When installed properly, a solid roof will last for years, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to aging. Like any external feature, your home’s roof is perpetually exposed to the elements, which over time take their toll. Some roof damage can be hard to spot because of its subtlety, but once you’ve learned the basic signs it’s simple to determine when it’s time to call in a roofing company for a replacement.

Check Your Records

Holding onto receipts isn’t just useful for doing your taxes. It can also reveal important information about the structural health of your home. Before you grab your ladder, determining whether or not it’s time for a roof replacement can be as simple as checking that last time you had a roof company visit.

While a roof’s lifespan can vary a bit depending upon construction materials, whether the roof is angled or flat, as well as local weather, there is a general timeline. Independent of these factors, a roof will last about 20 to 25 years, not counting spot fixes to randomly loosened shingles and other situational repairs. If the roof was installed over several layers of older material and falls within the 20-15 year range, it’s definitely time to have it replaced.

The Attic

It’s possible to detect roof damage without ever leaving your house. Positioned closest to the roof, your attic is the first indoor space to be impacted by any damage due to age. Old roofs develop gaps and cracks that allow rainwater to work its way indoors, leading to water damage in the underlying beams and ceiling.

Considering that roughly 40 percent of building problems result from water damage, it’s economically essential to replace old roofing before this problem spreads beyond into other parts of the home. Therefore, check your attic regularly for signs that water may be entering through an old roof. These can include wet spots and dripping from the beams, pools of water, and the presence of mold or mildew.

Buckled and Curled Shingles

One of the easiest ways to spot an old roof can be done right from your front lawn. Shingles are overlapping panels that are primarily used on sloped or angled roofs. Made in everything from wood, stone, asphalt, and even plastic, shingles help to protect the underlying structure of the roof from the elements and assist in guiding rainwater safely to the ground or to your home’s gutter system.

As shingles age, they begin to loosen from the underlying roof. The clearest sign of this is shingles that appear curled or buckled against the flat surface beneath, as well as if any are missing outright. If that is the case, it’s time to call in a roofing company and have these vital components replaced.

Shingle granules

While checking shingles from the ground can provide valuable information, it won’t reveal smaller signs that your roof is showing its age. Should you have time and a ladder, it’s also worth checking the gutter for deposits of granules which wear off from the shingles as they age. Small quantities are to be expected, but large groups of granules are a clear sign that your roof needs a replacement. As an added threat, excess roof granules can easily clog your gutters which further increases the likelihood of water damage over time.

Let the Sun Shine

While you’re checking your gutters, you may have noticed that the roof surface beneath your feet feels bouncy or spongy. If your roof is starting to feel like a trampoline, it’s a clear indication that the underlying decking has been compromised. This typically happens due to water damage over time.

You can confirm whether or not this is the case by returning to the attic. Firstly, if you noticed any moisture in the insulation during your initial check for water damage, that is a clear sign that a problem is present. Secondly, scan the room to see if sunlight is entering through the roof boards. If so, your roof has passed its prime and must be replaced. This is especially important if you have solar panels on your roof. If you think the electrical system in your ceiling might be compromised, it’s important to call a company like Royalty Plumbing and Gas for help.

The Price of Waiting

Many homeowners put off roof replacement because of the initial sticker shock, not realizing that waiting will only cost them thousands more in the long run. A functioning roof is essential for keeping the elements out of your home. Problems at the top of the house will eventually work their way to the floors below, leading to thousands of dollars in structural damage. If your roof is showing signs of age, have a roofing company replace it before the problem extends to other areas of your home.