As your roof approaches the end of its life, you will start to see warning signs. Replacing a failing roof is a large expense for most property owners. Seeing the warnings early, however, allows you to replace the roof on your timeline instead of when the roof completely fails. costing much more. So, what are the signs your roof is starting to fail?
#1 Several Missing or Loose Shingles
Having one or two loose or missing shingles happens on occasion, especially if your roof is a more than few years old. A quick replacement of the shingles and the problem is solved. However, if your roof has several missing or loose shingles, or if you have had to replace several in the past, you may have a bigger problem.
Missing and broken shingles leave your roof vulnerable to rain, snow, and ice. When the water starts to take hold, the roof deck starts to deteriorate, which can loosen nails on other shingles, causing them to become loose. If not corrected early, the problem can continue to spread.
#2 Curling, Cracking, Blistering Shingles
Asphalt shingles arrive from the factory flexible, yet solid. However, time and the elements take their toll. Eventually, the shingle underlayment starts to dry out and deteriorate. This is when you start to see the edges of the shingle curl up. You may see cracking at various points. These are early signs your roof is starting to fail.
Blistering happens with humidity levels get too high around the shingle. This most often occurs when moisture builds up in the attic in hot humid conditions. The hot sun above and the moisture below cause the shingle surface to bubble up. It’s a sign of inadequate attic ventilation, a major cause of early roof failure.
#3 Granules in the Gutter
Asphalt shingles have a layer of granules on top which help protect the underlayment from the sun and the elements. It’s very common to see a few granules come off right after the roof is installed. Those granules were either dislodged during installation or didn’t adhere properly during the manufacturing process. However, if your roof is more than a few years old, you shouldn’t see more than an occasional granule in the gutter.
If the number of granules in the gutter is growing, your asphalt roof is starting to fail. The adhesive holding the granules in place is deteriorating. Without that protective layer, the underlayment becomes vulnerable to the elements. It’s time to start saving up for a roof replacement.
#4 Sagging Roof
Roofs can sag in two ways: at the roof ridge or on the roof deck.
The ridge is the point where two shingle surfaces meet at a peak. That ridge should be straight and true. If it’s starting to develop a sag or dip at any point, it’s a sign the structure below is starting to fail.
The roof deck is the solid structure to which roofers nail shingles. That deck should be flat and solid. If it starts to sag or dip, it’s a sign the wood below is rotting or that the roof rafters or trusses are starting to fail.
#5 Dark and Dirty Roof
Your roof should have a fairly uniform spread of color across its surface. If you have an area that appears darker than the rest or looks dirty, you need to pay closer attention.
Algae can grow on roofs, especially in moist conditions and shady spots. The algae cause dark streaks. While the algae growth doesn’t necessarily harm the roof, it’s best to get it removed.
Another cause of dark spots on the roof is missing granules. The underlayment layer is usually a dark gray or black. When the lighter colored granules are gone, you will see the darker layer below. If your dark spots are accompanied by granules in the gutter, the roof is having major problems.
#6 Exposed or Loose Nails
Nails will pop out of the roof on occasion. A loose or missing nail is a point where water can start to penetrate the roof structure. It’s best to replace the nails as soon as you notice them.
If you need to keep replacing loose or missing nails, you may have a larger problem with your roof. The roof deck may be deteriorating, causing the nails in a certain area to work loose faster. Wind damage can also cause nails to loosen as the shingles get blown up.
#7 Water Damage Inside
Some roof water damage is obvious. You get an ugly brown stain across your ceiling or down the wall. You may even have water puddling in places.
Some water damage, however, is not so obvious. That’s why it’s a good idea to get up in the attic at least once a year to inspect for water leaks. Stains in the attic ceiling (the bottom side of the roof deck) is a sign the water is coming in. Check around pipe vents and chimneys. These are vulnerable points for water infiltration.
You should also inspect the attic floor and insulation. Water may be dripping down nails and onto the floor below.
#8 Missing, Loose, or Damaged Flashing
Flashing is the material the roofer places around vents, skylights, and chimneys to keep water from leaking around the fixture’s edges. Metal sheeting around chimneys and rubber boots around vents are two common examples of flashing.
If flashing loosens, sustains damage, or is entire missing, water is going to make its way inside. Galvanized steel flashing can develop rust spots, which can allow water to get through.
#9 Roof Over 20 Years Old
Asphalt shingle roofs usually last 20 to 25 years before they need to be replaced. If the shingles were installed over old shingles, you may need to replace them sooner. If you know your roof’s age, you should start budgeting for a roof replacement when it turns 20 years old.
If you don’t know the roof’s age, get a professional roofer out to assess it. The roofer can give you an estimate on the roof’s age and a report on its condition. You can also ask the roofer for a professional opinion on how many years it should be before it needs to be replaced.
In either case, you will have an idea of when you will need to have the entire roof replaced. Replacing the roof before it fails completely is better for your budget than if you had to do an emergency replacement.
#10 Mold Where Roof and Wall Meet
Do you have a spot where your roof meets an exterior wall? It might be where a dormer comes out of the roof or where a home addition with a lower roof line meets the taller main structure.
When roofers installed your roof, they should have put flashing under the roof and siding to keep the water from getting in the seam and redirecting it down and away. If the water is not leaving the area quickly, it can cause wood to swell and rot. It can also create ideal conditions for mold to grow.
If you see mold growing where the roof and wall meet, moisture is present. And that’s never a good sign.
#11 Mold in or on Exterior Walls
The roof and gutters on your home should capture any water on your roof and redirect it down and away from your home. If, however, water is getting into the exterior walls due to leaks or gutter failures, mold can start growing. It may be on the outside of the structure or it might be inside the wall cavities.
Consider mold growth anywhere in or on a structure as a warning sign. If you see it, don’t just clean it off. You need to investigate why the area is moist enough to support mold growth. Roof leaks, plumbing leaks, and window/door failures are often the culprits.
What Should You Do About Your Failing Roof?
If you see one or more of these warning signs of roof failure, you need to bring in a professional roofing contractor. The roofer will conduct a thorough inspection of your roof and let you know where your problems lie. With that information, you can make an informed decision on roof repairs and replacement.
It may be that you can make some repairs and get some more time before you need to replace the roof. However, you may find that repairs won’t be enough. It’s time for a complete replacement. In either case, you need a reputable roofing contractor to do the work.
Contact Advanced Roofing for any roof repair, maintenance, and replacement needs you might have. We are a full-service company serving both Vancouver, WA, and Portland, OR. We offer free quotes and are happy to provide a second opinion for any roofing need. Call us today to schedule an appointment.