When Should I Replace My Roof?

Jul 6, 2022 | Roofing

July 6, 2022

When Should I Replace My Roof?

Your roof could last anywhere from 20 to 100 years or more, depending on the material. As a homeowner, how do you know when you need to replace your roof?

There are several tell-tale signs your roof may need a roof replacement. No matter your style of roof, eventually, you’ll need to replace it.

Keep reading to learn more about the answer to the question, “When should I replace my roof?”

When Should I Replace My Roof

Is It Time for a Roof Replacement?

Life expectancy for roofs varies depending on the material. For example, various shingles could last a long time.

Asphalt shakes, or shingles might last between 25 to 30 years. However, high-end installations can last as long as 50 years with good maintenance.

A sheet metal roof might last 40 to 80 years. A copper roof could last 70 or more years. A zinc roof could last 100 years or more.

The point is if you have an old roof, it’s a good idea to call in a reliable roofing expert that can help you assess your options. Let’s look at the top signs your roof needs repair or is reaching the end of its service cycle.

Bad Chimney Flashing

Premium chimney flashing has sections of step flashing. The flashing runs up the sides of the chimney.

It also has counter flashing, which fits into grooves cut into the chimney. The counter flashing covers the step flashing.

Sometimes, installers make mistakes when installing the flashing. If you suspect you have faulty flashing, look for signs of water around the chimney and down the slope of your roof.

Complex Roof Problem

A complex roof problem causes leaks when it snows in the winter and storms in the summer. Most often, homeowners experience a complex roof problem because of poor flashing.

One of the hardest areas of a roof to waterproof is where the soffit meets the roof. If water penetrates this area, it can cause an ice dam.

An ice dam happens when snow melts and the water freezes as it nears the colder edge of your roof. Over time, the water will pool behind the dam and work its way up under the shingles. It will continue under the soffit until it finds an opening in the roof.

Cracked Shingles

If you see cracked shingles on your roof, you must replace them. The scope of the project could vary.

For example, the size of the project would depend on how early you catch the problem. With this in mind, it’s essential to keep an eye out for cracking shingles on your roof.

Curling Shingles

Curling shingles can indicate a bigger problem. For example, you may have a leak in that area of your roof. In a worst-case scenario, you may need a full roof replacement.

Often, curling shingles occur because the installer didn’t line them up correctly. You could also see curling shingles because you have poor ventilation in your attic, which requires intervention by a professional roofing company.

Damaged Plumbing Vent Boots

Manufacturers make plumbing vent boots using various combinations of materials. For example, you may see plumbing vent boots made of:

• Plastic
• Plastic and metal
• Two-piece metal units

If you have plumbing vent boots made of plastic, check the bases for cracks. If they’re made of metal, check the bases for broken seams.

In many cases, this problem simply requires that you replace the vent boot. It usually doesn’t require a full roof replacement.

Damaged Shingles

Along with missing shingles, damaged shingles are unsightly. They’re also a leak waiting to happen.

Whether you need to replace your roof in this instance will depend on the severity of the damage. If a considerable amount of shingles are missing, it’s best to leave the job to a professional.

If your roof is old and you saved shingles from your last roofing installation, you could fix one or two damaged shingles yourself. However, it’s important to know how to work on a roof and not fear heights if you decide to take on the job.

Drilled Holes in Roof

Small roof holes are sneaky. They can cause rot and other kinds of roof damage. However, years can pass before you notice obvious signs of a leak.

You might have this roof problem after a contractor installs a satellite dish or antenna mount or any other fixture. You may feel compelled to patch the problem by filling the holes with caulk, but that’s not the solution. Instead, this fix requires new flashing and replacement of the damaged section.

Exposed Nails

Exposed nails on your roof can rust. In time, they’ll cause leaks in your roof.

The severity of the problem depends on how many nails have become exposed. It also depends on how long they’ve been exposed. In some instances, exposed nails can cause problems so severe that you’ll need to replace your entire roof.

Fix Walls and Dormers

You may think that water only enters your roof through the shingled surface, but that’s not always true. Many times, wind-driven rain can come in from above.

The windows of your home are especially vulnerable to this kind of penetration. The corner boards and siding of your home are also points of vulnerability when it comes to moisture entering your home. Moisture can even get into your home through cracks and knot holes in your siding.

Dormer walls have plenty of places where water can trickle down and enter your roof. This kind of problem with dormer walls can also occur because caulk has degraded. You can fix this kind of problem with a spot fix in most instances.

Granules Missing on Shingles

Missing granules on your shingles is another sign of trouble. Some types of roofs lose granules over time.

