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As any homeowner knows, one of the most expensive but important maintenance tasks you’ll ever have is keeping your roof in great shape. A big leak or missing shingles may be obvious, but how do you know if it’s time to consider a new roof? Today we take a look at some of the warning signs you should be aware of.
Immediate signs of a bad roof
Water damage is the number one sign that your roof has problems. Hunt down the source of the leak. If it’s something relatively benign, like a cracked tile or some missing insulation, you can fix the issue on your own. However, if there’s extensive damage, it may be time to replace the whole thing. Leaks grow quickly, and can also damage beams and other wooden fittings, so act fast if you spot danger.
Wood or asphalt roofs will decay over time, so you should conduct an annual inspection of the roof to look for damaged shingles. Shingles don’t rot, but instead become brittle and crumbly. If there’s a lot of damaged shingles, re-roofing may be easier. Likewise, lost granules can make shingles look patchy. If you’re finding parts of shingles or other roofing materials in your gutters, it’s time to investigate. If you’re looking for high-quality shingles, the Mercury News has some tips to use.
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Dark streaks on your roof can indicate algae buildup, but it’s not always problematic. Here, you may want to call in the experts, like Landmark Roofing if you’re in Puget Sound, to determine if there’s a risk to the roof or just an aesthetic issue. Moss or curled shingles, however, will definitely need a fix. The Washington Post has some suggestions for DIY moss control, but it’s probably easier to leave that one to the experts as well. You want to make sure you don’t ruin your beautiful landscaping with treatment products. In New Jersey, if you’ve recently had an adverse weather event, like high winds or hail, it’s always worth checking the roof for additional damage.
Subtle signs your roof may be failing
We don’t always get clear signs that roof maintenance is needed, and there are some more subtle clues you should be mindful of. Dark streaks appearing on the ceiling, damaged drywall, or wall stains are a key sign you need to get up in the attic and determine what’s happening, as they can be signs of mold in the roof.
Likewise, head up to the attic during the day. If you start noticing little slivers of sunlight in the roof boards, it can be a sign that the boards are warping or shifting, and needs to be investigated. While you’re up there, check for signs of wildlife damage. Old nests, gnawed wood, and even old animal bones can all be clues that something is hiding inside the roof that shouldn’t be.
Your chimney can also give you hints as to the state of your roof. Check the flashing at the base of the chimney, specifically. Here you can see if vital insulation is beginning to crack or flake away.
Making sure your roof is well installed at the start is one of the best things you can do to ensure a long-lasting, good-looking roof. Even the best shingle roofs only have a 20-year lifespan, so if your roof is nearing the end of its life, it might be time to start planning for the expense of a new one.