There are bunch of different ways to tell and the biggest one is age. If you have had a shingle roof for over 20 years then it’s likely time to get a new one. We see that the average lifespan of roofs is about 8 to 15 years but some people are able to get up to 30 years out of their shingles. Just remember it’s always better to do it sooner rather than later and I’m giving you that advice as your friend because I’ve seen too many people who simply did not want to pay for a new roof wait until it was too late and in many cases it has devastating consequences.
When trying to figure out how old your roof is and if it needs replaced look for shingles that are lifting up or any damage to the roof that makes the shingles not lie completely flat to the wood beneath. If the surface of your roof does not appear to be completely flat and it seems that there is a dimensional waviness to the wood beneath the shingles then it is absolutely time to get a roof. To those of you you don’t really know what I’m talking about don’t have to worry about anything. Whenever I hear somebody on the phone tell me that there shingles look wavy I know that they are in dire need of a new roof. It’s so weird it just seems like the only word that there is to describe moist wood is wavy shingles.
It really isn’t rocket science but you do want to be very careful and be very sure that you need a new roof because it’s a large investment. Put very simply, the exterior inspection of a roof comes down to obvious physical ambiguities that would cause a leak. Don’t treat your roof like a basketball court. In basketball it’s okay if your outdoor cord is cracked and the lines are faded and a bit uneven. You can still play basketball on it just fine. That is not the case with roofing systems. Roofs are nothing more than a quarter to half-inch barrier of recycled sawdust, ceramic beads, oil, and wood between you and the outside elements. One simple crack is all that is needed and even if you don’t see leaking on the inside you are still getting leaking somewhere. Guaranteed.
Additionally when looking at the shingles up close try to determine whether the protective granules have become eroded and exposed the interior oil of the shingles. If there are a ton of ceramic granules in your gutters, this is not a good indication that your roof has a long life left. Also examine the flashing. If you’re not familiar with what flashing is, it’s the shiny metal stuff that is often nailed down to seal tiny gaps between areas where the roof meets a wall or chimney. Sometimes the flashing has been painted butt just look for really cheap and stand looking metal. That’s the flashing. This as well as the rest of the inspection is not rocket science. If it looks like your flashing is old, and I don’t mean deteriorating because it’s metal, then imagine how old you’re shingles must feel.
The interior inspection takes a little bit more knowledge but certainly isn’t Beyond learning in a small blog post. Scan the underside of the roof sheathing which is the wood beneath the shingles for any new signs of water standing. Obvious signs of new water standing are dark in color, Einstein told me that LOL. It’s possible that the roof was leaking at one time and was repaired and water stains are still visible. Older water stains are much more difficult to gauge the seriousness. It’s one thing if you already knew that there was a leak there and fifteen years ago replace your roof and that’s what stop the leaking. There will still be visible staining to the wood in the same patterns that newly created watermarks on wood manifest themselves as. The difference is that older water stains will of your lighter and often times even White. Also look at the nail pattern along you’re shingles. Nails should be placed in straight lines from the eve of your roof to the Peak. Examine how much of each nail you can see. In a newly-installed roof the nails have all been push to the same length through the season and the length of nail that penetrates and is visible in the Attic should be equal throughout your entire roof. An older roofs the nails begin to work themselves back out due to weathering and expansion and contraction due to temperature variances. You don’t have to be too concerned about the amount of mail that you actually see but rather focus on the variation of male deaths. So if you see a bunch of nails that have a quarter-inch expose and you see a bunch that are just barely peeking out and maybe have a 32nd of an inch exposed, that’s bad news. You likely have throughout your roof many nails better work themselves completely out and left the shingle to fend for itself on a slippery surface.
Those are the most important indications of the severity of a roof replacement. If you really want to know an exact number of years on your roof then you probably need one right now. I’ve been doing this for a very long time and the only type of people who Grill me about an exact remaining life span of a roof are those people who aren’t willing to listen that they need a new roof, simply can’t afford it, or just plain mean.