How often do you look at your roof? If you’re like me, you run in and out of the house, shuttle the kids back and forth, and glance up at the roofline only occasionally as you back out of the driveway.
But inspecting your roof regularly and making little fixes as needed can prevent some costly repairs down the road and keep those raindrops from falling on your head. There’s another benefit, too: Keeping your roof in good condition will also be a big plus if you decide to sell your home.
A solid roof above your head is pretty crucial if you’ve become accustomed to having a warm, cozy, and leak-free home. Here’s how to notice and deal with potential issues before they become big ones. (1)
1. Understanding the age of your roof.
An asphalt shingle roof should last between 20 and 30 years, says Claude McGavic, executive director of The National Association of Home Inspectors. “If you have a 40 year old roof, there could be a problem, even if it looks good from the ground.” (1)
2. The shingles are curling.
Shingles can curl in two ways: There’s cupping, which happens when the edges of the shingles turn upward; and there’s clawing, which is when the edges stay flat and the middle starts to come up. Both are signs of weathering and indicate that potential problems are relatively close and repair is eminent. (1)
3. Entire shingles are missing.
From a functional standpoint, there should be no problem with just replacing a few shingles here and there. What you do need to be prepared for is the fact that it’s just about impossible to get a new shingle to match the color of an old one, says Graham. (1)
Granule colors have changed pretty significantly over the years. Plus, the colors change slightly with weathering.
You can keep patching until a bigger issue presents itself, but if a roof starts to look like a checkerboard, people often opt to replace the whole thing. (1)
4. The shingles are cracked.
Cracked shingles are typically a result of wind damage. If just a few shingles are cracked, you can certainly replace them. If the cracking isn’t isolated to one particular area and it’s random throughout the roof, that’s a sign you should start thinking about a new roof, says Graham. (1)
5. You’re finding granules in the gutter.
If you just got a new asphalt shingle roof and you see a bunch of granules in the rain gutters, there’s nothing to worry about: Those are just loose, extra ones. But if it’s been 10-15 years, that’s a sign of a bigger problem. Granules help keep the sun off the asphalt, says McGavic. Once the granules fall off and the shingles start to bake, the quality will deteriorate in a hurry. (1)
If you have a new roof and you just started to notice the granules in the gutter, the shingles are probably halfway through their lifespan, McGavic estimates. (1)
6. The shingles are covered with moss or algae.
Okay, this is actually no reason to panic. It’s just a cosmetic issue, say McGavic. People may choose to replace the roof just because they don’t like the aesthetic (a lot of new shingles are algae-resistant). Whatever you do, don’t take matters into your own hands by power washing or scraping away at the green stuff. That’s a good way to chip off all the granules, which again, essentially renders your shingles useless. (1)
7. You can see sunlight from your attic.
You don’t need me to tell you that this isn’t a good sign….because it’s not. If light can shine through the roof of your home, so can rain, cold air, and snow. Check for light and also look for water stains. If you find any, watch them over a few rainfalls and if they change shape or size, that means you’ve got an active leak, says McGavic. (1)
Watch for the warning signs to be sure to give yourself plenty of time to add the project to your TO DO list. For help with a roofing project, you should consult a roofing specialist in your area.
Ask your roofing contractors for referrals of jobs they have recently completed to help you make the best decision when hiring a contractor.
(1) Beth Kaufman- Good Housekeeping