7 Warning Signs You Need a New Roof (What to Look For)

October 9, 2020

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If you’re a homeowner, never assume that an interior water leak is the only way to tell if you need a new roof! Your home might be telling you that it’s time for repairs or an entirely new roof installation altogether. Putting off needed repairs or reroofing can mean structural damage and otherwise unnecessary fixes. So, how can you tell if you need a new roof?

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Seven warning signs you need a new roof include:

  1.   The roof’s age
  2.   Curled, buckled shingles
  3.   Damaged valleys
  4.   Large number of missing shingles
  5.   Damaged flashing
  6.   Granules in gutters and on the lawn
  7.   You can see daylight through the roof’s boards!

Before your home suffers interior water damage and resultant mold growth and the roof outright collapses, check out some added information about these 7 common warning signs that it’s time for a new residential roof installation.

1. When Should I Replace an Asphalt Roof?

As with any building material, a home’s roof has an expected lifespan. Most asphalt shingle roofs last about 20 years; slate, copper, and clay tile roofs might last some 50 years. Wood shake roofs last about 30 years and fiber cement shingles about 25 years. After that time, your home is most likely to need a new roof.

What Else Affects a Roof’s Lifespan

How well you’ve maintained your roof over the years, if you added a new roof layer over an old, and a roof’s overall ventilation also affects its lifespan. An existing layer of shingles or tiles don’t provide the best foundation for new roof materials, so that the second roofing material layer typically won’t last as long as one installed after a full-scale tear-off.

Poor-quality roof ventilation also allows moisture and humidity to get trapped under the roof decking and joists, leading to water damage. Excessive sunlight, high winds, and strong storms also affect a roof’s lifespan, and neglecting to clean storm debris means even more damage and a shorter lifespan. If you’ve neglected roof maintenance over the years, you can typically count on needing a new roof sooner rather than later!

When You Don’t Know Your Roof’s Age

Many homeowners don’t know the age of their home’s roof; they might have purchased the home just a few years ago or simply lost track of the last time they invested in a new roof installation. If that’s the case for you, call a roofing company near you for a roof inspection. A qualified roofing contractor can typically estimate a roof’s age and overall condition, and alert you to how many years it has left before you’ll need a new roof installation!

2. Curled, Buckled Shingles Mean It’s Time for a New Roof!

As shingles age, they absorb moisture and then dry out. This constant cycle often causes them to eventually curl or buckle. You might notice curled shingles along the roof’s edge or an uneven roof surface.

Those curled and buckled shingles are more likely to pull away from the roof’s decking, and do a poor job of protecting the roof’s structure from water and storm debris. The longer you go without a new roof installation, the more likely it is that your home will also need new roof decking and even framing, including rafters and joists!

In some cases, curled or buckled shingles on a relatively new roof might indicate poor-quality installation. You might contact a licensed roofing contractor near you for a full-scale inspection, and he or she can note signs of defective installation materials and techniques. In some cases, you might then be eligible for reimbursement from the installer!

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3. Get a New Roof When You Notice Damaged Valleys

Roof valleys are where two sides of a sloped roof meet. Rainwater washes towards those valleys which then direct that water to nearby gutters. When valleys are damaged, your home is more prone to standing water on the roof and eventual damage.

Roof valleys are typically covered with what is called flashing, or metal pieces that form a type of trench or gutter, protecting shingles from water and helping direct it away from the roof. When flashing starts to curl, buckle, pull away from the roof, or show other signs of damage, your home needs roof repairs or potentially a new roof installation altogether.

4. Too Many Missing Shingles? It’s Time for a New Roof

A few missing shingles are not uncommon and don’t necessarily indicate severe roof damage. This is especially true after a strong storm or high winds move through your area!

However, too many missing shingles might indicate that they’re old and worn so that it’s time to replace them all! Nails and other connectors might also be rusted and pulling away from the roof decking, leading to large patches of missing shingles.

How Many Missing Shingles Are Too Many?

There is no “one size fits all” answer as to how many missing shingles indicate it’s time for a new roof. To ensure you schedule repairs or reroofing when needed, schedule a roof inspection when you notice any missing shingles. A roof contractor can note if your home only needs a few new shingles or if it’s time for a new roof.

5. Damaged Flashing Indicates It’s Time for a New Roof!

Roof flashing is installed along shingles edges, such as between shingles and a chimney stack, roof vent, or along roof valleys, as said. When a roof’s flashing is damaged or missing, it’s time for roof repairs or reroofing!

What Is Flashing and Why Is It Needed?

