For something that hangs over our heads so often, we tend to take our roofs for granted. A well made and correctly installed roof can last you decades, but that doesn't mean they last forever. Here are a few of the more common signs that you can use to diagnose your ceiling-situation!
Water/Storm Damage and Leaks
This one is a pop-fly catch no brainer of a sign; if water is leaking through, then a repair is needed. If you notice a leak, or light coming through, address this immediately. You may have to grab a flashlight and head up to the attic to confirm this yourself. However, the leg work is worth it as even a small leak can develop into a much larger one given time or inclement weather. General rule of thumb is that if you see a leak on the inside of your home, the problem has existed for 1 to 3 years already.
2. Moss and Mold
As bad as a biblical flood in your home can be, water damage can take a quieter, more insidious approach in the form of trapped moisture. Moss on the exterior can be an indication of such, usually growing on the shadier parts of the roof. Although it may look harmless on the outside, this can mean that there is moisture underneath the surface and possibly mold or fungi growing. Severe cases of interior rot from moisture damage may cause your roof to droop or sag. This is an effect you can visibly notice and a clear indicator that a change is needed.
3. Missing, Curled, or Warped Shingles
When you look up at your roof, you should not see a single shingle out of place. They are the top layer of your roofing system and if they are no longer laying flat, you may need to think about repairs. Heavy storms and wind damage can do a lot to wear the shingles down over time as well as peeling them off the surface. This can lead to leaks or even worse damage to your home.
4. Missing Granules or "Bald Spots"
Even if the shingles on your roof aren't pulling away like a bad hangnail, they can get worn down in other ways. If you notice what looks like bald or patchy spots on your roof, this is most likely from missing granules. These are commonly found on asphalt shingles and will typically be worn off uniformly across your roof. However, wind and water can cause localized deterioration that sticks out like a sore thumb. You may look up and see streaks running down, this is known as delamination. For that reason, keep an eye on your downspouts; you'll know the roof is nearing its end when you see a large amount of granules in the run-off.
5. Cracked Flashing
Any seam between two surfaces can become a structural weak-point in your roofing system. Make sure to inspect for any separation between the step, pipe, and chimney flashing at any meeting points. If you notice any cracks or breaks in the flashing, consider having them replaced as soon as possible. If the damage is untreated long enough, it can lead to serious leaks come the next storm. If you have older flashings made from tar or cement, you may want to consider upgrading to steel flashings instead. Important flashings to note are those located around the chimney, vents, and skylights if you have them.
6. Old Roof, New Problems
Let's face it, success is 90% preparation. You can wait for the shingles to curl or a hard rain to come through the ceiling, but if you know your roof is getting on in age, it may be better to replace it before the damage is done. The average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is 20 years. This of course, is a luxury that comes with knowing the age of the roof, which is unfortunately difficult to ascertain for anyone buying a pre-existing home. If you know it's getting to be that time, then consider a roof replacement. But if you are unsure of the roof's age, use the tips listed above to figure out what your next steps should be.