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WARNING Signs You Need a New Roof (What to Look For)

November 4, 2020

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Never overlook warning signs that you need a new roof for your home! Roof damage only gets more extensive over time, increasing the risk of interior water leaks, structural damage, and unhealthy mold growth. A home’s roof also helps insulate the home; leaks and holes let out your heating and cooling while letting in hot air and cold drafts!

Common warning signs you need a new roof include:

  • Missing Shingles
  • Dark, dirty spots
  • Falling granules
  • Sagging areas
  • Buckling or splitting shingles
  • Water damage inside the home
  • Increased utility costs
  • The roof is more than 20 years old

One challenge faced by even the most responsible homeowner is not being able to spot these signs, or not realizing that they might indicate that it’s time for a new roof. To ensure you keep your home in good repair year after year, consider some added details about these often-overlooked signs that you need a new roof overhead.

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1. Missing Shingles? It’s Probably Time for a New Roof

A few missing shingles after a strong storm is not unusual and might not indicate that it’s time for a new roof altogether. However, older shingles tend to dry out and then crack and fall away from the roof; when this happens, it’s time for a full-scale roof replacement!

As shingles pull away from the roof, they also tend to pull out nails and other connectors. You might then notice loose nails in the home’s gutters or along the lawn, or see those nails popping and pulling away from the roof rather than staying firmly in place.

Having large sections of missing shingles, even after a storm, can also indicate damaged decking, torn roof felt, insulation or sagging areas. Those layers of materials all rely on each other for strength and stability; once any of them suffer damage or wear, shingles might come loose and fall away, indicating that it’s time for a new roof.

2. Those Dark Spots on the Roof Might Not Be Dirt, But Worn Shingles!

Shingle granules reduce the risk of standing water on a roof’s surface; standing water puts added weight on the roof and increases the risk of interior water damage, which is why you want to replace shingles missing their granules as soon as possible! A dark and seemingly dirty roof might only need a thorough power washing, but sometimes those dark, grayish areas along a roof’s surface indicate missing shingle granules, not dirt!

When granules fall away from shingles, this exposes their naturally dark color, giving your roof a dirty and stained appearance. A roof inspection can tell you if dark spots are dirt or missing granules, but consider if the roof still seems dirty even after power washing. Don’t assume your pressure washing company did a poor-quality job, but have the roof checked for damaged shingles and needed replacement instead!

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3.  Granules In the Gutters and Lawn Mean It’s Time for a New Roof

As granules fall away from old, worn shingles, they not only leave behind dark areas on the roof but also tend to wind up in gutters, along your lawn, and on top of landscaping features! Never overlook granules or any sandy, gritty residues you might notice when cleaning the home’s gutters.

You also don’t want to ignore gritty debris on your lawn, and especially those scattered along the grass and landscaping features near the home. If you notice granules in the home’s gutters or on your property, or other signs that roof shingles are missing their granules and need replacing, schedule a roof inspection right away.

4. Schedule a Roof Replacement at the First Sign of Sagging!

A sagging roof might indicate a poor-quality roof installation, damaged roof decking, or interior structural damage including split roof rafters and joists or sheared connectors. Too much weight on the roof, such as from heavy snow and ice or an added roof layer, can also lead to sagging spots.

Whatever the cause, never overlook sagging, uneven spots, or dips in the home’s roof. Once a roof starts to sag it’s at risk of collapsing, leading to costly structural damage, interior water damage, damage to items underneath the collapsed area, and physical injury to anyone below. Avoid these risks by scheduling a roof inspection at the first sign of sagging or unevenness.

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5. Buckling Shingles Need Immediate Repair or Replacement

As shingles age, they tend to dry out and then buckle or curl, pulling away from the roof and each other. Water damage also causes shingles to curl up; you might notice this along a roof’s edge, where shingles absorb water from clogged gutters.

Buckled shingles allow water to seep in below their surface, risking damage to roofing felt, insulating foam, the roof decking, and other materials, as well as cracks in the roof and resultant interior water damage. Those buckled shingles are also at risk of pulling away from the roof and getting blown away in a storm. To avoid these costly risks, schedule a roof inspection as soon as you notice buckled, curled shingles.

6. Check Inside the Home for Signs of Roof Damage!

If you notice water stains on the ceiling or along walls in the home’s attic or second story, first check for plumbing leaks; once you’ve ruled out a plumbing issue, it’s time for a roof inspection! Roof cracks and holes let in moisture and humidity which is then absorbed by drywall and ceiling tiles, resulting in water stains, broken ceiling pieces, and even mold growth.