 Metal flashing provides a water barrier for roofing materials and various nooks and crevices along a roof’s surface. Rainwater and melting snow and ice run along this flashing to nearby gutters. Damaged flashing, however, lets that water and moisture drip to the roof’s decking, under the shingles or tiles, and settle around the base of chimney stacks and roof vents.

Flashing is typically very durable and meant to withstand inclement weather. When this material is damaged or starts pulling away from the roof, this usually indicates the need for roof repairs or replacement! If you notice curled, bent, or torn flashing, or see it pulling away from roof surfaces, it’s time to call a roofing contractor near you.


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6. Loose Granules Means Worn Shingles and Time for a New Roof!

Over time, shingles dry out and become brittle, losing granules from their surface as they do. Excess wear on a roof, such as from someone walking on those shingles or high winds and strong storms, can also strip those granules. In turn, you might notice them in the home’s gutters or collecting along with the lawn and landscaping features.

Along with granules, you might also notice nails and other connectors caught in the gutters or your property’s shrubs. Check those nails up close and note if they seem rusted, bent, or otherwise old and worn. If so, there’s a good chance that all the roof’s nails and connectors are past their prime and that your home is ready for a new roof!

7. If You See Daylight in the Attic, It’s Time for a New Roof!

Underneath roof shingles and tiles are the roof decking, thick plywood attached to the home’s framework, providing a foundation for those roofing materials. Roof decking should always be solid and secure; if you walk along the roof and it feels spongy or soft, this often indicates water damage and the need for a new roof.

Since a homeowner should never walk on a home’s roof themselves, you can also spot damaged decking by checking the home’s attic or upper crawlspace. If you can see sunlight coming through the overhead roof boards, this typically indicates damaged decking.

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Bonus Warning Signs That Your Home Needs a New Roof

While a roof’s appearance is often the best indicator of its overall condition, remember that the roof is a major part of your home’s overall insulation! If you notice your home is suddenly cold and drafty in wintertime or hot and humid during summer months, this often indicates worn and thin shingles, holes in the roof, damaged decking, and other needed repairs.

Dark spots on the roof might also indicate sagging or damaged shingles. Never assume that those are just watermarks you see on the roof but if you notice large patches of discoloration, it’s time to schedule a roof inspection!

How to Inspect a Roof Safely From the Ground

Walking on a roof is dangerous enough for a trained roofing contractor, so a homeowner should definitely stay safe on the ground and avoid DIY inspections or repairs. While a professional roof inspection is the best choice for finding needed repairs, you can perform some inspections without actually climbing onto a home’s roof.

Homeowners can give their home’s roof a good inspection from the edge of their lawn or across the street; use binoculars to look for uneven or curling shingle edges, damaged flashing, and blocked valleys. It’s also helpful to check for mold, moss, and algae, which often indicate excess moisture and water damage.

Why Do I Need a New Roof?

Since a new roof is often a costly investment for homeowners, why invest in full-scale reroofing versus repairs? The age of your home’s roof is one important factor; after a few decades, shingles and tiles will simply crack, split, or pull away from the roof. Just replacing a few of those shingles now will mean more repairs in the near future, all of which might add up to more cost than reroofing!

A damaged roof also lets moisture into the home, which can then result in expensive, dangerous mold growth. Roof leaks also let out your heated and cooled air, spiking your utility bills. An old, shabby roof also detracts from your home’s curb appeal and lowers your property values!

To keep your home insulated and reduce the risk of mold growth, call a roofing company if you notice buckled or missing shingles, missing granules, damaged flashing, and any other warning signs that your home needs a new roof. A roofing contractor can evaluate the condition of your home’s roof and recommend the best materials for a new residential roof installation.

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Related Questions

Do you need to be home for roof replacement?

In truth, it’s often better if a homeowner is not home during a roof replacement! Not only is roof work noisy but a roofer wants to ensure everyone’s safety, including yours, and if everyone in the family including pets are off the premises, their work can continue without worry!

How much does a roof tear-off cost?

Most roofers charge by the square footage, adjusting those costs according to materials chosen and if you’ll need a tear-off versus adding another roofing layer. Average prices for a new roof tear-off range from $1.25 to $4 per square foot, so anywhere from $1700 to $8400 for a moderately sized ranch style home.

Keep all these tips in mind when it comes to your home’s roof and don’t hesitate to schedule an inspection if you notice missing granules or damaged flashing, and especially if you see daylight coming through the attic! Timely repairs keep that damage from getting worse and ensure your home is protected and insulated year-round.

A Word from Our Expert Team of Roofers at Lewisville Roofing Company

 This article is a collaborative effort from the local roofers at our roofing company in Lewisville. We specialize in Lewisville roof replacements so when you need a new roof, you know who to call!

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