Determining how soon you’ll need a new roof is a more complex task than you might think. According to the National Parks Service, historic wooden shingle roofs can last for sixty years—or fall into disrepair in as little as fifteen.
Roofs in other materials fare far better. The City of New Orleans’ Historic District Landmarks Commission developed guidelines for the maintenance and preservation of historic rooftops. In its guide, the commission established:
- Terra cotta tile roofs often last over 100 years
- Slate shingle roofs last sixty to 125 years before needing replacement
- Asbestos shingle roofs last roughly thirty years
- Asphalt shingle roofs only last from fifteen to twenty-five years
Since roof lifespans vary so widely, the most practical thing to do is to observe your rooftop for signs of damage or wear-and-tear. Stay alert for these seven signs your roof is beyond repair.
1. Leaks In The Ceiling
Leaks are serious. If water or snow drips through your roof, it can pool and cause permanent damage to your home’s interior.
Call roofing services if you see water spots on your walls, ceiling, or roof decking. They can identify missing shingles or another source of the leak.
2. Mold or Mildew Growth
Roof damage can let moisture into dark corners, which facilitates spore growth. If you can see or smell mold or mildew, take action. Mold causes respiratory illness, particularly in elderly people.
3. Sagging or Rotting
Sagging rooftops indicate weakened support beams. This leaves the roof particularly vulnerable to collapse in bad weather. If a flat roof surface starts to dip, act quickly.
4. Shingle Cracks and Granule Loss
Shingles and tiles with cracks can indicate greater damage not visible on the surface. Shingle granules—mineral fragments that keep roofing fire-resistant—can break off if a shingle is degrading.
Both signs call for further investigation.
5. Warping or Exposed Nails
Visible, exposed nails indicate a worrying shift in shingle position. Warped shingles and tiles are more fragile, and offer less protection from harsh weather. Consider a roofing service if you either.
6. Plant or Fungal Growth
Moss by itself isn’t a serious problem. But if a roof is covered with mosses, fungi, and leafy plants indicates your rooftop isn’t draining correctly. They can also cause and expand cracks other points of damage.
7. Damaged Flashing (Seam Sealant)
Flashing is a sealant. It protects chimneys, vents, skylights, and any other feature set into a roof.
Should You Get a New Roof or Repair What You Have?
When deciding between roof repair vs replacement, take a few factors into consideration. First, how old is your roof? If your roof is nearing the end of its material’s lifespan, replacement may be inevitable.
Second, if your roof is damaged, what’s the extent of the damage? If it’s structural, or if there’s significant warping, sagging, or leaks, repair may be a no-go.
Roof Replacement and Beyond: Make Your House Home
Getting a new roof is a great way to keep your home safe and strong. Make sure roof inspection is part of your home maintenance routine.
Roof replacement and repair is just one way to elevate your living space. For more tips, check out more insightful reads in the content library.