However, missing granules isn’t a definitive sign that you need a new roof. In part, whether you need a new roof will depend on how many granules are left on your shingles. A roofing professional can advise you on the best course of action for this problem.

Hail Damage

Sometimes, large hailstones hit asphalt shingles with considerable force. When they do, they can cause tears and punctures.

In most instances, the hail simply knocks the protective granules off the shingles. When this happens, however, your roof shingles become exposed to UV rays.

Light from the sun will begin to degrade the shingles. Eventually, you’ll lose the protection afforded to your roof. In the event of hail damage, it’s always a good idea to get a free roof inspection from an expert roofing company.

Loose Step Flashing

Step flashing runs along the walls and intersects with your roof. Each short section channels water downhill over the shingles.

Sometimes step flashing can come loose or rust. When this happens, water runs behind it and into your home.

This problem doesn’t always require a full roof replacement. However, it does require your immediate attention.

Missing Gutter Apron

When it rains, water flows off the edge of your roof. Some of that water clings to the underside of your shingles. It then dribbles towards the fascia.

You may have gutters but no gutter apron to catch this excess water. If so, the water will work its way behind the gutter. Over time, the fascia, soffits, and roof sheathing will rot if you don’t have a gutter apron.

Ideally, you should install a gutter apron when you replace your shingles. However, an experienced Maryland roofing contractor can install one under your existing shingles if needed.

Missing Kick-Out Flashing

The kick-out flashing of your roof is a critical component. You’ll find it where the roof meets the edge of your sidewalls.

Without the kick-out flashing, water can flow down your wall and potentially enter it. Your home is especially vulnerable to this threat around doors and windows. This flaw is another issue that may not require a full roof replacement but requires your immediate attention.

No Chimney Cricket

If you have a wide chimney, it forms a dam on your roof. Debris can build up behind the dam and hold moisture. In turn, the moisture can rust the flashing and cause the wood of your roof to rot.

If your chimney is wider than 30 inches, it should have a cricket. You may also hear this component called a saddle. In either case, it’s simply a small roof that goes behind your chimney.

If you have a large chimney without a cricket, look for holes rusting through the flashing. If you see rust, you must have the problem fixed right away.

Roof Cement

The metal flashing on your roof stops leaks where shingles meet other surfaces. These surfaces may include chimneys and walls.

It takes experience to know how to install flashing properly. Sometimes, inexperienced roofers slather on roof cement.

This incorrect installation may work for a short time. Soon, however, it will harden, crack and leak.

If you see heavy tar patches on your roof, you must have it repaired immediately. If not, your roof can develop leaks, and you could even experience interior damage.

Roof Leakage

Roof leaks are an obvious problem. If you have a leaking problem, don’t put off the roof repair. You must give the problem immediate attention.

Roof leaking can cause structural water damage. It’s in your best interest to arrange for a free quote for the repair right away.

Roof Vent Issues

You should also check your roof for cracked plastic roof vent housings. Likewise, you should check for broken seams on metal roof vent housings.

Don’t settle for repairing damaged roof vents with caulk. This repair won’t last long.

Instead, you must replace the damaged vents. You should also look for old and missing nails at the bottom edge of the vents.

Rusted Chimney Flashing

A lot of things can go wrong with a brick chimney. For instance, the flashing around your chimney can rust if it’s made with galvanized steel. The 90-degree bend at the bottom is especially vulnerable to rusting.

You could hire a contractor to slip new flashing under the rusted flashing. The new flashing will divert water properly. However, the remaining old flashing can reduce the aesthetic appeal of your home.

What Makes the Streaks?

You may have noticed black streaks running down your roof. If you see this kind of damage, it’s a resilient alga called Gloeocapsa Magma.

Over time, this blue-green algae accumulates. As it does, it develops a dark, hard outer coating. That coating is what causes black streaks on your roof.

The blue-green algae feed on the limestone in shingles. The problem will worsen each year. The solution for getting rid of back streaks is to reshingle your roof with algae-resistant shingles.

Wind Damage

Wind damage can cause blown-off shingles and expose parts of your roof. Even worse, the problem is hard to detect. It’s especially hard to detect this damage if your shingles have been lifted by the wind.

In some cases, wind loosens the sealant on your shingles. It can also loosen the nails. If your roof has enough wind damage, it may require a full roof replacement.

Fix Your Roof Troubles Today

One or several of these signs of exterior damage can mean it’s time for a roof replacement. If you’ve noticed any of these signs of trouble with your roof, it’s best to call in professionals to take a look.

The experienced roofing experts at American Choice Exteriors can assess your roof and make recommendations for repair or replacement. We can also help you to avoid these kinds of problems in the future.

Contact American Choice Exteriors today for a free no-obligation roof inspection.