Is Your Roof Trying to Tell You Something?

As a homeowner, there are a few things you never want to hear; phrases like “your pipes are frozen” or “your septic tank is shot” is enough to cause anyone’s heart to sink and drain the colour from the face of even the most stalwart among us. When it comes to your roof, the last thing you want to come out of your roofing contractor’s mouth is “complete replacement” or “overhaul”. Replacing your roof can be incredibly expensive – so how can you, as a homeowner, get the most life out of it? The answer is to simply listen to what your roof is telling you.

No, your roof won’t speak to you, at least not directly – but there are a number of ways that you can determine the state of your roof simply by performing regular inspections. So, what is your roof trying to tell you?

  1. How old is your roof?

missing-shingles

Even before you get out your ladder, chances are you can determine if you need a new roof simply by considering how old it is. Generally, if your asphalt shingle roof is between 20 and 25 years old, it’s more than likely already in a decline, regardless of how many layers are up there.

  1. Is your gutter a treasure trove of shingle granules?

If your gutter looks more like a sandy beach than it does a gutter, it might be time to speak to a roofer. Roofing shingles tend to lose their granules as they reach the upper limit of their life expectancy. The older they are, the more granules will become dislodged and find their way into your gutter system.

  1. Do you have water spots on your exterior walls?

water-spots

If you do, it could mean your step flashing (where your roof meets a wall) is loose, damaged, or decaying. This is a highly vulnerable spot for water damage and can be difficult to fix because of its positioning.

  1. Can you see cracking in your shingles?

cracking-in-shingles

Even if you don’t notice shingle granules in your gutter, there’s an easy way to see if some or all of your shingles need to be replaced. If you notice cracking in your shingles, it’s most likely due to a copious amount of your shingle granules washing away. According to D’Angelo and Sons Roofing Ltd, shingles typically crack as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun, which can dry them out. Once they begin to crack, their ability to keep water from permeating your roof is significantly compromised.

  1. Are your shingles “cupping” or curling around the edges?

If you notice this on your roof, it could mean that your attic is not properly ventilated. Cupping can happen as your shingles age, and a poorly ventilated attic will definitely accelerate this problem. A hot, humid attic can basically roast your shingles from within, which can actually reduce your roof’s lifespan. Obviously, if the edges of your shingles are turned up, you can expect water to find it’s way into your home much more easily – if you see any cupped shingles, replace them ASAP, but also take steps to increase the ventilation in your attic to reduce the likelihood of cupping in the future.

  1. Any missing shingles?

old-roof

If you’ve got missing shingles, even a few, your roof can be trying to tell you one of two things. The first, and most likely, is that the shingles are becoming too old and too dry for the sealant beneath the shingles to adhere to them. Even one or two missing shingles can mean that it’s time to replace your roof.

The second reason you might be losing shingles might be due to animals using your roof to get from one tree to another. Strange as it might sound, scurrying animals (especially bigger ones like raccoons) can dislodge your shingles and compromise your roof. If you have tree branches that make it easy for animals to access your roof, trim them back.

  1. Does your roof have “black stains”?

black-stains

If you do, don’t worry – it looks worse more than anything. What’s actually happening is that algae have begun to grow on your roof. This won’t compromise your roof in any way, though trying to get rid of it might. Some homeowners think it’s a good idea to power wash the algae away, but this does more harm than good. Power washing is an excellent way to dislodge your shingle granules. To get rid of the algae, all you have to do is place a strip of zinc at the pinnacle of your roof. When it rains, this strip will release a fungicide that will kill the algae and leave your granules where they are.

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