Do I need a new roof?

Sometimes a roof can naturally reach the end of its useful life without experiencing a roof failure. It just looks old and worn, and you are doing preventive maintenance on your home. If replacing an old roof is delayed, however, it could result in bigger problems down the road. So watch for the warning signs to be sure to give yourself plenty of time to add the project to your TO DO list.


Potential signs that your roof may need to be replaced:

Shingle edges are curled or shingle tabs are cupped.

Cracked asphalt roofing shingles

Your roof is at least 20 years old; while many shingles today are produced for durability, many factors can accelerate the aging of shingles. For example, if your roof is not properly ventilated, it can negatively impact your shingles.

The roof just looks old and worn.

Visible signs of aging on a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof

Neighbors are getting new roofs. Homes built around the same time period can be experiencing the same types of weather conditions can mean that your roof is nearing its useful life.

Dark streaks. Airborne algae cause dark streaks on roof decks. While this may not necessarily harm the roof shingles, it may not look good. Algae streaks can be removed using a 50:50 blend of water and bleach sprayed on your roof. It is important to use a low volume garden hose so you do not knock the protective granules off your shingles. It is also important that you protect your landscaping from the bleach run-off.

3-tab asphalt roofing shingles with algae/dark stains

Moss can grow on roof surfaces that don’t get much sunlight, especially in cool, moist climates. Moss growth can be more than a cosmetic issue. Moss holds moisture against the roof surface and overtime in freezing climates can cause damage to the granules on the top of the shingles. Moss can be brushed off but it won’t prevent it from growing again; take care not to damage the shingle surface. You may need to contact a professional roofing contractor.

Moss growing on asphalt roofing shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles with missing granules

7 Warning Signs You Need a New Roof

Crumbling, buckling and curling asphalt shingles are a sure sign you need a new roof. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Richard S., Madison, Wisconsin)

Is it time to repair or replace your old roof? Look for these red flags before calling a roofer.

Most homeowners figure they need a new roof after they spot a leak in their ceiling. This leak could be due to many different roofing problems. But, what factors really determine whether a roof repair will solve the problem or the house needs a roof replacement?

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Here are some tips to help you determine if you need a new roof:

1. Roof age

How old is your existing asphalt shingle roof? Most experts agree that a typical roof will last between 20 and 25 years. It also depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one layer of shingles, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof.

SHOP NOW: Is your roof in need of an upgrade? Shop roofing offers from companies in your area.

Video: Avoid Roof Repairs with Regular Inspections

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2. Shingles curling and buckling

Shingles that are curled or buckling are another sign that you may need a new roof. Look at the slopes of your home that get direct sunlight and if you notice the shingles are curling and losing granules, it could mean the shingles are past their life expectancy. There could also be a possibility that the roof is defective. Contact a licensed roofing contractor to see if you could be eligible for reimbursement.

RELATED: Is That Roofer Telling You the Truth?

3. Roof valleys

If your roof shingles are falling apart or missing in this area, it's a definite sign you need a new roof. Valleys are one of the most important areas of your roof. Snow and rain flow through valleys and into gutters. If the valley is compromised, you could be susceptible to roof leaks.

4. Missing shingles

These are another sign your roof could be failing. Check to see if all of the shingle “tabs” are intact.

This homeowner noticed missing shingles after a storm and ended up needing a new roof. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Krista M. of Lexington Park, Maryland)

5. Chimney flashing

This is another area to be concerned about. If your flashing consists of roof cement or tar, it may need to be replaced with a long-term, water-tight fitting, which would be a metal flashing system.

6. Shingle granules in the gutters

Look in your gutters to see whether they are loaded up with shingle granules. Roofs tend to lose more granules toward the end of their life cycle. Inconsistant or darker color on some parts of the roof is another sign the granules have worn away.

7. Daylight through the roof boards

You notice a spongy feel or trampoline bounce when walking on the roof, which means the underlying decking is weakened from moisture. Check your attic to see if there is any daylight coming through the roof boards. Also check for moisture in the insulation.

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