Roofing 101: How do I know if I need a new roof?

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The age old question homeowners around the world asked themselves at one point or another is this: How do I know whether or not I need a new roof? The answer is a question that can be self-diagnosed, but it is always better to seek professional help. Use the following as a guideline for yourself. But ultimately seek a Free Estimate from a professional licensed roofing company to evaluate the condition of your commercial or residential roof.
TOP 10 SIGNS:
1) Curling Roofing Materials – whether you have an asphalt shingle roof or a flat rubber roof, if the material is not laying flat, it’s a sign the material is compromised. Heat, UV rays, ice, snow, freezing cold, summer sun and other weather can damage the roof’s surface causing the material to buckle. When not laying flat, water is able to wick under and around the roof surface, allowing water infiltration.
2) Soft Spots – if you walk on a roof, and you feel the plywood beneath the deck surface is soft, that is a sign that water has infiltrated past the roofing material and is starting to decay the wood deck below. Without a full roof tearoff, this rotted plywood would never be replaced. Therefore, any lack of plywood strength is a sign you need a new roof.
3) Damaged Flashing – is the base of the chimney all tarred? Is the metal flashing at the base coming apart? If so, water will find its way in and ultimately leak inside your house. If the metal around the chimney, the metal in the roof valleys, or if any other metal flashing elsewhere is corroded and damaged, that is a sign that the roof has aged and likely is due for replacement.
4) Age of Roof – Age alone is a factor in deciding whether you need a new roof. If your roof is 20-30 years old, you are probably due for a roof replacement. If your roof is 30-50 years old, you are almost certainly due for a full tearoff and new roof installation. Only slate stone and clay tile roofs can withstand that many years of weathering and stay intact, but even then the valleys and flashing should be inspected because the roofing material will usually outlive the copper metal flashing areas.
5) Budget Factors – Do you have the spare funding to afford a new roof? One main factor into whether you need a new roof is your financial situation. If you are experiencing some of the factors listed above, such as an old roof, but not experiencing any leakage, you may fall into the category of “You should replace your roof” because you are financially prepared for it and being proactive with your most valuable asset is always a good bet. Why wait until you leak to spend thousands extra in unnecessary plywood replacement and sheetrock repair when you could replace the roof before that happens.
6) Leaking – A leak alone is not a guarantee you need a new roof. Perhaps a budget-friendly repair is in order, such as when the leak is caused by faulty flashing work rather than the overall bad condition of the roofing material. However, multiple leaks as well as several other factors listed above combined is certainly a sign you need a new roof. After years and years of repairs and patchwork, sometimes the peace of mind of a labor and material warranty as well as witnessing a full tearoff and new roof installed is what you need.
7) Dry Rot – Many homeowners are not aware that a home’s attic must have proper ventilation. Without adequate air ventilation, the plywood beneath the roof material can dry rot – meaning dry out and lose its strength and supportive capabilities. If the deck dry rots, the house is more likely to experience a leak since the plywood is a last barrier before water can enter the home through the roof. A shingle roof should have both intake and exhaust, such as ridge vent for exhaust and soffit ventilation for intake of air. A flat roof can benefit from several mushroom vents to allow hot air and moisture in and out.
8) Black Mold – If you have an accessible attic, go inside. Look at the bottom of the roof’s plywood. Do you see black mold, water marks, heat sweat, tiger eye circles around nails, or any other similar signs? If so, you may have leakage occurring and/or a lack of ventilation problem. These are signs the roof should be replaced and in the process, a proper ventilation system put into place.
9) Heavy Puddling – Ideally water should never sit on a roof. If you have a low slopping roof, aka a “flat roof”, some water puddling is ok as the material is designed the handle water pondage for days at a time until the water evaporates. However, severe ponding is a sign of a lack of roof pitch, and over time that area will be more vulnerable than the rest of the roof to leakage problems. As such, if for example you have a flat roof, and one section of the roof always has water pondage, you would be advised to consider a roof replacement. During the replacement, a certified roofing contractor doing the installation should check for any dips. If found, the wood decking should be removed so that the rafters below can be sistered higher with new support beams, and then new wood decking installed on top to correct the dipping.
10) Cosmetics – Do you have a green roof? Are aesthetics an important issue to you as it related to your home? If so, and if you hate how your roof looks, you may be due for a new roof. Unappealing colors can be an eye sore. Many people have different taste than the previous homeowner who selected the color. Or perhaps you have a shingle roof and prefer the look of a slate roof or Spanish clay tile roof. If so, you may be due for a new roof even if you’re not leaking! If it’s in the budget and you can financially afford to make it happen, change the roof! Even if it’s only for looks!
For a Free Professional roof assessment and inspection, as well as price quote on any necessary repairs or replacement costs, contact Royal Renovators Inc. at (800) 423-2313 from 8am-8pm Monday-Saturday to schedule a free estimate. Our expert roofing estimator team are available to help assess your roofing issues. Call today!