Even if you don’t notice water stains on the ceiling, an overly humid or damp, musty feeling in the attic or upper stories can also indicate a roof leak and needed roof replacement. Cracks and holes in the roof let in humidity and moisture, which then get trapped in those upper stories. Don’t assume that attics are just naturally musty or try to address the problem with a dehumidifier, but schedule a roof inspection for potential repairs instead.

7. A Damaged Roof Increases Your Utility Costs

A roof plays a major part in a home’s overall insulation; a high-quality roof in good repair keeps out heat, cold, and humidity, while keeping in your heating and cooling. On the other hand, roof holes and cracks let in heat and cold and let out your heated and cooled air, keeping your appliances cycling on longer than usual and spiking your utility costs!

If you’ve noticed a sudden increase in your utility bills, first note if your local power company has raised their rates or if you’re using the HVAC system more frequently for some reason; if not, it’s time for a roof inspection! Patching up holes and replacing worn shingles means a more energy-efficient home and comfortable interior, less wear and tear on your furnace and air conditioner, and lower utility costs overall.

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8. How Old Is the Home’s Roof?

Most shingled roofs last no more than 20 or 25 years, and homes in areas with severe weather conditions including harsh sunlight, high heat, and strong storms might need reroofing even sooner. Even if you don’t necessarily see signs of roof damage and wear, it’s vital that you schedule a roof inspection if the roof is just ten years old, and especially if it’s already 15 to 20 years old.

If you’re hesitant about contacting a roofing company, remember that an inspection doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to schedule a roof replacement right away! A roofing contractor can note signs of wear and needed repairs, and then also estimate the roof’s lifespan. He or she can note if your home might need reroofing in the next year or two, or if the roof is in excellent condition and might last for several years before it needs replacing.

Now that you’ve reviewed a few common warning signs that you need a new roof, you might consider some added questions about keeping that roof in good repair:

What Do I Do If I Suspect My Roof Is Leaking?

If you suspect your roof is leaking, your first and most critical step is to stop that leak or source of water. Cover the roof with a tarp or plastic sheeting; use roofing nails to keep it in place as needed. Inside the home, cover anything that might suffer water damage as well; at the very least, move furniture and other items out from under a leak, and put a bucket or pan under it to capture water coming through the roof.

Next, call a 24-hour roofer or one that offers emergency roof repairs. A roof leak can risk interior water damage, mold growth, and even a collapsed roof, so don’t put off that call! The longer you ignore that leak, the costlier and more extensive those repairs are, so call a roofer once you suspect or know that your home’s roof is leaking.

What Is Considered Roof Damage?

Signs of wind damage include missing or curled shingles, stripped granules, and damaged or missing flashing. Interior water leaks also indicate roof damage.

If you’re curious as to whether or not your homeowner’s insurance will pay for such damage, review your policy and check with your agent. Also, ensure you keep records of all quotes for repairs as well as anything else related to your claim such as weather reports, roofing warranties and guarantees, and the like.

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How Long Does It Take to Tear Off and Replace a Roof?

The time it takes to remove and replace a roof depends on the roof’s overall shape and size, number of roofers on the crew, and if the roof needs decking repair and other such work. In some cases, it can take as little as one day to tear off and replace an asphalt shingle roof on an average-sized home!

Consider that a roofing crew of 5 or 6 can tear off and replace up to 50 “squares” of tiles in a day. A square in roofing terms refers to 100 square feet of tile, or a 10-foot by 10-foot surface. This estimate is assuming that a roof is relatively flat and without lots of obstructions such as dormers, skylights, and the like.

Replacing damaged decking, roofing paper, and other such materials adds to this timeline, and inclement weather can stop a roofing job in its tracks at any time! However, most residential roof tear-off and replacement jobs are done within just a few short days.

Whatever the timeline, ensure you note these warning signs that you need a new roof and schedule an inspection and needed repairs as quickly as possible. An old, damaged roof means interior water damage and mold growth, while a new roof in good repair protects your home and ensures a comfortable interior environment as well as enhanced curb appeal for your property!

A Word From Our Roofing Experts in Rhode Island

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Here at The Rhode Island Roofers, we are dedicated to ensuring that all area homeowners have a solid roof in good repair overhead! Call us if you see any of these warning signs that your home needs a roof replacement, so we can schedule your no-hassle, no-obligation inspection as soon as possible.

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