Is it Time to Replace My Old Roof?

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This is a discussion for the ages and one of the biggest challenge’s homeowners face. Look, I get it. Who the heck wants to spend their hard, earned dollars on something so uninspiring as roof replacement! Believe it or not as roofing product design, color selection and technology have evolved a new roof can have a significant impact on your home’s appearance and value! 

Here are the reasons you should be replacing your roof. Yes, waiting until you have visible or structural damage is one of them but it is the absolute wrong reason. You wouldn’t drive on tires that are worn to the radials because disaster can happen. Ask yourself, why would you do this to the most significant structure on your home, the roof? It literally protects every other part of the home! 

  1. Age – age is the number one reason you should be replacing your roof, shingles manufactured prior to 2005 were designed to last roughly 15 years. If your home was built before 2005 and has not had its roof replaced, consider yourself lucky. But it is time to bite the bullet. The granules on your shingle are there for a reason, to protect the lower layers of the shingle. Fact, they simply wear away over time. Replace it before it starts leaking! 
  1. Improperly Installed Roofs – The number of ways roofs can be installed improperly is infinite so I will save that for a separate discussion. According to roof shingle manufacturers over 90% of roof related warranty claims fail due to improper installation. I know you don’t want to hear this but, fewer than 3% of installers are certified by the manufacturer. What this means to you is that warranty you hear about is different than advertised. We see shortcuts being taken by installers every day. This leads to product failure in as little as a few years, I’m talking about products that are designed and advertised to last anywhere from 20 to 50 years when installed properly. 
  1. Wind Damage – Most often this leads back to improper installation, but not always. If you see missing or creased shingles, it’s time. The adhesive seal on your shingle has failed. I know the urge is to repair or patch it. “It saves me money”. Does it really? I was speaking with my neighbor today who patched his roof (we won’t do roof repair, if we can’t warranty it we won’t do it) recently around his skylights and paid good money to do so. Less than two months later he now knows he needs to replace the roof. Was that money well spent? Locating the source of a leak is very challenging, water always takes the path of least resistance. A leak starts in one location and shows up a great distance away! Point being you can repair an area you believe a leak is coming from and it is actually originating somewhere else. 
  1. Improperly ventilated attic – Improperly ventilated attic spaces will cause your roof shingle to bake from the inside out. In home building we didn’t have an appreciation for attic ventilation until recent times. This is in part due to life expectancy of roof shingles prior to 2005. In order for your roof to perform and last as promised it must meet the manufacturers requirement for net free air space in your attic. Otherwise your roof will fail a warranty inspection. In simple terms it must have proper intake and exhaust without cross ventilation. A qualified roofer will walk you through the process. There are obvious signs on your shingles of improperly ventilated attic spaces or excessive heat. Blistering, cupping, curling, cracking and deteriorating shingles are signs of improper attic ventilation or excessive heat in your attic space. 
  1. Algae, Lichens, Moss – Your homes environment has much to do with algae, Moss and Lichens growing on your shingles. Homes that are in climates with high rainfall totals and are in heavily wooded areas will have more issues than folks that do not live in these conditions. That being said, we are all susceptible to these conditions. Although algae growth (black streaks on your shingles) are not a reason to replace your roof it is a sign of age especially on homes with little tree canopy coverage. If you have moss, lichens and algae growth (which is frequently seen together) chances are it is time to replace. All of these conditions cause the roof to retain moisture and will eventually lead to leaking.  
  1. Leaking – The big one! Where is that pesky leak coming from. Why is it leaking? Your typical roof leak(s) can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to show up in the ceiling of your home. If you don’t inspect your roof from inside your attic space once or twice a year, it can lead to big problems. Your insulation and roof structure can absorb moisture like a sponge. Once they can no longer absorb the moisture you start to see dark spots in your drywall. This leads to mold, mold remediation, sagging roof decking, structural damage to the trusses, damaged structural integrity of your walls and foundation, insulation replacement, damaged drywall, damaged carpet, damaged furniture and more if left unchecked. At the end of the day you will still need to replace your roof and repair all of the damage caused by a leaking roof. This can and will lead to tens of thousands of additional repair costs that would have been avoided had you replaced your roof when it had exceeded its life expectancy. I literally had to remove a baby pool from a client’s roof that had been placed there to catch the leak. Charles and I became friends, but really???? SMH 

On a sperate note, we will never roof over an existing roof. If your roof needs replacing and you roof over your existing problems you are asking for trouble. Although manufacturers tell you it does not void the shingle warranty, it’s the perfect out for them if you have issues down the road. For me as a roofer, not tearing off the old failing roof materials doesn’t allow me to see and address the real problems. I want to tear the roof coverings off, inspect all of your ridges, hips valley, side walls, skylights, chimneys and penetrations. Only now can I have an exact understanding of what we are dealing with, everything else is a guesstimate! You wouldn’t take your car to the autobody shop and ask them to paint over the dents and rust would you? Why would you do that to your most valuable investment, your family’s home? 

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