How Long Does a Roof Last? 10 Signs You Need a New Roof

May 15, 2020

Are you asking, “How long does a roof last?” and wondering if you need a new roof? Read this article to learn signs you need a new roof. This article includes a basic guide to repairing your home from beginning to end.

Tile, copper, and slate roofs can last for 50 years. An asphalt shingle/composition roofs may be ready for replacement after only 20 years of service. These rules of thumb can vary as weather and climate can make a huge difference too.

"How long does a roof last?" Perhaps it's time you replaced it. Read on to learn 10 signs that you need a new roof.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

Different roofing materials come with advantages and disadvantages. One of the variables is the lifespan of the roof.

If you have documentation relating to the installation of the roof this may include information about the expected lifespan. You may even have a guarantee. This would be good to know if the roof needs repair within the life of the guarantee.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says roof inspections should include a check of skylights, gutters, and downspouts. Check your roof every three years.

Inspection and preventative maintenance could save you money in the long run. It's cheaper to clean your gutters out regularly and spot and solve small problems early than to replace your roof.

Take advice on picking a roofing contractor. They are not all the same and protecting the investment in your roof is important. Choose carefully.

  1. Ticking Clock

Every year that goes by means your roof is deteriorating. Even a proactive routine preventative maintenance schedule cannot prevent a roof from needing to be replaced at some time.

Checking how old the roof indicates whether it may need replacing. Compare the age with an expected lifespan. Increase inspections of the roof near its natural life expectancy or around 20 to 25 years old.

  1. Curling Shingles

The condition of shingles can indicate whether a new roof is needed. Curling or broken shingles suggest old age. They will soon cease to be an effective barrier to the weather so they need replacing.

The buckling of shingles could also indicate that there is something more fundamentally wrong.

  1. Valley Failure

The valleys on your roof are a potential weak point. This is where snow and rain collect. The valleys take more pressure than other parts of the roof so they can show the first signs of failure.

Look for any damage and gaps around the valleys. Any problems here could lead to leaks. Once leaks start they cause further damage including undermining the strength of the roof.

  1. AWOL Shingles

Any missing shingles can indicate a weakness in the integrity of the roof. A gap in the roof such as a missing shingle allows water into the roof space and to the building below. Have the missing shingle replaced immediately.

An occasional missing shingle may not indicate a major problem with the roof. On the other hand, an inspection of the shingles around the gap could reveal a potential problem. If other shingles look old or damaged the missing shingle might be the first of many to go AWOL and it might be a sign that you need a roof replacement.

  1. Flashing Failure

Flashing is the material used to create joints between different materials that make up your roof. For example, the joint between your roof and chimney is likely to have flashing keeping the area watertight.

There are several materials used as flashing. Roof cement or even tar can be used but these have a short life and are prone to leaks. Even if the rest of the roof is made of more durable material, poor quality flashing means the roof is weakened and will have a shorter life.

Have weakened flashing replaced with metal flashing to protect the roof and give it a longer life. If the flashing has failed and the roof becomes damaged a repair or replacement might be necessary. Include the use of good quality flashing in the new specification.

  1. Gutter Signs

Cleaning and checking gutters is a sensible part of routine maintenance. It will extend the life of your roof and help prevent damp and leaks. While checking guttering look for tell-tale signs that suggest your roof is reaching the end of its' natural life.

Shingle granules in your gutter indicate that the shingles are old and disintegrating. Granules suggest old shingles that may need replacing.

  1. Spongy or Sagging Roof

If you are able to walk on your roof you may notice a spongy or bouncy feel. This suggests that the underlying structure is weakening. The weakness may be caused by damp or structural failure.

An inspection of the roof could also reveal a sagging or droopy shape to the roof. The underlying structure may not by supporting the roofing material. This a sign that the underlying structure may not be robust enough to withstand severe weather events and needs replacement.

  1. Daylight

An internal inspection of the roof can also indicate problems. Inspect the attic. Any signs of light penetrating the roof could reveal a potential problem including leaks and gaps in the roofing material.

  1. Leaks and Streaks

Water leaks are not always as obvious as pools of water. A leak can be minor but the damage can be accumulative.

A leak can result in damp and can cause health problems for you and your family.

Look for damp areas in the roof space, walls, and floors. Streaks and discoloration in the fabric of the building also suggest the roof has a leak.

  1. Natural Signs

If the roof is not sound, it can cause moisture to collect in certain areas. Plants, moss, and mold can be attracted to this area. If you see this occurring you may have a problem with the roof including a need for a repair or replacement.

Roof Replacement

If you have to replace your roof start a regular inspection and preventative maintenance regime. How long does a roof last when you maintain it? Much longer than if you don't.

Browse our website for more home improvement tips.

David Sunnyside
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter, I merge my engineering expertise with digital marketing savvy to offer fresh perspectives on architecture and design. My technical background ensures our content's precision, while my dedication to meditation brings a mindful approach to our bustling digital presence. Join me in exploring the artistry and analytics of building spaces at Urban Splatter.

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