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Modern roofs can last three decades or more, depending on the materials used and the expertise and commitment to excellence of the contractor. Older roofs, however, aren’t quite as eternal. If you have lived in your home for a number of years and have never experienced a problem with your roof, consider yourself lucky.
However, that luck won’t last, and because of it, you may not immediately recognize a problem with your roof that might require a repair or even a new roof. Here are some signs that your roof needs attention, and if you do suspect a problem, don’t hesitate to call a professional to diagnose it and provide an estimate:
Leaks and Sunlight
Water seeping into your house is an obvious sign of a roof problem, but sometimes that leak is difficult to find, particularly if it never gets beyond your attic. Look at the attic from the inside to look for evidence of a leak and do so during the daytime—if slivers of sunlight are visible, your roof has holes that should be fixed.
Shingles that are cracked, curling upward, cupping in the middle, or buckling or are damaged in any other way are a sign of a roof in distress. Most shingle damage, if not caused by wind, is an indication that water has seeped underneath the roof and is destroying it from underneath. A damaged shingle here and there might not be cause for alarm and can easily be replaced, but enough of them might be an indicator that you need a new roof.
Shingles can blow off during storms; if the roof is solid, you hire a contractor to replace them and move on. However, if you are losing shingles during relatively calmer conditions, something else other than a breeze might be at play. Don’t let missing shingles go unreplaced: Call a professional to fix the problem and determine the state of your roof.
Granules in the Gutter
The granules you see on asphalt shingles serve an important purpose: shielding the roof from the effects of the sun. On a new roof, excess granules may fall off the shingles—this is nothing to be concerned about. For an old roof, however, losing these granules might be a sign that the shingles are at the end (or beyond the end) of their lifespan. The sun will then beat upon your unprotected shingles and shorten the roof’s life even more. If your roof is more than 15 years old and you are seeing granules in the gutter, you may be inching closer to a replacement.
Flashing is the material that seals and protects the seams around roof features such as chimneys,skylights, and vents. If you are noticing cracking around the flashing and/or are experiencing leaks on the inside of these structures, a repair is definitely in order.
Drooping and Sagging
If your roof is visibly drooping, sagging, or depressed, a replacement roof is likely imminent. Moreover, these are also signs of potential structural damage—boards and decking in the attic might be rotting as well. Call a roofer right away to assess the damage.
The Passage of Time
Back to the conversation about luck earlier in this post: If you are not the original owner of your home but have resided in it for more than 20 years without a roof problem, you should, at the very least, be wary that the roof is on the back end of its practical life. Issues and damage can be present even in older roofs that otherwise look fine to the untrained eye. Pay careful attention to your experienced roof and consider annual inspections by a professional to help determine if there are concerns you just aren’t seeing. Also, if you live in a subdivision and your neighbors start replacing their roofs, be ready—yours might be just around the corner.
What current concerns do you have about your roof?
You may be asking yourself, “What can I expect my roof to look like as this aging
process takes place?” One or more of the following conditions may occur over time:
Curling: As the asphalt hardens over time, the granules which were once securely
embedded begin to break away. Occasionally you may have seen the colored
granules in your gutters. Also, as this hardening advances, the asphalt layers begin
to shrink. Of course, all of this is occurring at a microscopic level and is not
something which will be noticeable on a daily basis. As the asphalt layer shrinks,
it is being countered by the shingle reinforcement, which resists shrinking. We
now have a situation in which the top and bottom coatings are shrinking and the
reinforcement is remaining stable. As a result, the edges of the shingle may begin
to curl over time. In addition, organic shingles may exhibit signs of curling which
might be considered excessive, however, this is not a manufacturing defect and
would be considered part of the normal weathering process of organic shingles.
Surface Cracking: Another manifestation of the normal aging process may
be the development of surface cracks. For example, as the flexibilizing oils of the
asphalt are depleted due to heat, the shingle becomes more brittle, to the point
where surface cracking may appear. The stresses created by thermal shock and
the movement of the roof deck also increase the likelihood of surface cracking.
Blisters: During the course of natural weathering, small bubble-like raised
areas known as blisters may appear on the surface of the shingles. The blisters
may be small and pea-sized or as large as a quarter. The blisters may be open,
exposing the asphalt, or closed. Blisters frequently result when minimum ventilation
requirements are not met.
Staining: Finally, over a period of time, shingles may develop dark brown or
black streaks that are sometimes mistaken for soot, dirt, moss or tree droppings.
In actuality, this discoloration may be caused by algae growth. Although most
roofing systems are susceptible to algae discoloration, it is most readily visible
on white or light-colored shingles.
Make sure when you have a new roof installed that you check for the proper licenses, insurance & accreditations. Get recent and old references. Ask if they are going to use Gutter apron at the eaves and drip edge on the gable. What type of ridge vent will they use? Will it have a baffle in it to prevent wind driven snow from entering your attic? Will they use ring-shanked nails for the ridge vent so the ridge vent nails won't back out over time? Make sure you understand warranties and the fine print of these, especially the pro-rated portion. Make sure to address both intake & exhaust ventilation, as well as attic ventilation as all of these properly working will dramatically extend the life of your roof and save on energy costs. A great way to educate yourself is to do searches on YouTube or you can visit our website www.croixco.com for helpful ideas and questions. Check out our Pinterest page for other great pictures and ideas.
Impossible to say without inspecting the roof but some will live quite a long time based on exposure, correctness of installation, ventilation, etc.
There is quite a bit of variance and human contribution when it comes to getting the most out of the roof as well so when you do replace it, be sure to deal with someone that knows their craft and will educate you on the decisions and material selections that will work most effective for your home.
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