There’s a reason why owning a house is often referred to as having a roof over one’s head. A strong roof keeps your house protected from all kinds of harsh weather conditions, making sure that your life indoors is always filled with comfort.
But strong sunshine, rain, snow, and hail can cause significant damage to your roof over the years. If the health of the roof is affected, the rest of your house starts suffering too. That’s why taking proper care of the roof is important. If you are feeling doubtful about the condition of your roof or wondering whether it needs to be replaced, a thorough inspection can give you all the answers.
Look Outdoors For These Warning Signs
First, step outdoors and look for the exterior signs of roof damage. Some of these are apparent, but some might need a closer look. Here are a few signs you can look for:
1. Age of Roof
Most roofs with three-tab shingles serve well for around 20-25 years before they need to be replaced. Wood shingles last about 30 to 40 years. Wood shakes can stay good for 20 to 40 years. Clay tiles may last 50 years or longer. Metal could retain quality for 70 years. Slate often stays in shape for 100 years or longer.
2. Dark Patches
Look for dark patches on your roof. These indicate that your roof is worn out and weaker in certain spots. It could be a result of water damage from accumulated ice or ice dams.
3. Granules in Gutters
If you notice granules accumulating in your gutter, it is a sign of weathering. Elements are eroding your roof, and these loose particles are collecting in the gutter. This should not be ignored.
A sagging roof is evidence of heavy structural damage. This means that your roof may collapse, and it needs immediate attention as it puts your life at risk.
If you see water collecting into small puddles on parts of your roof, your roof may not be in good condition. These parts suffer more water damage than the rest of your roof, and it may lead to rot and eventually leaks.
6. Missing or Curled Shingles
Check if the shingles are either missing or curled. The empty spots are more susceptible to damage. The curled shingles are vulnerable and can be shaken loose easily. Both of these, if ignored, can cause heavy roof damage during rain or snowfall.
7. Spongy Texture
Walk on the roof and observe how the roof feels under your feet. If it feels spongy, it’s a sign that there is water damage underneath.
8. Missing Flashing
Flashing is put around projections on the roof like a chimney. The sealing around these is responsible for keeping water and ice out. If the sealing is broken or damaged, you need to get it fixed immediately.
9. Mortar Falling Off
The roof junctions like ridges and verges are usually sealed with mortar. In case of older houses, mortar was used for bedding tiles as well. Mortar is, unfortunately, not very long-lasting. You must keep an eye out for the condition of the mortar. Extreme weather changes can cause them to crack and break, leaving the roof exposed to weather damage.
10. Damaged Underlay
Even if the shingles are in a decent condition, a deteriorating or rotting underlay can drastically shorten the lifespan of your roof. Check the condition of the underlay carefully. If you detect sufficient damage, it’s time to get your roof replaced.
11. Poor State of Ridge
The two roof areas intersect at the ridge. The line where they intersect is usually capped to prevent leakage. The capping also ensures structural integrity. If there is anything wrong with the ridge, it leaves the entire roof in a weak state.
12. Damaged Roof Valleys
If you notice shingles missing along the roof valleys or find that there is any kind of deterioration, you should not neglect it. It’s best not to wait for bigger damage to show up.
Inspect Indoors For Further Signs Of Damage
Once you are done with the inspection outdoors, you need to look for symptoms of damage hiding inside the house. Here’s what you should watch out for:
1. Leaks and Water Damage
This is the most obvious sign of roof damage. If you have been experiencing leaks or noticing wet patches on the walls or ceilings, your roof might be in a poor state. Try and find the source of these leaks so that you can understand the extent of the damage.
2. Stains, Mold and Mildew
Look all over the house for stains or unwanted growth like mold and mildew. These indicate water damage, and it might be the result of a rotting roof. Not only is it a health hazard, but it is also an early sign of more extensive water damage that can affect the entire house structure.
3. Animal or Insect Infestation
If you have been hearing critters or getting occasional visits from squirrels and raccoons, there might be several areas of your roof that are weak enough for insects and small animals to gnaw through. This must not be overlooked.
4. Daylight Through Roof
Around sunset, turn off the lights in the attic or upper rooms and stare at the ceiling for some time. Check if daylight is coming through. Unless you look carefully, you might miss thin cracks and tiny holes. If daylight is coming through, no matter how little, your roof needs attention.
5. Increase in Electricity Bills
Check if the electricity bills have been increasing over the years, especially when it comes to heating or cooling. A damaged roof allows heat to pass through the ceiling, making your appliances work harder to maintain temperature. Low energy efficiency is a sign that your roof is in a delicate condition and must be fixed as soon as possible.
Factors To Consider While Taking The Final Decision
While the list above will give you a fair idea regarding the state of your roof, it’s not always easy to determine whether a roof needs repair or a complete replacement. Consult a professional roofing company and request for inspection. Some reputed roofing companies offer a free inspection, which will help you arrive at an informed decision. They can also advise you regarding the type of materials that will be best suited to your needs. However, make sure that the company you are consulting has the license to work in the area.
It may take quite a few days to completely replace a roof, depending on the size of the house and the materials used. It is best not to stay at home during the process. Make sure you choose a time when your family can stay in a different place without much problem. Besides, roof replacement can be a noisy process. It’s best if you can keep your neighbors informed before the work begins.
Finally, make sure you avoid the busy roofing season. Early winter is a good time to get your roof replaced. It will be easier to get an appointment, and the cost will be significantly lower.
A roof replacement might be a huge decision involving a lot of expenses, but it is a fair price to pay for the safety of your loved ones. With a strong roof over your head, your home will always keep you warm and protected.