Is It Time to Replace My Roof?



The Roof of your home is the structure and materials that form the top of your home, and which protects your home from rain, snow, sun, etc.

Roof styles include angled (called ‘pitched’ roofs) or flat. And a roof can be made of materials such as: composite or asphalt shingles; slate shingles; wood shakes; tile; rubber rolled roofing materials; metal; thatching; and fabric.

In addition to the materials that cover the surface, your Roof also includes caulking and metal strips called ‘flashing’ that are used to keep things that penetrate your Roof (such as chimneys, sky lights, vent pipes, etc.) from leaking water into your home.

If your Roof has gutters, then you should also put a checkmark for Roof Gutters in your home features in your Home Wizard app.

Your roof is exposed to the direct impacts of weather, and proper maintenance is required for it to do its job of shielding from the elements.

Routine Care

Inspect and clean roof and eaves

Proper roof maintenance will reduce the likelihood of leaks which can lead to inside water damage, and it also helps extend the useful life of the roof.

Timing: May (yearly)

How To

Maintenance of your roof consists of 5 tasks:

Inspect and repair roof shingles: Using a pair of binoculars, you can walk around and look for obvious problems from the ground. If necessary, climb a ladder and look for damaged or missing shingles. If the roof is slate, look for slate which is broken or with loose nails. If your roof has wooden shakes, look for missing sections or warpage. Also inspect for water damage beneath shingles where ice damming may have occurred. Replace or repair any areas as necessary.

Inspect and repair roof flashing: Roof “flashing” are pieces of metal which cover areas where roofing meets objects on the roof, such as chimneys, vent pipes, dormers, other sections of roofing, around the edge of the roof, etc. Check flashing for damage, rusting, or separation. As required, sections should be replaced, re-painted, or re-sealed with caulking compound or roof cement. See your hardware professionals regarding re-painting procedures for your particular situation.

Clean build-up around eaves: Eaves are the areas under where your roof overhangs the outside walls. These areas tend to build-up with debris, insects and other nests, etc. A broom or water hose can be used to clear debris from the area around the eaves. Build-up under the eaves can lead to rotting of wood, and be breeding areas for insects and other pests.

Sweep roof clean: Remove debris from the roof, such as branches, leaves, pine needles, etc. This debris retains moisture and encourages decay, and their build-up can impede water run-off, which can promote water puddling that can lead to leaks. Be careful not to damage the shingles while sweeping, but try to remove foreign material from the space between the shakes or shingles.

Remove mold, mildew, or moss: Mold, mildew, and moss should be cleaned from roofs. Contact your hardware professional for the cleaning methods that apply to your specific situation.


The benefits of this task are relatively high. Doing this task can help prevent serious damage from water and pests, and will help extend the useful life of your roof.


The cost of this task is relatively high. You probably will want to hire a professional service to do this task. Or if you are having a service cleaning your gutters, you may be able to ask them to do the inspection while they are on your roof.


Is It Time to Replace My Roof?

Most asphalt roofs have a lifespan of 15-25 years, but this can vary significantly based on a variety of factors. So how can you tell if your roof needs to be replaced sooner, before damage to your home starts?

The actual life of your roof depends on factors such as:

  • type of materials used
  • quality of workmanship
  • local weather conditions
  • exposure to sunlight
  • shingle color
  • roof pitch angle
  • how much walking is done on your roof
  • adequacy of attic ventilation (which helps keep your roof cooler in the summer)

And as such, your particular roof’s lifespan can be very different than 15-25 years.

To determine whether your roof is ready for replacement, it only requires a simple visual inspection, which can initially be done from either a ladder or by using binoculars from the ground (see costs and reviews of ladders). Some professional contractors often will do this inspection for you at no charge.


The following are the signs that your roof may be ready to be replaced (or at least repaired):

Missing Shingles. If your roof has begun losing shingles, then this is one of the tell-tale signs that your roof may need to be replaced. Missing one or two shingles after a severe windstorm is one thing, but missing shingles in multiple locations across your roof is a bad sign.

Loss of Granules. Asphalt shingles contain a top layer of granules, which are small particles of crushed granite that help protect the shingle from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation. When these granules start coming off of the shingle, it leaves the shingle vulnerable to damage. If you begin finding piles of grit from your asphalt roof accumulating in your roof gutters, this is a bad sign.

Cracking, Buckling, Curling & Blistering. If you begin to see large sections of your shingles that just don’t look right, then this is a sign that your roof maybe due for replacement. Some of these problems may be due to inadequate ventilation of your attic space. Proper ventilation of your attic is necessary to help keep your roof cooler in the summer, and to reduce moisture levels.

Moss and Lichen Build-up. Black algae stains are just cosmetic and typically will not cause deterioration of your roof. However, the building up of moss and lichen on your roof can signal that your roof has begun decaying underneath the shingles.

Peeling Paint on the Underside of Roof Overhangs. If you begin to see watermarks, spotting or peeling paint on the underside of your roof overhangs, this could be a sign that your roof has already started leaking.

Ceiling Spots. Moisture spots and dark areas on your indoor ceilings can, of course, be indications that your roof has begun to leak. They can also be a sign that the flashing around vent pipes, your chimney, etc. need to be re-sealed. If you have an attic with exposed roof beams and boards, you can inspect to try to see where the source of the water is coming from.

If you begin to notice any of these problems with your roof, you should immediately contact a professional to do a thorough inspection of your roof. One of the tough questions will be whether it is better to patch a few bad areas of your roof, or if you need to do a complete roof replacement. The answer to this will be determined by the extent of your roof’s problem and its age.

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