By: Tom Ingram – Coastal Windows & Exteriors

Since I have been in this business I have heard people say they want to squeeze another year or two out of their roof. Even when I was completely new and did not know much about the industry I knew that this was not a wise idea. I never understood why people would put off their roof replacement for a year or two. Homeowners that own gorgeous $300,000-$600,000+ homes were fretting over replacing their roof which did not even cost 10% of their home’s total cost. This is the investment that protects the entire house! Think of everything that your roof protects – the entire interior of your home (bathrooms, kitchens, living areas, furniture, art, etc.), your valuables, your pets and your family. In addition, if you hold off on your roof, the general outcome is that the roof will cost more money in the future do to added damage! Save your home and your wallet by getting your roof replaced as soon as it’s needed.

Here are 7 warning signs that you should look for annually to assess the health and life of your roofing system. If you have 4 or more of these characteristics, it’s more likely than not that your roof is well past its prime.

1. Curled or Buckled Shingles – Curled or Buckled shingles are a clear sign that your roof has some age on it. If this is occurring and your roof is still fairly young, your previous roofer was far from a professional as this shows errors in application. Buckled shingles can occur because of moisture in the attic space forcing nails to push up and out of the roofs decking. This mishap can leave your home exposed to the outside elements as well as being prone to shingle blow-offs during a storm.

curled and buckled shingle

2. Tar Streaking or Algae Growth – Tar Streaking and Algae growth is caused by bacteria eating away at the shingles weatherproofing properties. Many companies try to stay competitive with cost by cutting corners. In roofing, this is certainly no exception. Cheap shingle manufacturing companies use fillers like limestone to keep the cost of shingle production low. The problem with that is if you have trees around your home then algae-based bacteria that comes from many different tree species will eat away the limestone over time causing the unattractive black streaking caused by the asphalt exposed on the fiberglass mat of shingle. Basically, what streaking and growth tells a homeowner is that the shingles themselves are losing their weatherproofing properties.

Tar Streaking or Algae Growth

3. Missing Granules – Just like with streaking and algae growth, missing granules are a sure way to tell that your roof is dramatically losing its weatherproofing properties. But how can you check for missing granules? What you can do as a homeowner is annually check your gutters for granule build up. If you live in a triple decker and heights just are not for you, you don’t necessarily have to leave the ground to check your granules. Check the splash pan in front of your downspout for an unusual amount of granules. If you have a plastic-extension attachment on your downspout, give it a quick shake. If it sounds like granules are shaking around, it may be time to get that roof inspected.

Missing Granules

4. It’s All About Maintenance — Once a year, you should clean the cobwebs and dust from your ventilation system and exhaust vents. Then, caulk with a high grade sealant around pipes and vents and paint any exposed metal to prevent rust. Also, remove leaves and other debris from your gutters so they don’t dam up and overflow. If this hasn’t been done over the years, you might want to get a thorough inspection on your roof.

dirty attic ventilation

5. Check the Attic Space for Moisture and Mold — When attics are not vented properly and warm moist air rises through the building, it gets trapped in the attic. During the winter, condensation develops on the underside of the roof, causing rusty nails and, eventually, mold growth. Left long enough, the plywood rots out and you’ll need a new roof. This is not fun. We see this mostly in houses built between 1950 and 1990, but it sometimes happens in more modern construction too, due to over-insulating, which blocks some of the vents. A home must have an appropriate intake and exhaust just like a car. Soffit vents are perfect for intake and a true eve-eve ridge vent is the perfect exhaust. The reason this is so important is that obviously mold and mildew are an extremely intense health hazard. However, the biggest pain is the additional cost for the homeowners. If this occurs, a professional roofer will have to replace every piece of damaged wood (usually after mold remediation) adding thousands of dollars to the cost of the roof.

black mold in attic

6. Missing Shingles – Missing shingles are an open pathway for water to enter into your home.  It’s as simple as that!

missing shingles

7. Daylight Coming Through Roof Boards – This is also an obvious warning sign that your roof needs replacing, however, most people don’t know about it. If you go into your dark attic during the day time and see light streaking from the roofs decking, you may have a big problem. Traditionally this means the nails have fallen through or corrosive materials used have lost their weatherproofing properties as well (i.e. flashing, collars, and step flashing). Obviously exposed light shows open pathways for moisture to enter your home.

light coming through attic

It is easy to tell if your roof is still in decent shape by doing a visual inspection and following these tips. A common misconception is that a roof is good for twenty or more years. A new roof should last that long, however, if there is horrible application or sub-par materials, the age means absolutely nothing. Use these tips and help protect your home, family and peace of mind. Regardless, roofing problems can be a homeowner’s worse nightmare, so in this case, the old adage holds true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If you think your roof is nearing the end of its life span, call us today and we’ll perform a free roof inspection for you! We pride ourselves in offering the best roofing products, installation and warranties in the industry! Contact us today at (888) 812-2783.