Does Your New House Need A New Roof?

If you've just purchased a home, you probably don't want to think about a costly roof replacement just yet. Unfortunately, it's easy to miss problems with an existing roof before purchase, especially if you waived your pre-purchase inspection or didn't hire an experienced roofing contractor to inspect the shingles. 

While roofing replacements can be costly, they're an inevitable fact of life for every home. As any roof ages, the shingles will begin to perform poorly, increasing the likelihood of water intrusion or storm damage. If you don't know much about the roof in your new home, here are three tips for evaluating its age and condition to determine if you might need a replacement.

1. Check the Attic

If you can access your home's attic, you'll have an easy way to look for signs of serious trouble. Make sure to bring a bright flashlight since you'll need to perform a detailed inspection, and there's unlikely to be much other light available. Once in the attic, take care that you only step on ceiling joists and avoid disturbing any insulation or placing your foot anywhere unsupported.

Inside the attic, look for signs of moisture on the underside of the decking or along the rafters. Pay close attention to any musty odors or high humidity levels. Attics should be well-vented so that excessive moisture may indicate a leak or a ventilation problem. Any water intruding into the attic may be a sign of a roof that's old enough to require replacement.

2. Look for Granule Loss

Checking for granule loss can be a bit more complicated, but it's often a good way to gauge the age and condition of your roof. The granules on asphalt shingles add color and texture, but they also help protect the underlying shingle material. As the granules wear away, the shingle will become brittle, making it more prone to breakage and leaks. Shingles in this condition will typically fail relatively quickly.

To check for granule loss, you'll need to be able to see the top of the roof. If you're not comfortable getting on your roof yourself, a roofing contractor can perform this inspection for you. Widespread shingle loss across much of your roof indicates extensive damage or a roof relatively close to its expiration date. Either way, a replacement may be necessary soon.

3. Pay Attention to Small Leak Points

Consider getting a professional to inspect your new home's roof because many potential leak points are relatively small and hard to notice. Exposed nails, damaged flashing, cracked shingles and other seemingly tiny imperfections can lead to major leaks. While you can fix individual problems, widespread issues often mean that your roof is nearing the end of its life span.

Even a detailed inspection won't find all these issues, and repairing them will eventually feel like playing whack-a-mole. In the meantime, your home will be at severe risk of water damage from one leak after another. If an inspection uncovers numerous areas where leaks may develop, it's probably time to consider replacing the entire roof.

Contact a local roofer to learn more about roofing replacement.