When looking into a full roof replacement, the first thing to check is when your roof was installed and what material was used. For example, an asphalt shingle roof lasts approximately 20 to 25 years. If you're coming close to the end of your roofing material's life-span, it may be time to evaluate it's condition. If it is safe for you to do so, you can do a visual inspection of your rooftop. This is a simple way to make sure there are no immediately visible issues.
You'll want to take a look in the gutters and downspouts for shingle granules. A roof that's losing a lot of it's granules is probably deteriorated. If you just got a brand new asphalt shingle roof installed and you notice granules in the gutters, you don't need to be worried at all! Those are just the loose, extra ones and it's absolutely normal. However, if it's been 10 or 15 years, that might be a sign that the shingles are deteriorating from weather exposure or water retention.
Next, check to see if your roof shingles are laying flat against the roof. If you can see areas that are curled, cracked, or damaged then you probably need repairs. Curling happens in two distinct ways. Either the shingle is cupping, which happens when the edges of the shingles turn up. Then there is clawing, when this happens you'll see the edges of the shingles stay flat but the middle starts to bump out.
Cracked shingles are usually a result of wind and storm damage. When there's just a few shingles that are damaged, usually a patch or repair will do. Patching will work as long as the roof itself is in decent condition. Although, if it starts to look more like a patch-work quilt than a roof, it's time to replace the whole thing!
Moss, mold, and fungi are another indicator that there may be something amiss with a roof. Make sure to have your roof cleaned of any debris, and cut away any overhanging branches. You'll want to be careful when cleaning your roof not to remove the granules off of your shingles. They play an important role in keeping your roof intact and functioning properly.
Lastly, examine the flashing around your roof vents, chimney, and any skylights. You'll also want to check along any seams where the roof is against an exterior wall (like a dormer). You're looking to see that there are no cracks or breaks, as these could cause a potential leak. In older homes it's common for flashing to be roof cement or tar. If this is what you're see during your inspection, you might want to consider upgrading to a metal flashing system.
A few damaged shingles or a small leak, doesn’t automatically mean that you'll need a whole new roof! If your roof has been properly installed and maintained, you might only need a repair. If you are still unsure whether you it's a repair job or roof replacement, we can do a free estimate and let you know what our recommendation is.