You can darn socks and patch jacket elbows over and over. But eventually, your clothes will be so threadbare from use that it’s time to toss them in the rag pile and order something new from Target.
Now, imagine that your clothes spend 24/7 in the sun and rain and wind. Covered with leaves, and subject to temperature swings throughout the year. That’s the lifecycle of your home’s roof.
Depending on the type of roof on your home, you can expect to fully replace it every 12–75 years. That’s a wide time range! So, how exactly do you know it’s time to get a new one? And how do you figure that out before water intrusion causes damage to the interior of your home? Here’s a quick primer on how long they typically last, as well as three easy ways to tell that you need a new roof.
How Long do Different Types of Roofs Last?
Not all roof types are created equal. Here’s a quick guideline for the lifecycle of your roof:
- Composition shingles: 12–20 years
- Asphalt shingles: 15–30 years
- Wood shingles: 20–25 years
- Rubber roofs: 30–50 years
- Metal roofs: 50–75 years
How to Tell that You Need a New Roof
Depending on the height and pitch of your roof, it’s probably not something you get a good look at every day. Or even more than twice a year when you clean the gutters. But keeping an eye on your roof is an important task for a homeowner. Your roof protects you, your home, and all your belongings from the elements, nature, pests, and other intruders. The worst thing you can do is wait for your aging roof to cause damage to your ceilings or the interior of your home before you get around to making repairs.
Here are three easy ways to tell that you need a new roof before you get a leak:
1. Missing and Curling Shingles
Have you noticed stronger and more frequent storms and wind in your area since you moved in several years ago? Strong wind from thunderstorms can tear shingles off your roof, which can allow water to penetrate the sheathing layers beneath. On the other extreme, longer droughts and hotter summers can cause shingles to eventually curl and crack. (Curling shingles can also be a sign of poor attic ventilation or double shingling, which is not advised.) If you notice either of these issues, it’s time to act.
2. Damaged Flashing
The underlayment and flashing on your roof prevents water from getting underneath your shingles. When your flashing is missing or damaged, you lose that point of protection. Watch out for damaged flashing around chimneys, vent pipes, skylights, and at the valley between roof parts in particular. According to Bob Vila, “In older homes, flashing is often made of roof cement or tar, but it’s a good idea to upgrade to a metal flashing system for added durability.” In some cases where you catch flashing issues quickly, you may only need to replace the existing flash with a durable steel flash to solve the problem.
3. Moss and Mold Growth
There are such things as green roofs. But if your home doesn’t have one, nothing should be growing on or around your roof. Collected moisture in your attic can cause moss and mold to grow, damaging your roof from the inside out. Dark streaks indicate airborne algal growth on your shingles. Similarly, clogged gutters, perhaps in part from shingle granules from a deteriorating roof, may end up sprouting an ecosystem of their own. By all means, remove any growths you find—a stiff brush can help with moss and a bleach and water solution will take care of algae. But make a point to eliminate the source of the moisture, as well, or your flora will just return and cause more damage.
BONUS: Your Neighbors are Getting New Roofs
What your neighbors do for their homes isn’t necessarily an indication of what you should do for yours. However, if the homes in your neighborhood are all around the same age, it could be a warning sign. Homes built around the same time period have experienced the same weather conditions and other stressors. If it’s time for their roof to be replaced, it can mean that your roof is nearing the end of its useful life, as well.
Let’s Start at the Top!
A house isn’t much of a home without a good roof over your head. And by the time you notice leaks seeping into your living room, other damage has been done, too. Be proactive about roof replacement and save yourself the time and money that come with more costly repairs.
Do you have questions about getting a new roof and how it will impact the upcoming sale of your home? Reach out to your Beverly-Hanks real estate expert today.