckling

Once your shingles stop laying flat, they expose your roof’s underlayment. Underlayment is a critical protection layer against any moisture that gets under your shingles.

Underlayments aren’t generally designed for direct contact with sunlight, wind, and precipitation. Some underlayment materials can only take a mere 1-2 weeks of exposure before sustaining damage.

If shingle problems persist too long, your whole roof might end up needing roof replacement services. It’s much cheaper and easier to replace or repair shingles through regular roof care.

8. Shingle Granules

Your shingles can lay so flat and straight that a computer analysis wouldn’t find any fault. You can still have shingle issues, however, of a more subtle type.

Shingle granules are tiny pebble and sand-like elements embedded in your shingles. They add:

  • Durability
  • Fire resistance
  • Water and moisture resistance
  • Impact resistance
  • UV protection

Granule loss can give shingles a “balding” look you may not initially spot from afar. You can unexpectedly find them in gutters or on the ground, however. Granules can even cause your gutters to clog.

It’s also an accelerating cycle where every wayward granule further increases the rate of loss and deterioration. Your roof becomes more and more vulnerable as this loss goes on.

Balding shingles can be a sign your roof’s lifespan is up, or that you may have extensive weather and debris damage. Either way, wandering granules are a sign of professional roofing services to come.

9. Roof Component Issues

It’s not just shingles that need regular checkups, although they’re much easier to inspect. Other critical roof components include:

  • Flashing
  • Gutter aprons
  • Soffits
  • Chimney crickets
  • Skylights
  • Fascias
  • Abutments
  • Vent and pipe boots
  • Roof dormers

These components are part of the overall design and function of your roof. However, they also create potential weak links in your roof integrity.

Even a small issue that goes on for too long can result in major damage and unforeseen roof replacement.

A damaged vent boot, for example, can allow water and pests to creep in around your vent piping. Improper weather sealing around a skylight can create leaks and moisture seepage into your home’s interior.

Does your roof seem healthy but still have weatherproofing issues? A professional roofing service will inspect all your roof components for the stealthy problems even the handiest DIYers can miss. 

10. Damaged Flashing

Flashing is another critical roof component used to protect the other roof components. Damaged or missing flashing can quickly take your roof’s health down to zero. It can be an unfortunate warning sign that untimely roof replacement services are necessary.

Your roof uses flashing for:

  • Seams
  • Eaves
  • Junctions
  • Valleys
  • Edges
  • Chimneys
  • Vents and pipes
  • Gutters
  • Skylights

Flashing is a thin and flat metal used to reinforce weatherproofing in vulnerable areas. For example, it prevents water leaks into your interior from your roof’s chimney base. It’s also used to direct water runoff away from potential water buildup areas, such as vertical wall junctures.

Once your flashing starts having issues, your roof is wide open to major leaks and other weather damage. It can also leave an opening for pests. For these reasons, roof flashing should always be a part of your regular roof maintenance checklist.

11. Pest Infestation

Pests can range from silent and nearly invisible to large skittering nuisances. Common unwanted houseguests include:

  • Termites
  • Ants
  • Roaches
  • Centipedes and millipedes
  • Spiders
  • Wasps and bees
  • Mice and rats
  • Squirrels
  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Raccoons

Your roof is a prime opportunity for bugs, birds, and acrobatic mammals to slip into your home. Many of them linger in attics and crawlspaces where it’s warm, dry, and generally low on human activity.

If you’re fighting pest battles and can’t find their point of entry, your roof might be their initial area of attack. Even medium-sized squirrels and bats can wiggle through slight openings.

An experienced roofing company can quickly figure out if they’re using your roof as access, and if a new roof replacement is necessary. They can also spot signs of termites and other more subtle infestations you may not have noticed yet.

12. Inclement Weather Damage

Your roof is designed to withstand substantial wear from weather forces. However, inclement weather can strain your roof past its breaking point.

Inclement weather refers to several severe weather phenomena. This includes:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornados
  • Thunderstorms
  • Blizzards
  • High winds
  • Excessively cold or hot temperatures
  • Heavy rainfall
  • Heavy snow
  • Ice and sleet
  • Hail

Some severe weather standards can be relative to your region. For instance, people who live by the Great Lakes may scoff at the amount of snow and ice that sends Texans into a tizzy.

It can also be relative to your roofing materials. Metal roofs can withstand hurricane-force winds that would tear asphalt and wood shingles right off. No roof is 100% severe weatherproof, however. 

Do you see visible signs of severe weather damage on your roof? A total roof replacement might be inevitable, especially if debris was involved. Roofing experts also recommend a roof care checkup after severe weather events, even if your roof looks mostly unscathed.

13. Roof Rot and Dry Rot

Roof rot (also called wood rot and dry rot) occurs when your roof’s wooden parts start to crumble and decay. Once roof rot sets in everywhere, a roof replacement might be easier and even cheaper than all the major repair work.

The rotting process can occur even if your roof doesn’t leak from the outside. Roof rot only needs two components:

  1. Consistent moisture source
  2. Poor ventilation

A roof with too much condensation or humidity underneath can still provide consistent moisture. Hungry fungi will settle in and start chewing up damp wood as enthusiastically as termites, with similar results.

Damage signs include roof sagging and musty smells. However, most roof rot is invisible before it becomes a major problem.

Proper cooling and ventilation will stop wood rot in its tracks, while regular roofing maintenance will detect it before your support beams start crumbling.

14. Unexplained Energy Costs

Your energy bills can spike for many reasons, including price hikes and older appliance parts breaking down. If you’ve ruled out every other usual suspect, however, your roof could be the one letting your energy efficiency escape.

Roof damage can cause everything from increased heat absorption on the outside, to wet and moldy insulation on the inside. Your energy bill could be a roundabout way of telling you it’s time for a roof replacement, once all the previous warning signs have failed.

Finding the Best Roof Replacement Company Near Me

Your roof is doing its best, but it still needs regular roof care to keep it healthy. Once you see certain warning signs, it can mean a roof replacement is imminent. A reputable roof replacement company can help you determine where to begin. 

Are you looking for top-notch roofing services from fully licensed professionals? Resistance Exteriors is a local, family-owned company that values quality craftsmanship and service over corporate corner-cutting. Connect with us for a free estimate today!


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