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How to Know a Roof Replacement is Needed

By Bill Gassett | December 7, 2022

If you find what looks like damage to your roof, you will probably be concerned. You don’t want the rain entering your home and doing untold damage. But wait a moment, before you start planning for a roof replacement, is the issue really that serious?

Replacement roofing can be expensive. Even if the roof has some noticeable problems, it might not need to be replaced just yet.

Replacement roofing could cost tens of thousands of dollars in some cases, so you should check for the signs you need a new roof first. There are things you should be looking out for with your roof, so you can prevent leaks before they happen.

If you see the following problems with your roof, it could be time for a roofing replacement:

Signs You Need a New Roof
What Are The Signs You Need a New Roof?

You Have An Old Roof

If the roof hasn’t been replaced for decades, it could be time now. However, some types of roofing material will last for longer than others. As a general guide, different materials have these life expectancy:

  • Asphalt shingles: 20 to 50 years
  • Wood shingles: 25 to 50 years
  • Metal: 40 to 80 years
  • Clay tiles: 50 to 100 years
  • Slate: 60 to 175 years

When your roof is near the end of its expected life, it might be time to replace it. With an asphalt shingle roof, it might be possible to simply overlay the new on the old. While this will save money on replacement costs, it isn’t always an option, however.

Sometimes this practice isn’t allowed, or if it has been done before, it could be too much weight on the roof structure. It can also reduce the life of the new shingle and isn’t going to be allowed by the manufacturer, voiding the warranty.

Removing the old roof could also reveal underlying problems that wouldn’t otherwise have been seen.

There are many things to know about replacing a roof. Educating yourself will ensure you make the best decisions possible.

There Are Signs of Damage

If you notice some damage to the roof that looks concerning, even if the roof isn’t that old, it could require replacement.

An asphalt or wooden shingle roof that has missing or warped shingles should be a concern. For other types of roofs, cracking is a bad sign, or finding missing and worn sections in the roof surface.

Pay more attention to sections that are more likely to suffer and show signs of issues. Parts of the roof that receive direct sunlight, or areas where rainwater can pool, are more important to check. Make sure the gutters are functioning as needed.

You Have Damaged Flashing

The flashing where the roof meets the chimney can wear out after about 30 years. If there is cracking or rust, water will more easily find its way through the gap into your home.

You Can See The Light of Day

If you check in the attic and notice daylight through the roof, it is a problem. Also, look out for damp or water stains that indicate a leaking roof.

There is Noticeable Sagging

If there is any sign of sagging, it suggests that the roof’s structure could be damaged. This will have happened because of water entering and will lead to replacement. If you can safely walk on the roof, any indication that it isn’t as firm as it should be is a sign of a serious problem.

The Roof is Becoming Overgrown

If the roof has things growing on it, this will be damaging to roof materials. Small plants growing on the roof will also attract insects and pests.

You might be able to clean the surface to remove the plants, and it might not have done too much damage. But if the roofing has pieces missing or cracking because of this, it could be a cause for replacement.

Also, cutting back branches that are close to or touching the roof, will prevent damage in stormy conditions when branches fall or rub against it.

Your Next Steps With Roof Replacement

If these issues are present with your roof, contact a local roofing contractor for their assessment. They might suggest repairs instead of a full roofing replacement, but it will give you a better understanding of the situation.

When there is a problem, don’t just go with the first roof company you contact. Getting multiple estimates will help you better choose the right company to use and make sure you don’t overpay.

Whether a roof replacement is needed or not, good maintenance of your roof can prevent many of these problems from happening in the first place.

For example, using a roof sealant every 5 years will prevent potential leaks before they happen.

You May Not Want to Replace The Roof When Selling

When selling a house, roofing issues are often identified by the buyer's home inspector. Although replacing the roof may seem like a logical course of action, it may be more beneficial to negotiate a seller's concession with the home buyer.

This could help to minimize costs and avoid recouping the full value of a roof replacement.

It is not unusual to be able to get a buyer to take a reduced concession off the price of the house or as a credit vs. doing a roof replacement. Negotiating a home inspection often involves give and take.

It is not uncommon for there to be monetary solutions when it comes to roofing.

Consult with your real estate agent if you plan on putting your home on the market in your roof's present condition.

Final Thoughts

While replacing a roof can be expensive, if you let an old or damaged roof become leaky, you can expect you'll have even more money to pay out correcting additional problems.

Water penetration into your home can cause mold issues to develop. Getting rid of mold can be expensive depending on how much accumulates.

Take care of your roofing issues when the signs are there that it needs replacement.

Bill Gassett is a thirty-six year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys writing helpful articles for buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Maximum Real Estate Exposure, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame and here at Realty Biz News. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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