Many homeowners don't pay much attention to their roofing, until there's an obvious problem, which can include water leaking, lose or missing shingles or tiles, or damage from snow and ice. Knowing when to replace your roof is important, and whether it's more cost effective to replace it or repair it.
However, your roof may last as long as you live in the house. Asphalt is the most common roofing material in use today, and it should last between 15 and 30 years, perhaps even longer. You can expect to enjoy at least 30 years of use from your roof according most roofing companies if it's constructed from wood shingles, and a metal roof should last up to 70 years. And if your home has a roof made from slate tiles, you should never have to think about replacing it, as it should last 100 years. If you're buying a home, it's definitely a bonus if the roof has been installed recently and overall seems to be in good condition. If you live in an area of houses of a similar age and more than a few of your neighbors are replacing their roof, yours may be next.
One thing you should do is have your roofing professionally inspected every year, ideally in the fall and spring. Some obvious signs of roof damage you can spot yourself, although it often takes a roofing professional to see the less obvious signs. A thorough inspection should focus on identifying any sagging, leaks or rot on your roof, along with any condensation or mold. It's also important to check the flash and the guttering, as well as the underside of your roof. You should expect to pay between $200 and $600 to have your roof inspected, depending on where you live, and the size and type of roof. In general, if at least 35 percent of your roof is damaged or worn or clearly needs to be repaired, replacing the entire roof is more cost effective than repairing those areas.
So how do you know when it's time for a new roof? If your roof is getting towards the end of its anticipated lifespan, it may be time for a new one, especially if you find yourself having to make small repairs constantly. After a while, it's more cost effective to pay for a new roof than keep spending money on repairs. And of course, you also have the very real risk that a roof that is nearing the end of its life is more likely to suffer from catastrophic damage, often causing damage to the inside of your home too. Where you live also makes a big difference too; roofing in Texas and Florida for example, is more likely to suffer weather damage than roofing in various other parts of the country.
There are other signs to look for that it may be time to replace your roofing. One common sign of an older roof that may need replacing is shingles that are curling; shingles that are worn or cracked may also mean it's time to consider a new roof. Cracks in your roofing can worsen over time, leading to a leaking roof which can then potentially cause a lot of damage inside your home. Look for moss or algae growing on your roof, which is not just unsightly; the moisture that's retained can cause damage to the shingles over time. A dirty looking roof or dark stains can be signs of algae or moss, especially in humid parts of the country.
A leaking roof is an obvious sign that it may be time to replace your roofing, or at least to carry out some repairs. One of the easiest ways to check for leaks is simply to inspect your attic carefully after heavy rain. Leaks often happen around skylights or vents and even if you can't actually see any leaks, sagging roofing may be a sign that it's leaking. If your roof leaks in one small place, it's an easy enough fix; if you have more leaks than you can keep track of and your roof is an older one, it may well be time to replace it.
The roofing on your house is one of the most important parts of your home and it definitely pays to take care of it. Regular and thorough inspections can help to identify roofing issues before they become worse and can help to prolong the life of your roof. And knowing when it's time to replace your roof rather than continue to spend money on repairs is important.