Although some roofs "suffer silently" for quite a while, it is rare that yours will completely fail without giving you ample warning. Of course, a major wind or hail storm can cause major damage, but under normal circumstances, it will be apparent that you should schedule repairs sooner rather than later.
Periodic Checks Are Important
You normally don't need to wait until water pours through a hole in your roof to know that problems exist up above. There are ways to judge the condition of your roof before you have to get out the buckets. Some of the "detective work" can be done from down below, but for a thorough check, go to the attic and climb a ladder to visually inspect shingles, gutters and overall roof condition from an "up close" vantage point. If you're not comfortable doing that, hire someone to perform an annual checkup and perform some periodic maintenance. It's worth it.
8 Telltale Warning Signs
There are a few telltale warning signs when it comes to roof damage that could indicate whether a roof may need to be repaired or replaced soon.
- Discoloration on an interior wall or ceiling. Staining under the eaves, or along an exterior wall.
- Blistered, warped or discolored exterior trim; paint that's bubbling and peeling.
- Damp, dark or discolored areas under eaves, or on exterior walls. Visible moss or mold along exterior walls.
- Cracked flashing or damaged seals around vents and other roof penetrations.
- Curling, cracked or missing shingles. If you have a tile roof, look for loose or broken tiles. With a flat roof, look for crumpled flashing, punctures in the material, and loose or missing fasteners and screws. If you have a flat roof with an asphalt surface, or any kind of membrane roofing, look for rips and tears, damage from birds or other animals, low spots or standing water.
- Sagging rafters, roof decking or insulation. In addition to looking up when you inspect the attic, pay attention to attic structure and physical condition of the interior. While there should be reasonable air flow, excessive drafts are often a sign of problems.
- Light leaks. If you see light streaming into your attic, it's likely that those same cracks and holes will allow rain to leak through the roof. That's not a good sign.
- Higher energy bills. Increased heating and cooling costs can signal roof problems. Consider it a warning and look for the specific cause.
If any of these warning signs are detected during an examination of the roof, it's recommended to reach out to a roofing expert to discuss repair and replacement options.
If water drips onto an interior ceiling, don't automatically assume that the leak on the roof is directly above. Because water tends to follow its own path to a low point, it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint an exact location, unless there is an obvious puncture to the roof's surface, or shingles are obviously missing. Conversely, water can travel great distances along interior framing, or become trapped in insulation and sheetrock without becoming easily detectable.
Every roof has a finite lifespan. However, a small leak does not necessarily require a completely new roof. With the wide variety of roofing materials available, it is not difficult to find a roof that will serve you well as be kind to your budget. Almost all roofs should last at least 10 years, and with regular checkups and timely repairs as necessary, modern materials give exemplary service.
However, local conditions, including Cameron Station rainfall and humidity levels, extreme temperature variation, or severe and regular freeze-thaw cycles, can have a huge effect on longevity. If it's time for total replacement, consult a reputable professional roofer, set a budget, and select the best quality you can afford. There are plenty of options.