How to Tell if You Need a New Roof

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It’s something that so many of us probably neglect to check on a regular basis, but when you consider that ‘having a roof over your head’ is just about the most essential thing in life for homeowners, it would be irresponsible not to keep on top of it (no pun intended). In many ways though it’s understandable. You might glance up at the roof every once in a while; when you’re backing out of the driveway on your way to work or arriving home with the shopping, but it’s very difficult to fully inspect the roof from underneath.

This is why it’s absolutely vital that you make a regular effort to inspect your roof so that more serious and expensive repairs don’t need to be made further down the road. Having a solid and attractive roof will also help if you decide to sell your home in future.

What to Look For?

It’s recommended (by the National Roofing Contractors Association no less) that you perform a thorough roof inspection at least twice a year during the spring and autumn. It’s best to start from the inside, as the interior of the roof is just as important as the exterior. So grab a torch, head into the loft and check:-

Any sections where the roof appears to be sagging.

Possible water damage or leaking.

Discoloured sections.

Signs of light from outside shining through into the loft.

Next you’ll want to move to the outside section of the roof, where you will obviously need to take more sensible precautions when it comes to keep safe. Make sure you have somebody holding the ladder on your way up and that there are no loose or missing shingles that you could slip up on. Also check for rot and algae growth, which will appear as dark green stains on the shingles. If it’s safe and you’re confident, and you have somebody you trust on hand to help you’ll need to check for the following on the outside:-

Check visually for cracked shingles or shingles that have become worn and discoloured. If there are any that are beyond repair, replace them.

Scan the entire roof for loose materials and any potential wear around vents, pipes, chimneys and other potential areas of penetration into your home.

Check for shingle granules in the gutters. They will manifest as large grains that look almost like clumps of sand and if you spot them, it likely means your shingles are very worn out indeed.

Look for signs of moisture, by far and away the most lethal cause of roof degradation. Remember that wet spots might not just be under the shingles. If there is a significant amount of moisture then you’ll need to act fast as bacteria can grow within just 48 hours.

Check the drainage, making sure that all the gutters are secure and that the drains are open and free of clutter and debris.

Finally, check that all vents are clear.

By performing these checks you should be able to ascertain whether or not the roof is beyond saving. But don’t jump the gun just yet. Even if there is significant water damage and mold, if your roof is less than 20 years old it can probably be repaired. Make a list of all the faults you have found in your checks and contact a local roofing firm such as Marcus Roofing, who should be able to give you a rough estimate.

Types of Roof

The material your roof is made of will determine when and if you need your roof replacing and also where you live. Wooden roofs for example, will split and fall apart in climates that are overly dry and will develop moss in moist climates. Wooden roofs will not last as long as tile or concrete roofs but are generally considered to be more aesthetically pleasing. Tile roofs are the most common and can last as long as 100 years, the only real problem with tile roofs is that one individual tile breaking can lead to a problem with the rest if the broken tile allows moisture into the roof to contaminate the rest of them. Concrete Flat Roofing meanwhile should last indefinitely but are obviously only logistically possible in a handful of specific situations.

Starting from Scratch

If a contractor agrees that your roof needs replacing you’ll want to keep a few things in mind when choosing materials. Slate and tile roofs for example might be more weather resistant, but they are also quite heavy so some house framing might not be strong enough to support it. Wooden roofs also are not particularly fire resistant, which could be a real problem if you live in an area with a lot of trees and brush.

Do it Yourself

Don’t even think about it! Roofing is a surprisingly complicated and skilled profession and chances are if you try to fix or replace your own roof, you’ll only end up making it worse!

Sarah Pinkerton

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