How To Tell When Your Roof Needs Replaced

Never take having a roof over your head for granted. Aggressive homeowners who are do-it-yourselfers may get up on their roof a couple of times a year to clean gutters or some other type of maintenance. In reality though, how many homeowners check the roof of their homes to inspect the condition? Of those individuals, how many know what the signs of excessive damage or wear and tear are that indicate a need for repairs? When do the repairs needed indicate a need for complete replacement of the roof?

No Inspection Required

Sometimes the roof will tell you everything you need to know without performing an inspection. Truth be told; this is how most people find out they need a roof replaced. When the rainy season comes in, and the storm clouds let loose their payload you may discover that all is not well on the home front.

When you are inside of your home during a rain storm, and you notice water running down the interior walls of your home or dripping from your ceiling, then you have a problem. To exasperate the seriousness of the problem, when you have multiple leaks and the ceiling in your living room begins to sag or become discolored it is time to call a professional. These types of multiple leak problems may not mean the entire roof needs replaced because water can travel down rafters, and one leak may actually cause many problems. Even if this is the case, the roof is put on as a unit and has probably reached an age that requires a preventative replacement. Doing spot repairs one after another can cause more damage and be more costly over the long haul.

Roof Considerations/Variables

From the outside roofs can appear to be all the same with sloped apexes making up the majority of forms seen. Where variances lie is underneath of the roofs and the type of covering used to shield the exterior of the home. Some homes have shingles while others may have some tin or even clay tile covering. There is a significant difference in roofs once you open the front door of the home and look up. Some homes have vaulted ceilings, others have dropped ceilings, while many homes have a combination of each. Mobile homes typically have flat roofs with a slight grade and are made with very simple designs.

Regardless of the design of your roof there are indicators that you may need to get out in front of any problems. You need to be aware of different variations in architecture that will compel you to take earlier action than you had to take in a previous home. Homes that have vaulted ceilings or are located in extreme weather zones require different attention than a standard apex roof in the hills of the Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains. Salty sea air corrodes metal at exponentially faster rates than inland air. Rusted nails allow shingles to get loose, especially with steady hot and cool wind blowing in from the ocean. Roofs with vaulted ceilings have fewer support beams per square foot than the flat, sloped roof of a trailer. Vaulted ceilings can come under heavy stress in snow or torrential rain. Constant stress causes the wood support truss to give over time and splintering turns into breaks very quickly.

Inspect Your Home

Inspecting your home should be done once a year at least and even more often if the weather has been extreme. Anytime there is a concern that the weather has created conditions for your home to have suffered unusual stress you should examine your roof.

There are several visual inspections you can perform on your roof if you know what to look for. Just because you do not have any leaks does not mean there are no issues. If you have an attic or can quickly access your roof in a safe manner to at least get a bird’s eye view of it, you can look for a few key indicators.

When the roof has shingles, clay tiles, or other laminate covering, they can become loose in a way that allows water to seep underneath them and soak into the wood underlayment. As the water settles into the wood, it causes warping and rot over time. The warping can cause the wood to rise and fall in irregular patterns that give your roof a wave-like appearance. There is no hard rule for how the wood will react to the water damage, it may curl in or out and break the seams where it butts up to other wood allowing more water to break into the layers above your ceiling. If the wood is water resistant mold can still build up or the water that runs into the rest of the house can cause other damage. Eventually, the wetting of the wood along with the heating/cooling of the roof throughout the seasons will require more significant repairs. The truss underneath that supports the roof assembly can also rot, and a minor problem that should have been addressed earlier will need significant labor intensive attention from professionals.

Replacing a roof is not easy or cheap. The benefits of catching the problems early on have tremendous benefits that any homeowner would appreciate. Roofs are not the easiest part of your home to inspect and certainly can pose safety hazards to the uninitiated or untrained. The subsequent damage that follows from untreated problems are serious enough to get out of hand and not only create an opportunity for expensive repairs but also make for a potentially dangerous situation for any of the people living in the home. No one wants to have their roof fall on them while they are sleeping or any other time. Fortunately, most damage happens over time, and you have an opportunity to stop high-risk situations with a simple inspection. How you go about it is up to you.

The writer, Ray Donato, is a do-it-yourself type who understands the necessity of regular inspections. If he ever finds his roof is damaged, he plans to turn to House Top Roofing. You can learn more about Ray on Google+.