Top 4 Signs You Need to Replace Your Roof and What to Know When You Know It’s Time

A bad roof can do a lot of damage to your home and there are several symptoms that are hard to trace back to your roof.  Rising energy bills are a good example of a symptom that could be caused by a number of things.  The age of your home, climate, and the type of shingle, all factor into the health of your roof.  That being said, here are five ways to know you definitely need to replace your roof.

Moisture and Mold

If you don’t see any external damage, make sure you check your attic.  Grab a flashlight and climb up under the eaves.  If you see any black mold, that’s a surefire sign that the moisture level in your attic is out of balance.  When your attic isn’t ventilated properly and moist air rises, the moisture is trapped.  Condensation builds up and causes mold growth.  If you catch it in time, you can reverse the damage by ventilating the attic and adding proper insulation.  Neglecting mold can not only cause more expensive issues down the road but can cause health problems for your family.

Warped Shingles

Roof shingles provide structural protection from the elements.  When your shingles are warped, curled or buckling, your roof is exposed to the elements, which causes problems. Shingles that have warped or lost their shape in any way is a sign that moisture may be accumulating underneath, leading to mold.  Make sure you check the ventilation and insulation when you replace your roof so you don’t have to deal with this again.  Look for curling edges, missing shingles, and signs that nails are forcing the shingle up from laying flat on the roof.

Algae or Moss Growth

Algae growth is caused by bacteria.  Sometimes low-quality shingles use materials that encourage bacterial growth.  If you catch this early enough, you may only need to clean it.  But check with a contractor to make sure the damage isn’t too deep.  If it is, make sure to replace your roof with high-quality shingles that will last.  If you find algae on your shingles, talk to your roof company.  They may still be under warranty.  Moss is worse and can cause damage to your home.

Ice Dams

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that accumulates at the edge of your roof, which will prevent snow and water from draining.  The water can back up and leak, causing moisture damage to the structure of your home.  Temperature regulation can help prevent ice dams, as can de-icing cables like this one.

Make sure that you check out the health of your roof when the weather is nice.  All of these signs point to your roof has lost its waterproof abilities.  If you wait too long, you may be left with sky-high utility bills, a leaky roof, and needing to replace it in the winter or rainy season.

Tips for When You Replace Your Roof

After you have determined your roof needs to be replaced, there are a few things you need to do to prepare.

Avoid the Summer

While summer and fall might seem the perfect time to have your roof replaced, you can save money if you have it done during the off-season.  Also, late summer through fall is the most popular time to have roof work done, therefore you might have to wait until your contractor has finished other jobs before starting yours.  In most locations, roofing contractors work year-round, so whenever you are ready to go, you can just make it happen.

If you decide to have your roof replaced during the winter, keep in mind that in addition to possibly frigid temperatures and snow removal for the crew, often the tools associated with putting on a new roof can be affected by freezing temperatures.  Your crew likely will not intentionally make mistakes, but ice build-up and frozen shingles can prevent thermal sealing or nails from being flush with the roof.  You don’t want your roofing crew to feel like they can’t do their best work, and considering how much moisture can damage a home if your roof is improperly installed, it’s best to wait until temperatures are above freezing.

It can take time

In addition to weather, the amount of time it takes to install a new roof is determined by the type of roof you have chosen.  Wood, steel, flat roofs, and asphalt shingles take the least amount of time, while steel, concrete tile, and slate take longer.  Also, the size of your home, roof decking and whether they are removing the previous roof before installation all factor into installation time.

Find the Right Contractor

It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes and speak with several contractors before deciding on the one you feel you can trust.  Don’t let price be your only deciding factor.  Look at material and contractor warranties, reputation, and licensing before making a decision.  Make sure they are fully insured (you don’t want to be stuck with any medical bills associated with crew injury) and ensure your contractor knows his crew.  If sub-contractors are used, you need to know you can trust them in the same way you trust your contractor.