As a homeowner, maintaining your property and ensuring it remains up to code at all times is one of your most important responsibilities. Similar to most investments in life, homes require maintenance and upkeep as years pass to provide maximum comfort, safety, and security.

The longer you have lived in your home, the more likely you have considered investing in a new roof to replace your old roof. Before moving forward with the decision to replace your roof entirely, there are a few signs to watch for to determine whether or not the time is right for you and your home.

replacing an old roof

Consider Your Roof’s Age

One of the first things to consider before you begin inspecting your roof for cracks, breaks, and other issues is its age. A roof that is 25 to 30 years or older may require a complete replacement, even if the roof itself appears in good shape from the naked eye.

Older roofs were often created with materials that are no longer useful or considered strong today.

If your roof is 10, 15, or 20 years old, it may be time for a thorough inspection and potentially investing in an entirely new roof altogether, especially if your roof has been laid over a previously installed roof.

Begin By Inspecting Your Roof From the Inside Out

Once you have started to brainstorm the idea of investing in a new roof, begin conducting your own research at home by inspecting the condition of your roof from the inside out. Take a flashlight with you to your attic or to the space in your home where the interior of your roof is visible and look for the following potential signs that may indicate a more serious issue:

Beams of Light: Light beams are common in roofs that require replacements or repairs. For best results, inspect the interior of your roof during the day to catch and identify any light beams.

Leaks: Inspect the interior of your roofing area for drips and potential leaks. If your roof is beginning to leak, other areas of your home and its foundation is put at risk, especially if you do not address the roofing problem as quickly as possible. Water dampness can lead to additional rot along with mold growth that can contribute to breathing and other health ailments.

Streaks and Stains: Take note of all of the interior of your roof and look for potential spots, stains, and streaks. Inspect any discolored area of your roof for further information on its cause and potential leak culprit. Stains and streaks within the interior walls of your roof can signal a deeper and more serious problem involving your roof’s durability.

Look For Shingle Issues

Inspecting your roof’s shingles is another way to determine whether or not your roof requires additional attention or a replacement entirely.

When inspecting the exterior shingles of your home’s roof, be sure to look for any cracks, mishappen shingles, or shingles that have curled or bent upwards.

Shingles that are curled, cracked, or misshapen may require a further inspection to determine whether or not they can be replaced individually or if you are better off investing in an entirely new roof.

Finding shingle granules on your roof or piling up in your gutter can also be a sign that it is time for a complete and thorough roof replacement. Excessive shingle granule loss is a surefire sign that the roof’s condition is not where it needs to be to provide maximum protection and insulation for your home.

Check Your Roof For Wind Damage

It is always important to keep the temperature and climate of where your home is located in mind when conducting renovations and roof inspections.

If you live in an area that is prone to high winds and major storms, your home’s roof may require more attention or reinforcement depending on the type of roof you currently have installed.

A solid roof that is currently in good condition will remain flat even during massive storms and heavy winds. When your roof’s shingles begin to curl up, fly away, or even break apart after a big storm, it may be time to conduct further investigation into the overall health and condition of your current roof.

Can You See Any Cracks and Breaks?

Inspect the exterior and interior of your home’s roof for strange and out of place cracks or breaks. Cracks or breaks can occur both inside and outside of the roof, which is why it is important to conduct a thorough inspection of all areas of your roof.

If you notice any cracks on either side of your roof, it is highly advisable to inspect the crack further to determine the root cause or trigger of the crack itself. If you are unable to determine where or why the crack has occurred, you may need to speak with a professional roofing company or contractor for further assistance.


Flashing is common in chimneys, vents, and even skylights and can help with sealing various seams to protect your home from any type of weather. When you are inspecting your home’s roof, be sure to check all potential flashing areas of your home to determine whether or not the areas are leaking or have cracks in them.

Flashing beams of light can signify a more serious issue that requires immediate attention.

It is also important to note that many old homes typically use a cement flashing system, which is considered outdated today. If you are thinking of updating your flashing system, consider an all-in-one metal solution for longevity and durability.

Exposed Nails

Always wear appropriate protective gear whenever you are inspecting your roof, especially when you are inspecting the exterior of your roof from outside. If you notice numerous exposed nails in the shingles of your roof or even in the base of your roof, you may need to inspect the area even more.

