Can Your Roof Handle Another Winter? Beware of These 8 Signs of Deterioration
The harsh winter weather can significantly worsen any roof problems you may be experiencing and thus put you and your family in danger.
In addition to that, if your roof breaks down when the weather gets very rough, the new roof installation might even have to be delayed until the weather becomes milder.
Therefore, to stay ahead of any troubles and safety issues, make sure to check whether your roof can handle the coming winter.
And how can you do that? Be on the lookout for these most common signs of roof deterioration and, if needed, replace your roof on time.
Age is by far the most obvious indicator and reason to have your roof replaced. But how can you know or keep track of your roof’s age? Especially if you haven’t been in your current home for long and you don’t know when the roof was originally installed?
The easiest way is to follow the paper trail. Either you have your own papers and documents, such as home improvement records or bills from your roofing contractor, or you have some documentation from the previous owner of the house.
When buying a home, the usual practice is to have it inspected in full, including the roof, so this is where you might have found out about your roof’s age, as well.
Once you know when the roof was installed, you will also know how long it has left. Of course, a roof’s expected life span may sometimes be surpassed if the roof was very well maintained and the climate is mild, but a 20-year life span is a generally accepted limit for a shingle roof.
Therefore, if your roof is at least 20 years old, it is a good idea to start planning on getting estimates for a roof replacement.
While leaks in themselves do not mean that you should hurry up and replace your entire roof right away, more frequent and bigger leaks might.
A roof that is properly installed using high-quality materials shouldn’t leak until it reaches the end of its life. The exceptions are, of course, leaks caused by severe storm damage, impact damage, and similar circumstances. These are usually damages that we cannot predict or control, especially in areas with harsher climates.
However, when leaks start to spring up relatively frequently and for no apparent reason, this probably means your roof is reaching its end and it cannot function on the level it did before.
Moss and Algae Growth
Some green moss or black algae buildup can be a common occurrence on many roofs, especially on the roof surface that does not get a lot of sunlight in moist or cold climates.
This buildup usually happens when the natural elements in your roof, such as nickel or copper, start to wear away. Sometimes, it can merely be a cosmetic issue, but if you are starting to see moss or algae on your roof in excess, this may be an indicator that your roof is reaching the end of its expected life.
This buildup can pose some risks for your roof and home since moss tends to hold moisture. This moisture can lead to serious issues when it reaches the underlying roof structure and freezes during winter.
Good quality shingles that are properly installed should resist even very strong winds during their functional life.
However, as shingles age and succumb to natural wear and tear, they become pretty brittle and tend to snap off more easily under high wind conditions. Rainstorms, hail, snowstorms, and freezing temperatures can then do a lot more damage to them and subsequently to your entire property.
Therefore, if you have recently lost roof shingles due to wind, this may be another indicator that your roof is ready for a replacement.
The tiny stones on the top layer of roof shingles, known as granules, will usually shed throughout their entire life. This granular loss is normal, especially when the roof is brand new. However, if the granules start to fall off excessively, leaving bald spots on your roof and exposing the asphalt layer that is underneath, this is a cause for concern.
If you are experiencing such excessive granule loss on your roof, it may be time for a new roof.
Curled or Cupped Shingles
With age, the wear and tear, as well as the loss of surface granules, shingles may start to curl at their edges, or even form in the shape of cups. This is a sure sign that your shingles are starting to lose their function and stability and that they can no longer provide the same level of protection as they used to, especially when the cold winter and snow arrive.
If you notice this problem occurs more frequently and on more than one part of your roof, a roof replacement might be in order.
One of the most obvious and the most potentially dangerous signs that you need a new roof is a sagging roof.
A roof that has started to sag usually means that your roof’s structure is seriously compromised and that you are at risk of further damage inside and outside your home. Your roof will most probably not be able to support the additional load that snow will bring, so it is crucial to have it replaced.
Are Your Neighbors Replacing Roofs?
You might not have thought about it, but if you see that some of your neighbors are having their roofs replaced, you may want to start thinking about it as well. Why is that?
The reason behind this is simple. In some neighborhoods, blocks, or parts of the city, homes were built around the same time period. If you live in such a neighborhood, then your home’s roof is about the same age as your neighbor’s roof, if it hasn’t been replaced since its original installation. You have also been experiencing the same weather conditions, so it is safe to say that your roofs are in a similar state.
The best way to know for sure is to call your local roofer and have your roof professionally inspected.
Are Your Neighbors Replacing Roofs?
Before winter arrives, make sure to check your roof for any of these signs of roof damage and don’t forget to call in your local roofing company for a detailed inspection.
They will be able to determine the exact state of your roof, advise you on the best course of action, and quickly replace your roof if needed.