There is a well-known list of comments a homeowner never wants to hear. Statements like, “your A/C unit is dead”, “your foundation is cracked”, or “termites have infested your home” all strike fear in the hearts of anyone paying a mortgage. At or near the top of a homeowner’s worries are the words “your roof needs to be completely replaced.” Replacing a roof is sometimes inevitable, but not a task that any homeowner wants to face. New roofs are always expensive and costs could go up depending on the material you choose.
One of the best ways to avoid those dreaded roof replacement words is to educate yourself about the lifespan of a roof, and steps you can take to stretch that timeline a bit. If you’re purchasing a home, a good home inspector should be able to tell you the current state of the roof and approximately how many years you have left on it.
A roof is definitely ready to be replaced when a seemingly constant stream of shingles fall off after every minor wind and/or rain storm. Missing shingles could be a natural part of owning a shingle roof. Normally, a few damaged or missing shingles can be replaced without a headache. But a mass amount of shingles is a definite sign your roof is on its last leg.
Constant leaks are another clear indicator that the roof is no longer protecting your home like it should be. If you live in an area where repeated snowfall is common. Snow and ice build-up may trap moisture that seeps into your home. This moisture finds the leaks, fills them, then freezes again when the weather turns cold. When the moisture freezes back up it expands the leak, causing small leaks to become big ones. Identifying and stopping leaks, then repairing the damage is smart. But if you find you are doing this often, and there is no end in sight, your roof may need to be replaced.
Mold growth caused by moisture build up under the roof deck may cause serious problems depending on the size of the damage. Constant leaks, leaf, and debris or moss buildup, water vapor build up in the attic, or moisture trapped between the roof deck and shingles can all cause mold growth. If you detect mold growth in large areas of the home, have your roof inspected. If the mold growth has damage that just can’t be fixed, it will need to be replaced.
Of course, even taking every step possible to protect your roof, such as shingle and flashing repair, leaf and debris removal, will not guarantee it will last forever. Eventually, the forces of wear and tear will weaken the integrity of the roofing material. Shingle roofs typically last at least twenty years. Some higher-end manufacturers offer shingle roofs that will last up to fifty. A tin metal roof will last forty to fifty years. A galvanized steel roof will last a whopping sixty years. Cool roof coatings over shingle roofs will extend a roof already in good condition by ten years.