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5 Signs It’s Time To Replace A Roof

One of the most common questions we get at Melvin Belk Roofing is, “is roof replacement necessary?” While replacing a roof is an expectation every homeowner has, knowing when the time is right to do so can be challenging. Sometimes a simple repair is in order, but these 5 major signs mean it’s time to replace your roof:

1. Moss, mold, or fungi

The look of moss growing on the roof of a home can be quite picturesque. Any type of growth on a roof is a major cause for concern, though. Think of the variables required for any plant or organism to grow—moisture, sunlight, and a place to take root. If your roof is harboring enough stagnant moisture for plants or fungi to grow, it’s definitely time to replace that roof! You’ll also want to get a full inspection of your attic to make sure there isn’t moisture damage to the rest of your home, which can lead to mold and other toxins that can impact your health.

moss growing on the shingles of a residential roof

2. Leaks

Some leaks are very apparent. If you see water dripping from your ceiling, it’s easy to say you have a roof leak. However leaks can be happening without you noticing. There are a few places to check regularly for leaks:

  • Attic – moisture in the attic is a clear sign that your roof is leaking. 
  • Vent Flashing – if your vent flashing isn’t properly installed, there could be slow leaks causing significant damage to the rest of your roof and your home
  • Seals Around Chimneys, Skylights, etc – if these components  aren’t properly sealed moisture could be deteriorating your roof.

While select circumstances may mean just a repair, in most cases a leak is a strong sign that it’s time to replace your roof. To know for sure, have a qualified and trustworthy roofer come take a look.

Water damaged ceiling from a leaking roof

3. Loose, curling, or deteriorating shingles

If you haven’t noticed a pattern so far, you might now! Moisture can cause big problems for roofs. This is true once again when it comes to curling and deteriorating shingles. While roofs are made to withstand rain, they aren’t suited to deal with water coming from underneath. Typically curling shingles are caused by poor ventilation in an attic—hot, moist air rises up and condenses, causing the areas below the shingles to be continually damp. This causes the shingles to curl or even deteriorate from the moisture. 

If your shingles are curling or deteriorating, it’s time to replace them. You will also want to ensure proper ventilation in your attic to prevent the same thing from happening again!

Loose shingles may also point to the need for a new roof. Unless you experienced focused damage to a single shingle (for example, someone walking on it, or a piece of hail striking a shingle loose), loose shingles are usually the result of either poor installation or age. Both of these instances mean it’s time to replace the shingles. Without doing so, you risk additional damage to not only your roof but the interior of your home.

Close-up of curled roofing shingles on a residential rooftop

4. Damage – wind, hail, etc.

Significant visible damage from storms or rough weather is an obvious reason to replace a roof. Sometimes repairs might be in order, but more often than not replacement is necessary. This is because damage to one part of a roof can have a ripple effect on the rest of the roof. Seams, flashing, and even related elements like soffit, fascia, and gutters can all be indirectly impacted by damage to another part of the roof. This can of course result in the potential for leaks, mold, and all of the other problems mentioned above. 

If your roof undergoes any damage from weather – storms, wind, hail, ice dams, etc – it’s best to have your roof evaluated. It’s likely that your roof will need to be replaced, but an expert roofer will be able to make the best recommendations that provide the most long-term value for your home.

large ball of hail next to a ruler measuring over 2 inches

5. Age

This can be a homeowner’s toughest reason for roof replacement because there might not be anything specific wrong with your roof. But just because there aren’t problems yet doesn’t mean there won’t be soon. Waiting too long to replace an old roof can lead to even more costly expenses. Waiting for a leak might lead to moisture in an attic. This can lead to mold and other hazardous issues. Leaks within your home can also lead to additional damage to ceilings, walls, and even electrical systems. 

When to replace an old roof is based on the roof material. Here are the typical lifespans of the most common roofing materials:

Type of RoofTypical Lifespan
Asphalt Roll5-10 Years
Composite Asphalt15-30 Years
Wood20-25 Years
BUR Asphalt20-30 Years
Wood Shake35-40 Years
Clay or Cement Tile50-100 Years
Slate100+ Years

To decide where on the spectrum your roof falls for replacement, look at the climate of where you live. Do you frequently get storms? Snow and ice? If so, somewhere between the earlier timeframe and the median timeframe is the best time for replacement. If you live in a relatively mild area with little-to-know heavy weather patterns, you can probably wait until closer to the end of the roof material’s age window. 

For example, if you have a composite asphalt roof and live in Michigan where high winds, storms, and winter elements are all common, the median lifespan of your roof is about 22 years. The shorter end of that is 15 years so you should plan to replace your roof when it’s around 18 or 19 years old. However, take that same roof and put it on a house in California and you probably won’t need a replacement for about 30 years.

Call an experienced & trustworthy roofing company for an honest evaluation

If any of the above apply to your roof, or if you still aren’t sure if it’s time for a roof replacement, the best way to know for sure is to call an experienced and trustworthy roofing company. Finding a good roofing company is like finding a good car repair shop—you don’t want to spend more than you have to. But protecting one of your biggest investments—your home—is a big deal. At Melvin Belk Roofing, we have a reputation for providing straightforward, reliable roofing services. If you live in West Michigan, give us a call to learn more and have one of our roofing experts give you a free, honest evaluation of your roof.