How to Know When You Need a Roof Replacement

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(Take the worry out of replacing your roof. Follow these simple tips to determine if you need to replace your roof. This information will help you ask the right questions when working with a roofing contractor)

Very few homeowners think about their roof until they have to.  Most of the time, they rely on leaks or other problems to alert them that their roof needs attention.  And when they finally call a roofer to come take a look, they worry about whether or not they are getting the best recommendations on how to fix the problem. 

Most roofers want homeowners to have as much information as possible.  This helps homeowners understand how keeping their roof in top condition can help them avoid damage or deterioration of the interior of their home. Keeping your roof healthy is the first sign of defense when it comes to maintaining structural integrity of your home.

Follow the steps outlined below to understand whether or not you will need to replace or repair your roof.  Being a proactive homeowner will save you time and money down the road and will help you prolong the life of your roof.

Start on the Inside

First, you want to start by doing an interior check of your roofing structure.  This means you will need to climb into your attic to visually inspect the ceiling.  If you notice any stains or spotting, this is an indication that water has penetrated the roof and underlayment.  This may be remedied with a roof repair, but if the roofer finds more widespread damage it may require a roof replacement.

If sunlight is streaming through into your attic, this is a definite sign your roof needs to be replaced since it is no longer providing protection against water entering your home.  Make it a habit to check your attic after big storms.  Shingles are sometimes blown off by high winds.  This may expose areas of your roof that are damaged.  

You may also notice warping or bubbling in the ceiling.  This is a sign of water damage, meaning that water has seeped through.  Identifying where the water is getting in is important as it will help determine whether a repair or replacement is needed. Most homeowners don’t realize that water can penetrate their home through the walls as well.  This is why it’s important to get a proper diagnoses from a trained professional.

Yet another sign of a faulty roof is paint that is peeling.  When your walls are exposed to moisture, it impacts the paint and underlying drywall.  The sooner you spot this the better off you are because water may find its way into the framing of your house and cause major damage. Contact with water frequently leads to mold.  Mold can contribute to countless health problems and if left untreated can be extremely difficult to fully remove.

Take a Look at the Exterior

The next thing you want to do is look at the exterior part of your roof.  While taking a close look at the actual shingles, make note of any dark spots, cracking, splitting, or missing shingles.  All of these are signs that the shingles are aging or damaged. Sometimes, all that is needed is the replacement of a few shingles.  But, a closer look by a professional may uncover more advanced deterioration and damage.

Aside from the actual shingles, make sure to  take a close look at the condition of the flashing around the chimney, vent pipe, and dormers, as well as inspect the valleys of your roof.   The valleys take on the most damage because water concentrates there during storms as it flows to the gutters.  If damage is found, it’s important to get that looked at right away as that might mean the waterproofness of your roof is compromised. 

Another tell-tale sign that your roof may need to be replaced is finding granules in your gutter.  If you have an asphalt shingle roof, you’ll want to take notice of any granules in your gutter. This may indicate that the shingles are worn down and have deteriorated. Take a look at the area surrounding your downspout.  If the ground and area is covered with granules it means your shingles are losing a layer.  Deterioration of shingles is a strong signal that your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. 

But what if you don’t have asphalt shingles?  Well, finding small pieces of clay or tile near the downspout or around your foundation is a sign of deterioration as well. This means that pieces of your roof are cracking and falling off. Check these areas after storms or high winds to determine how serious the problem is.

Check Other Areas of the Roof

Other areas to examine are the fascia and gutters.  Damage to the fascia may mean that your gutters are also damaged or clogged.  Take a look and see if there are rusty areas on the gutters or even holes.  Damaged gutters can allow water to damage the fascia and allow water to penetrate the structure and seep in under the shingles.  

When you’ve had a chance to take a look at all the parts of your roof, you will have a better understanding of its overall condition.  Having this knowledge helps you navigate any conversations you have with the roofers. They provide professional recommendations and you will feel more confident understanding their suggestions.  All in all, working with a trustworthy roofer can help assuage your worries too. Selecting one that has a strong reputation for great customer service and expert craftsmanship is a great way to ensure you’re getting the best advice. 

The roofing contractor will likely ask you about what prompted you to call them and what you have observed.  This helps them have a starting place for their inspection and also gives them a chance to make sure they answer your most urgent questions. 

Tips provided by:

J M Roofing

Chula Vista, CA

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