If you bought your house as a new construction, you know right off the bat how old everything is–including the roof. And that makes it a whole lot easier to determine if it’s coming to the end of its natural life.
But what if you don’t know how old your roof is? Every year it sustains a little more wear and tear. How much wear is okay before it isn’t okay anymore? What are the signs that it’s time for a roof replacement?
Asphalt Shingle Roofs
Setting aside a catastrophe like a lightening strike that topples a tree on top of it, how long your roof will last depends on a couple of basic factors. These include the type of roofing materials used and the climate you live in.
About 80 percent of residential homes are built with asphalt shingle roofs. Durable, attractive and affordable, they last on average about 15 to 30 years. That span of time takes into consideration roofs installed in hot and humid climates, those where the winters are brutal, and everything in between.
Pennsylvania, as we all know, gets hit with a little bit of everything, so as your roof ages, you’ll know your roof needs replacing when you see any one of these telltale signs:
Buckling, Curling, or Missing Shingles
Moisture that builds up in your attic area can cause the nails in your roof decking to push up and out resulting in buckling and curling shingles. If they become loose enough, they’ll also become susceptible to blowing off. And that creates a pathway for water to get in.
If you examine an asphalt shingle, you’ll find they are covered with tiny mineral granules. These granules serve several purposes. They help separate individual shingles making it easier for roofing contractors to install them. They also provide a rough surface making it safer for them to walk on the roof.
More importantly, these granules help protect shingles from the elements, in particular the sun’s ultraviolet light. They also inhibit the growth of organic algae. If when cleaning gutters, you start to find a buildup of granules in them or in the downspout splash pan, you’ll know that the integrity of your shingles is diminishing.
Algae Growth and Dark Streaks on Your Roof
Have you ever noticed a roof with patches of lichens, mosses or dark black streaks? Often they are found on homes where it is shady and damp. These discolorations can ruin the curb appeal of an otherwise beautiful home. Worse still, they are signs that bacteria is eating away at the weather-proofing properties of your shingles. Left unaddressed, your house will not be protected from the elements.
Sure Signs From Inside Your Home
Certainly if water is coming inside the attic or an upstairs room, you’ll know you have a problem. However, the same can be said if you begin to see daylight coming through the roof. That’s when you know there’s a clear pathway for moisture to get in.
Another sign of trouble is if your attic temperature is warmer than the outside. This is an indication that your roof is not properly vented and moisture is building up.
The Importance of Regularly Inspecting Your Roof
The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends regularly inspecting your roof – at least twice a year – to determine if there are potential problems. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, a reliable roofing contractor can do the job for you and keep you abreast of any performance issues that may be developing.