Excessively exposed nails can signify a potential leak or unwanted cracks in your roofing. If there are many nails exposes, the contractors or roofing company you worked with in the past may have done a poor job at ensuring the quality and durability of your roof.

Rotting Roof

A rotting roof is never a good sign, nor is it something that a homeowner wants to stumble upon, especially during an inspection. If you notice multiple damp areas throughout your roof, mold spots, and even the darkening of specific beams, your roof may be rotting or may have a dampness issue.

If your roof has areas that are sagging or dripping with moisture, there is a good chance that your roof is rotting. In some cases, it may be possible to replace and repair specific beams and areas of a roof that has been affected and impacted by water damage. However, in most cases, replacing an entire roof is highly advisable whenever an individual discovers that the roof is rotting or soaked with water.

Unless you have the ability to completely repair and remedy the sunken and dampened areas of your roof, it is often advisable to replace the entire roof itself. A waterlogged or rotted roof is not only unattractive and leads to less efficiency, but it can also pose a serious health threat to children, the elderly, and even the immunocompromised.

If a roof is dampened, soaked, or rotting and is left alone, it has the ability to produce and spread mold. As mold grows and begins to spread, it can find its way into airways, vents, and ducts throughout your home. Mold-related illnesses can include lung issues, bacterial infections, and even pneumonia. Addressing waterlogged wood, roofing, or other structural elements of your home is extremely important whenever you are conducting a roofing inspection on your own.

Excessive Growths On Your Roof

Have you recently noticed moss or other types of nature growing on top or out of your roof? Don’t panic. Nature tends to grow over any structure in its path if it is not properly tended to and maintained.

When inspecting your roof and the new growths you have spotted, be sure to do so by inspecting both the interior and exterior of your roof. While most plant growths are likely to be visible from the exterior and outside of your roof, if there is a more serious issue at-hand, nature may also be growing on its own indoors without your knowledge.

Oftentimes, treating and eliminating nature growths from a roof is a way to quickly remedy the issue without further investments or repairs. However, if you do notice excessive growths around your roof or even inside of your home, it is highly advisable to work with a professional to determine the root cause and reason for the growths.

When a roof has been completely overtaken by growths in nature, you may need to replace the roof in its entirety to stop the process in its tracks.

Streaks and Discoloration

Whenever you are inspecting the interior or exterior of your roof it is important to look for discoloration and off-colored streaks on your roof that simply does not belong. Streaks and discoloration are some of the telltale signs that a roof requires attention, even if it does not require a complete renovation or replacement.

Take note of streaks and discoloration you discover while inspecting your roof. If possible, take photos and be sure to note the approximate location of each of the streaks or discolored beams you have discovered. While some streaks and discoloration just may require a bit of attention, others may be a sign of a deeper underlying issue.

Lack of a Chimney Cricket

If you currently own an older home with a large chimney, be sure to verify that your chimney has a “chimney cricket” installed. A chimney cricket is a solution that acts as an additional roof for a home’s chimney. As the seasons pass and weather changes, chimneys collect debris, dirt, and water buildup. Without a chimney cricket in place, you run the risk of furthering issues in your home from leakage, water damage, and even from nature outdoors. Ensuring your home’s chimney has a chimney cricket in place can significantly reduce the risk of encountering issues with your home’s roof system and your chimney.

All of Your Neighbors Have Replaced Their Roofs

Another way to determine whether or not it is time to replace or repair your old roof is to take a look at the roofs around you. If all of your neighbors in your local neighborhood have already replaced their roofs or are currently in the process of replacing their roofs, it may be time to take a look at your own.

If you are new to the neighborhood or if you are unsure of the age of your roof, consider asking a friendly neighbor who has lived in the area for longer than a decade. A long-time neighbor will likely provide you with valuable insight into when your roof was last replaced and whether or not it was installed brand new or over a previously installed roofing setup.

Avoid Panicking

While it may be daunting to stumble upon a crack, leak, or even discolored shingles on your roof, it is still important to avoid panicking. Even if your roof does require a bit of work, there is no guarantee that you will need to replace your roof entirely.

If you are unsure of whether you will require a brand new roof or if you can simply repair and replace the issue at hand, be sure to consult with a professional roofing company or contractor that you can trust and rely on.

While replacing an entire roof can quickly become a hefty investment, it is a foundational element involved in the building and structure of any home. When you know what to look for while inspecting your roof, feel comfortable with and confident in the decision you make.