If you’re just moving into a new house or you don’t know the last time your roof was replaced, you may be wondering how you will know when to replace the roof before leaks happen. If leaks are already happening, it’s time for roofing repairs or a new roof ASAP because water is coming in and creating destructive wood rot in the framework of your home.
If your roof is less than 15 years old and has some spotty deterioration or wear but nothing serious, a roof repair will probably solve the problem until your roof reaches the end of its lifespan. Depending on where you live, your roofing needs will be different than others so it's important to contact a roofing specialist for their opinion on your particular roofing situation.
Roofing Repair or Replacement Checklists
If your home is like most, you have 3-tab asphalt shingles. A 3-tab asphalt shingle roof usually needs to be replaced after about 15-20 years because often a new roof is a better use of your money than constant repairs at this point. Here are some quick roof inspection checklists for exterior and interior roof inspection to be done twice per year:
|Checking the Roof Exterior||Repair||Replace|
|Check the fascia board around your roof with a set of binoculars. If the board looks rotten or is peeling, it's probably in your best interest to get the roof replaced instead of repaired because it's likely that the whole underlying roof is in that condition.|
|Loose or exposed nails on your roof can cause leakage, so if you find these be sure to fix the problem and check the area for signs of damage.|
|Check for any signs of moisture, rot, mold or algae on your roof. Some mold can be mistaken for soot or tree droppings. Algae or mold could be a result of moisture being trapped in your shingles.|
|Check the condition of your shingles, are they bald, cracked or shedding an excessive amount of granules? Loss of granules is not a problem unless the asphalt mat of the shingles has become exposed. Check your shingles to see if they bend easily. If they’re still flexible, they still have some life left. If they break, it’s time to replace them. Worn, buckled or cracked shingles should be replaced.|
|Check the flashing around chimneys, vents, skylights or wall/roof junctions. Many roof leaks are caused by flashing deterioration. If your flashing is causing leaks or is visibly damaged, call a roofing specialist to help you assess the situation and replace or repair your flashing.|
|Check your roof line to see if it is sagging. If you see that it sags in the middle, you may have structural damage.|
|Check the Roof Interior (In Your Attic)||Repair||Replace|
|Look around for places in your attic where the roof might be sagging in your attic. If you find sagging, check with a roofing specialist to find out how bad it is and what they recommend.|
|It may seem obvious, but look for places letting in any outside light. These spots will need repairs.|
|Check for any signs of water damage (ceiling spots, dark trails etc.) in your attic and find out where it's coming from. If you see signs of wood rot on the inside, note that as well and speak to a roofing specialist.|
|Have a termite inspection done. Extensive insect damage can be all the reason you need to replace your roof.|
General Roof Maintenance Tips
- Tree acids can break down most roofing materials, so any area on your roof where trees hang overhead will decay faster than the rest of the roof and should be inspected more often.
- Harsh weather will also test your roof, so after a big windstorm or snowstorm you should do a quick inspection to see if anything has been damaged.
- It’s a good idea to go into your attic twice per year to check and see if any leaking is occurring, because the leaks will be evident here before you see it in your living space.
Proactive maintenance is key to extending the life of your roof. Want to learn more about roof construction and how to maintain yours?
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A big winter storm came through my area this weekend. I have noticed a bit of a leak in a few corners of the roof. It is good to know that it would be smart for me to get an inspection done on my roof as quickly as possible.
That is so interesting that tree acids can make your roofing decay faster than it would otherwise. Maybe I should have someone come and take a look at my roof and possibly repair it. I have a tree but I am not completely sure that it hangs over the roofing.
Dave, When you can see changes on your roof, it’s time to have someone inspect it … and once your roof passes 10 years, it’s probably time to start checking it every other year so you can make repairs to have the roof last as long as possible.
Thanks, This is great piece of content. I appreciate effort
When there’s a leak, you have to get it checked right away before the problem gets unmanageable. You end up tearing all of your roofing. If you just had fix the problem right away, the repairs will be smaller. It makes a huge difference.
Sounds like you had this problem & learned the hard way … so keep this in mind for all your exterior home related problems. Inside it’s mostly water problems that need to be fixed right away.
Some great tips here. Esp the one about checking your attic for hidden leaks.
I dont know about home repairs, so I rely on professional and just observe how they do it.
Thanks for these tips!
This is a great checklist, I’m definitely pinning it for future reference. Our home is fairly new, a little over 6 years old. But we have had a few repairs due to losing shingles during bad storms.
Doing a few repairs here and there at home is. great not only do you get to save but you also get more experience in the DIY field.
Yes, DIY is good but only if you’re smart about tackling projects you can get done quickly & successfully … so think before you sign up to do something you won’t get done in 2 weeks, as then it often never gets one.
Nancy at Whispered Inspirations
Thanks so much for the useful information. We are due to change our roof in about 5 years so it’s great to know. We had our inspector take a look. Bookmarking so I can look back on it when I need it.
Ah, the joy of owning a home! Lol Very important to know whether or not you need to replace or simply repair your roof. Saves you from spending money when you don’t have to. I think we have ten more years left with ours.
I wouldn’t be doing any roof repairs anytime soon (thankfully). But I’ll get back to this checklist when I need to. Thanks for sharing!
We replaced our roof about 4 years ago. It completely fell through over our sunroom 🙁 The company told us only a part needed to be replaced but we had them replace all of it due to finding issues like you talk about here. Be very careful when dealing with those who want to take short cuts. Be a part of the process!!
Anne, I will have to use your quote as it’s so true and I cringe when people brag about saving money because it’s also true that you get what you pay for and by the time you realize this with your house, it’s too late.
We were just talking about getting our roof checked for damage. We have had a few bad storms with high winds this year. It is so important to keep an eye on your roof.
You want to learn what your roof should look like so you can easily spot problems (binoculars or photos help). Once you’re past the half life of your roof (10 yrs with asphalt) then it’s smart to get a professional inspection … and then you can start to weed out contractors/companies you can trust, from those you can’t.
This is a great post, I have to admit I would have no idea about replacing a roof, luckily as we rent we don’t really need to worry to much about it yet, but it is good to know for the future.
We replaced our roof about 7 years ago. The old one was falling off in pieces. Replacing the whole thing was best for us at the time.
Our roof is 20 years old. It is time to inspect it to see if it needs to be fixed
Yes you’re getting close to end of life so repairs can delay replace for a few years if done right.