Tell-Tale Signs That You May Need a New Roof

December 5, 2019

We ask a lot of our roofs and expect them to hold up without worry through rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind, and worse. However, years of exposure can cause even the best roof to develop problems — problems that can potentially result in serious damage to your home from mold or water damage.

The odds are, that if you perform regular maintenance as required and avoid damage from storms or other natural causes, your roof will provide you and your home the shelter you need for many years. But a problem ignored is one that’s bound to become worse over time, and a problem ignored with your roof could compound into a major expense if left unattended. Here are some signs that you shouldn’t ignore when inspecting your roof.

Read Your Shingles

The majority of homes have roofs that are clad with asphalt shingles. If everything is staying in place and you’re not finding shingles in your lawn or driveway you might be forgiven for assuming that everything’s fine with your roof. But it pays to take a closer look on occasion. If you do, you may detect some tell-tale signs that everything isn’t quite as good as it should be on top of your home.

Curled edges and more

Take a careful look when you’re working around the house for these signs that it may be time to talk to a roofing professional.

  • Curled edges – Your roof’s shingles should lay flat and overlap each other neatly. If the edges of the shingles are curled, or the shingles are bowed or wavy, they are near the end of their lifespan.

  • Cracks – Cracked shingles are bad news. It’s a clear sign that your shingles are at the end of their useful lifespan, and you should begin replacing them without delay. Cracked shingles are much more likely to allow water to get under the roof and begin causing serious damage.

  • Bald spots – When your shingles begin losing their coating the process of deterioration is well on its way. Keep your eyes open for bald spots, and if you’re cleaning the gutters note if you’re seeing an abundance of granules from the shingle coating.

Mold and algae

Don’t panic if an inspection of your roof reveals the growth of mold or dark stains associated with algae. These problems in and of themselves aren’t necessarily indicative of damage to your roof. But if you’re worried about the appearance of your home you should take some time to tackle the problem.

In most cases, some high-pressure water and maybe a little scrubbing will take care of mold and algae. Be sure that you don’t spray underneath the shingles and possibly loosen them if you’re using a pressure washer. And if you’re not confident about working on your roof, consider hiring a pro to do the job.


One of the leading causes of roof failure doesn’t require a keen eye — only good record keeping. Take a look at your home files and see when the last time the shingles on your roof were replaced. Most shingles have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, so if you’re reaching the end of that time span, it’s a good idea to start planning ahead.

Other Exterior Signs

We’ve concentrated our vision so far on issues you may detect with asphalt shingles. But there are other types of roofs and other roofing issues that deserve your attention as well. Let’s take a moment to examine some other exterior signs of trouble that may mean trouble down the road for your home.

Rot and Decay

If you have a wood roof, like those covered with cedar shakes, rot is a problem that you should pay careful attention to. But rot can be a problem that’s not immediately obvious too. If you detect cracked or decomposing wooden shingles, get the roof inspected right away. And if you’ve had regular shingles come loose, water may have soaked into the sub-roofing material, creating conditions that can lead to rot.

Damaged Flashing

Your flashing prevents water from entering your home from the seams around pipes, vents, skylights, and other openings in the roof. Much flashing work is done with tar or roof cement, which can deteriorate over time, allowing water in. If you’re having flashing repaired, consider upgrading to metal flashing, which is much more durable.

Take a Look Inside

Inspecting the exterior of your home’s roof is important, but if you want to be sure you don’t have a serious problem with your home’s lid, be sure to pay attention to signs of potential problems that are detectable inside. Inspect your home for issues on a regular basis and be alert for warnings that there’s work to be done.

Do you see daylight?
It pays to take a trip to your attic to look for issues. While you’re there, shut off the flashlight and take a good look around, particularly at the junctions between the walls and roof, and around areas like standpipes and chimneys. If you see gaps that let daylight through, you’ve got areas of concern that can allow in water, starting a chain-reaction of damage. Consult with a roofing professional to fix any issues you find.

Sags and Structural Issues
While you’re inspecting the roof from the inside, be on the lookout for structural issues. Inspect the panels between the trusses and be alert for any sagging or signs of rot and water damage. While you’re looking, check your trusses for signs of sagging or cracking as well. If your roof has been put under stress from high winds or heavy rains, damage can occur to the structure. If in doubt, get a roofing professional to perform an inspection.

Water Damage and Rot
If your inspection reveals areas where water has entered your attic check the integrity of the wood. If it flakes away easily or is soft enough for a screwdriver to easily enter it you have a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Consult a roofing professional right away.

Stains and Streaks
When you’ve descended from the attic, take stock of what you see around the house. If unexpected stains and streaks are showing up on the ceiling, there is a good chance that you’ve got a leak somewhere up above. If the problem is severe enough that it’s causing stains and streaks, then it requires immediate attention. Get back up to the attic and scout around to see if you can find the source of the leak. If you can’t, don’t delay, get a roofing professional on the job.

Repair or Replace?

Damage to your roof doesn’t always mean that you need a complete roof replacement. If the problems are limited to a few shingles or you’re only experiencing a minor leak you may be able to get by just fine with some simple repairs.

When you’re deciding how to approach a problem with your roof it’s important to tap into the expertise of experienced professionals with the knowledge to apply the right solution to your problem. Contact our team, and we’ll figure out the best way to help you keep your roof (and home) happy. Quotes are free, so contact us right away.

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One comment on “Tell-Tale Signs That You May Need a New Roof”

  1. Thank you for mentioning how water may be able to penetrate your roof if you see light shining through small openings around your walls and roofing. My wife and I recently noticed that we did not need to use a flashlight when we were cleaning the antique furniture our attic last weekend because there was plenty of sunlight shining through our ceiling during the day. Maybe we should find a roofing contractor that can help us fix our roofing system.


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