4 Warning Signs You May Need a New Roof

A roof with shingles coming off.

No one said home ownership was easy. When my sister recently bought a new house, the inspector hired to look over look the property advised a number of things that could be wrong in a physical nature, sometimes without even appearing so. The windows, for instance, appeared clean and new; as the light shown through we even commented that they must have been only recently replaced, yet beyond first glance the hinges were broken and the windows couldn’t be opened. The same went for the roof. It looked nice from the street—it was brown, matching the homes exterior, and looked to be in good enough shape to allow rainwater to run off easily. But our assumptions were wrong.

Roofs, in particular, are funny. They are built with durability in mind, but often in layers, so that they can appear to be in good condition yet with a closer look are actually in need of great repair. This article will offer tips and suggestions on what homeowners should look for in regards to the health and safety of a roof. By following such advice, one can ensure the longevity of this expensive home feature and prevent a roofing failure before it starts.

Let's analyze some of the most noticeable signs, and what can be done about them.

1. Curled or Warped Shingles

Have you ever seen a home in which the roofing shingles are actually warped or “cupped” right off the roof itself? This problem is a dangerous one as it truly leaves the wood below greatly exposed to the elements, yet experts claim it is caused by something unexpected.

Though the tiles themselves must usually be replaced, the attic or areas directly below the roof must be examined. It is said that should such spaces be too hot or change in temperature too drastically, the underside of the roof’s shingle reacts to the change, creating an ageing fast track. Though this is only one of a number of potential causes, it is wise to begin by adding ventilation and temperature control capabilities to attic spaces, eliminating the possibility of future damage.

2. Bald Spots

A raccoon on a roof.

When viewing a roof from a distance, homeowners should first look for a clean and uniform appearance without missing shingles. Obviously, should there be patches or “bald spots” of missing tiles, it will seriously lessen the effectiveness of the roof. Experts claim there can be a few different causes of such dilemmas which, in addition to their replacements, must be attended to.

The first cause of bald spots may be small animals. Yes, squirrels, raccoons, and all fury things that climb are adorable, but they can also decrease the life expectancy of a home's rooftop mainly by loosening and unhinging shingles. In addition to replacing missing materials, be sure to trim trees and natural elements which can aid the creatures in gaining access to the high-up areas in question.

Next, depending on the age of a roof, bald spots can simply be the result of the nails fastening tiles, loosening with time. Mixed with strong weather conditions, this can actually knock roof tiles off, leaving the home below vulnerable.

3. Look Around the Neighborhood

In most modern neighborhoods, groups of homes tend to be built in the same era of time, which results in them aging at similar rates. Therefore, my final tip in determining when one should begin considering the replacement a roof is to simply watch the home improvement activity of the houses around yours. Though you may not notice your own home needs a rooftop facelift, if other homes like yours are getting repairs, there is a strong possibility the signs pointing to your own needed refurbishment may have simply gone unnoticed.

4. Interior or Exterior Water Spots

A ceiling in a white room with a water stain.

As the purpose of a roof is to eliminate the chance of rainwater seeping and damaging the constructs below, it is understandably troubling for an owner to find water spots variously throughout a home. Once all windows, plumbing, and even condensation and trapped bathroom moisture have been eliminated, roof flashing, shingles, and wood underlay should be inspected and replaced as needed.