5 Signs You Need A New Roof

This page is meant to help you get a feel for when you'll need a new roof. Make sure if you decide to go onto a roof to be extremely careful and do so at your own risk. Keep in mind that you should have a professional take a look at your roof to determine if you need a new one. Professionals can't predict exactly when it will start leaking but he or she can tell you is if your roof is due for replacement. A roofing proffesional will use experience and methods similar to what are described here to determine if it is time to replace your roof.

1) Worn Out Shingles

Worn out shingles can be hard for an untrained eye to spot. Look for little spots that are missing the gravel. Many times it looks like there are veins of missing gravel. Another thing to look for is places where the fiberglass is showing - it tends to look sparkly in the sun. New shingles may have a tiny bit of fiberglass showing at the edges but old ones can have more obvious areas where the shingles are worn "to the bone".

Worn out roofing shingle
Worn out roofing shingle

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Cracked Roofing
Cracked Roofing

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Aged Roofing Shingles
Aged Roofing Shingles

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Worn out roofing shingle
Worn out roofing shingle

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2) Obvious Damages

This is probably common sense. If there are any obvious damages or leaks then you probably need a new roof or at least a repair.

Ceiling damage due to roof leaking
Ceiling damage due to roof leaking

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Roofing damage from wind
Roofing damage from wind

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rain and sun damaged shingles
rain and sun damaged shingles

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Ceiling damage due to roof leaking
Ceiling damage due to roof leaking

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3) Soft Roof Deck

Stepping on the roof is the best way to find out if the plywood or OSB roof deck (sheathing) is rotten. Be very careful because you could fall through and check this at your own risk. Check under things that have flashing such as skylights and pipes. Sometimes you can see rotten areas from the ground by looking to see if the roof is wavy. Although waviness doesn't always mean there are leaks it is a good indication that leaks may be present.

visual sign of a leaking roof
visual sign of a leaking roof

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Damage from leak shown - roofing off
Damage from leak shown - roofing off

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water made it between roofing layers
water made it between roofing layers

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visual sign of a leaking roof
visual sign of a leaking roof

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4) Age

Age is probably the single best way for home owners to know if it is about time to get a new roof. Most shingles last around 15 to 20 years. They might have a warranty for longer than that but that warranty is against manufacturer defects - not age. It is a good idea to have your roof checked out when it is about 15 years old. It probably won't need replacement but it may need a tune-up.

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Old Pipe Flashing on Roof
Old Pipe Flashing on Roof

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5) Selling The House

If you are selling a house, even if the roof isn't very old, it might be a good idea to replace the roof. Some buyers will demand it. Even a buyer doesn't insist on it, a new roof could significantly raise the value of your home.

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