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Roof Life: 5 Key Signs You Need a New Roof

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Did you know the lifespan of your roof can depend upon the materials it’s made of?

Roofs made of slate, copper, or tile can last up to 50 years. Asphalt shingled roofs will only last around 20. Wood shake and fiber cement shingles find themselves somewhere in the middle.

But, it’s not only the materials that determine the average roof life. Your willingness to perform necessary maintenance is crucial in your keeping your roof healthy.

If you’ve slacked off on your homeowner duties, problems may start to arise. Your roof could leak, or shingles may start crumbling off.

There are a lot of signs that your roof life is coming to an end. Keep reading for five symptoms to look for in determining if it’s time to get a new roof.

1. Pay Attention to Your Attic

The first place you should look to assess the condition of your roof is not the exterior. Your attic holds more insight than you might think. So, grab a good flashlight and get up there.

You’re going to want to look for a few vital signs you need a new roof.

First, is there any daylight seeping in through the roof boards? If so, you’ll need to have your roof replaced almost immediately. This structural roof damage can create a host of severe problems if not dealt with fast.

Next, check for any staining. Stains or streaks mean your roof is leaking, damaging your home’s interior and the roof.

Are any portions of the ceiling sagging? If so, lightly prod at the sag with a broom. If it feels soft, you’re dealing with moisture damage.

2. The Shingles Look Funny

Shingles are usually made from a cellulose core covered in layers of asphalt. In rotting shingles, these protective layers can disintegrate. This causes your shingles to fall apart.

If they’re falling apart in your hands, you have very serious rot damage on your hands. Your entire roof may be compromised. You’ll need to replace your shingles soon to prevent structural damage from happening.

Curling or buckling shingles are a sign you need to contact the professionals, too. This may mean that your shingles are past their life expectancy and will need to be redone.

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3. There’s Moss or Algae Present

The mere presence of moss doesn’t mean you need an immediate roof replacement. Most homeowners look at it as more of an eyesore than anything else. But, it can cause severe problems if you leave it on your roof for too long.

Moss on the surface of your roof will hold moisture. This moisture can reduce the lifespan of your shingles. This is especially true if your shingles are asphalt or wood.

The roof growths can freeze in colder weather. This can cause frost damage, furthering your shingle wear under the moss.

Even in non-frigid climates, moss growths can separate your shingles.

Thankfully, moss removal is a rather simple process you can handle yourself. Before you try to remove it, make sure your shingles are in great shape underneath. You’ll run the risk of damaging them if you don’t check their integrity first.

Using your garden hose, spray the moss growths with as much force as your hose can muster.

You can also use powdered dish soap or laundry detergent to help get rid of moss. Sprinkle it on top of the growths, let it sit for a few days, and then sweep the now dead moss off.

4. Your Chimney is Damaged

Your chimney serves as more than a point of entrance for Santa Claus. An improperly cared for chimney can threaten your home, so it’s essential to do your due diligence.

Hopefully, you already do regular chimney maintenance. You might not get up on the roof as often as you should, though.

You’ll want to check the roof flashing around your chimney. Flashing is a material like aluminum or galvanized steel that’s found over joints. It’s meant to stop water from seeping into your home.

If your home is a bit older, the flashing might be roof cement or tar. In this case, you’ll want to consider replacing it with a more long-term solution.

Check the chimney for clear signs of physical damage. Crumbling masonry means water is penetrating the mortar joints. This will lead to a weakened structure more prone to collapse.

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It’s also worth checking to see if your chimney still has its cap. A missing cap is like an open invitation for critters to make their nests. The wily pests can gain access to your attic through your chimney, causing further damage.

5. Your Roof is Old

As we already mentioned, most roofs should last between 20 and 50 years. If your roof age is beyond that, it may be time to bite the bullet and consider a replacement.

Even if your roof isn’t currently causing problems, it will in the future. It’s best to be pre-emptive than to have to pay for structural damage if something were to go awry.

Extend Your Roof Life

Roof maintenance is a necessary part of homeownership. This is especially true if you’ve recently replaced your roof and want to extend its life. Here are some steps you can take to make it last longer.

Gutter Maintenance

Clogged gutters can lead to roof leaks. When water gets stuck in the gutters, it has nowhere to go. The water can pool along the bottom of the roof, deteriorating fascia, and the roof’s edge.

Debris Removal

You need to ensure your roof is free from debris at all times. Leaves or tree branches are common culprits you’ll find on your rooftop.

Professional Inspection

Have a professional come and inspect your roof every few years. Contact a professional roofing company so you know your roof is in good hands. Check out

Stay on Top of It

The key to extending your roof life is prevention. Repair small issues as soon as possible to keep them from becoming more significant problems. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, replace it before it’s too late.

If you’re considering buying a home soon, don’t forget to look at the roof before you buy it. You can tell a lot about how the previous homeowners cared for their homes by looking at the roof.

Be sure to check out our other posts too. We’ll provide the advice you need to protect your biggest life investment.

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