Your roof is crucial in protecting your house from the elements. It also enhances the overall aesthetic of your house. You will likely have to replace your roof at least once when you own a home, whether because of storm damage or general wear and tear as your roof ages.
You need to know when to replace shingles. Signs such as holes, damage from debris and leaks are easy to notice, but other indications are more subtle. Below are seven signs that can provide insight into when you should replace your shingle roof.
1. Your Roof Is Getting Old
Your shingle roof replacement time will largely depend on your roof’s life expectancy and age. The type of material your roof is made out of will play a key role in your decision. Slate, copper and tile roofs have a longer life expectancy of nearly 50 years. Asphalt shingles can last up to 20 years and wood shake roofs around 30 years.
Other factors can shorten the life span of your roof, such as climate and harsh weather conditions like hurricanes, thunderstorms, snow or hail.
Even if your 40-year-old asphalt roof looks good, it is probably time to replace it. Structural issues can be challenging for homeowners to detect, even on the most robust roof. Some signs of an aging roof include an unusually high energy bill, leaks and moss on your shingles.
If you know that other houses in your neighborhood were built at a similar time, take note of when they replace their roofs. Noticing when your neighbors replace their roofs can give you a benchmark for when it’s time to replace your own.
2. Shingles Are Missing
Missing shingles weaken the integrity of your roof. Shingles protect the underlying waterproofing. If they are removed or become loose, they can reduce your roof’s water-shedding ability. These gaps in your roof also allow water to reach the underlying structures, such as your walls. When you do a visual inspection on a clear day, missing shingles will be easy to spot.
You can easily replace one or two missing shingles. They might have come loose due to improper installation or damage from a storm. You must investigate why shingles are missing if there is no apparent cause. Missing shingles can be indicative of a larger problem with your roof. If you see a few shingles missing every few weeks or the number of them is increasing rapidly, it is probably time to replace your roof.
3. There Are Granules in the Gutter
Asphalt shingles have a layer of UV protection known as granules or grit. They are embedded in the surface of shingles and form a barrier against the sun. As your roof ages, granules loosen and start to fall off shingles. You will see more grit in your gutters and the ground around your roof. Monitor how much grit you see coming off your roof and note any sudden increases. Without this protective barrier, shingles get exposed to the harsh sun and will age faster.
It is normal to see some grit and granules in your gutter and on the ground, especially with new roofs. Storms and physical damage can also result in more granules being removed. However, in older roofs, a significant increase in grit in your gutter indicates it may be time for shingle roof replacement. Lost granules mean your roof is vulnerable to the elements — which will weaken them substantially.
4. Shingles Are Cracked
When your asphalt shingles are cracked or showing signs of other damage such as bubbling, it could indicate your roof shingles need to be replaced. Your shingles might be cracked because of damage from storms, or simply because they’re getting older. Changes in temperature cause shingles to expand and contract, and wear and tear naturally weakens shingles, causing them to crack.
If you see only a few cracked shingles, you can replace them. However, if the only shingles in certain areas are cracked or there has been no storm recently, you may need to investigate further with the help of a roofing professional. A telltale sign that your roof needs replaced is if the cracking occurs randomly across your roof.
Some cracks are easily visible from the ground, while others require you to be on the roof to observe. Regardless of the cause of the cracks, they are often a sign your roof will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
5. Shingles Are Curling
Shingles curling or clawing are a telltale signal that your roof is reaching the end of its life span. If your shingles are curling, you’ll notice the edges of your shingles peeling away from the material beneath them. Clawing is when the middle of the shingle lifts while the ends remain fixed. Both are signs of aging, weathering and other problems that can indicate you need to replace your roof.
Clawing and curling result from the asphalt drying and getting smaller over time. Both conditions are a sign your shingles are getting old. Shingles that are clawing and curling are more susceptible to damage from ice and rain. It will also be easier for even mild winds to lift these shingles. As time passes, curled and clawed shingles become brittle and break more quickly.
Shingles with curling and clawing can only be replaced. If curling is widespread in your roof, you will want to replace the damaged roof shingles to prevent further damage to your house.
6. You Spot Moss and Algae
The growth of moss and algae across your roof signifies your roof is aging or retaining moisture. When moss, algae and other vegetation start growing on your roof, consider replacing it. You can clean that spot if the vegetation grows only in one area. However, if the moss is widespread and has been there for a while, the shingles will be damaged and need to be replaced. The earlier you control and maintain vegetation growth, the better. Left to grow, vegetation can prematurely age your roof.
Many people consider vegetation on your roof a cosmetic issue, but it can cause long-lasting damage. Moss can grow under shingles, forcing them upwards and exposing the protective waterproof layer beneath it to the elements. It can also hold moisture against shingles, causing water damage and removing granules. Other vegetation can invite different pests to make a home on your roof.
Moss and other green vegetation are easy to spot. They will likely show up as green or grey discoloration on your roof. Algae is a bit more challenging to see, as it might show up as black spots or streaks across your roof.
7. You Notice Damaged Flashings
As your roof ages, so does your flashing. Flashing is the material used to create water-tight seals around your chimney, roof vents, skylights and other structures that protrude from your roof. It is designed to prevent water from seeping into your roof and house through these vulnerable spots. The primary materials used to make flashings are tar, cement and metal.
Cement and tar flashing is subject to lifting, separation and general wear and tear. Metal flashings can last up to 30 years, depending on the climate and weather damage. The fastenings on metal flashing may start to loosen due to the expansion and contraction in different weather. When the fastenings loosen, it can cause the bottom flange to lift. Storm damage may also remove flashing or loosen metal flashings.
Signs of damage to flashing can be an indication of age and other structural damage that means it is time to replace your roof.
Trust Roof RX With Your South Western Florida Roof Replacement
Knowing when to replace or repair the shingles on your roof is tricky. Regular inspection by trained professionals can help you understand when it is time to clean, repair or replace your roof. At Roof RX, we’ll work with you to understand the condition of your roof and let you know the best steps, including the best time to replace your roof.
Contact our experienced roofing team today!