There are some pretty obvious signs that you might need a new roof. If your shingles are curled up, obviously deteriorating or even missing; it’s probably time to consider replacing them. If you are experiencing significant leaking through the ceiling or can see sagging in your roof decking, it’s probably time to have a new roof installed.
Inspecting your roof yourself is simple. Head out into your yard with a pair of binoculars and give it a visual inspection. Here are some things to look for that might mean you need a new roof.
Curling or Rotting Shingles
Curling on the corners or edges of your shingles is one of the first tell-tale signs of an aging roof. If properly installed and ventilated, a shingle roof should have a life expectancy of 20 to 25 years. If your roof is much younger than this is could mean there is a manufactures defect in the shingles such as a lack of back coating on them. If you think this could be the case and you’ve recently had your roof installed, contact your roofing contractor to see if you’re eligible for a refund or to have the roof re-installed.
Look for any areas that show discoloration or spotting. Although it is less likely in Alberta’s dry climate, this could be an indication of moss or algae growth commonly caused by trapped moisture in the roof, specifically in wet or humid climates. You should also inspect your roof for rotting shingles. You can identify rot by holes in the shingles or substantial deterioration.
Keep in mind that shingles made of wood or other organic fibres will curl and/or rot if they absorb too much moisture.
Missing shingles could mean you need to have your roof replaced. Either they are being blown off in the weather because they weren’t fastened properly or they are old, starting to lose granules and deteriorate. If your shingles look like they are getting darker in some areas, it could mean they’re losing granules and the underlay is being exposed. Take a walk around your house and look for pieces of shingles or granules that have come off of the roof. If you find a lot of single debris, chances are you need a new roof.
Inspect the valleys of your roof. Valleys are the most important areas of your roof. They allow rain and snow to flow off of your roof and into the gutters. If shingles are missing or falling apart in these areas it is a definite sign you need a roof replacement and you could be vulnerable to leaks.
Check your chimney flashing for damage and make sure it is covering the area it’s supposed to. Damage can occur if the roof is drying and cracking due to age, if was dented by improper nailing or sometimes when the house settles after construction. If you have a newer roof, but notice the flashing is damaged it could be a result of improper installation.
Do you notice any sagging of your roof decking between the rafters? This means your decking is deteriorated and you should check inside of your attic for water damage. You will be able to see water stains or dark spots on the rafters in your attic, especially around vents, chimneys and other holes in the roof. Remember that stains could still be there from an old problem that has already been fixed. Press into the wood with a screwdriver. If it appears wet or is soft it probably means your problem is current.
Water damage can also occur from leaking or poor quality shingle under lay and damaged flashing. You can also inspect your interior walls and ceiling for water stains or sagging, an obvious sign your roof is deteriorating and needs to be replaced.
In the wintertime sagging eaves troughs, large icicle build up and ice dams could be signs that your roof is leaking and causing moisture build up in your attic. These signs could also mean that your attic is not insulated or ventilated properly; you’re losing heat and need new insulation. If the later is the case, the ice dams will re-occur regardless of installing a new roof until you upgrade your insulation and ventilation system.
The best way to know if you need a roof replacement is to get a roof inspection from a professional roofing contractor like our friends at Ardent Roof Systems in Edmonton. Here are photos of some of their work: