As April showers begin to taper off and we head toward the warmer season, now is a good time to evaluate the condition of your roof and to begin thinking about whether you will need repairs or perhaps a replacement. It’s a cost no homeowner wants to bear, but it’s a simple fact that all roofs deteriorate with time and need upkeep and replacing. The busiest season for roofing is summer, so if you suspect you’ll need repairs or replacement, consider doing this during the spring months.

For the next couple of weeks, let’s discuss the process of determining whether you need a new roof and chosing the right roof for your home.

When to Replace Your Roof

Figuring out whether you need to repair or replace your roof can be tricky. Here are a few factors that will help you make a more informed decision.

Roof’s Lifespan

How old is your roof? This is one of the most important factors when weighing whether you should lean toward replacing your roof.

As John Rogers, writing for Angie’s List, points out, “Most experts agree that a typical roof will last between 20 and 25 years. It also depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one layer of shingles, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof.”

If you’ve never replaced the roof of your home and bought it less than 20 years ago, you may not have the answers to these questions readily available. The best places to check for this info are the report from a home inspector you most likely paid before buying the home, or the seller’s disclosure that you received when you purchased your home. If you can’t track down either of these documents, contact your realtor for help.

Unsightly Shingles

The condition of your shingles can tell you a lot about how well your roof is performing and whether it’s past its prime. After a while, shingles start to lose their shape (and, with it, their function). The biggest culprit is curling.

If you notice that the shingles on your roof are beginning to curl, resign yourself to the fact that roof replacement is on the horizon. Beth Kaufman at Good Housekeeping notes that, “Shingles can curl in two ways: There’s cupping, which happens when the edges of the shingles turn upward; and there’s clawing, which is when the edges stay flat and the middle starts to come up. ‘Both are signs of weathering and indicate that problems — potentially leaks — are relatively close to fruition,’ says Mark Graham, vice president of the National Roofing Contractors Association. ‘Depending on the extent of the curling, it could be anywhere from a year to five years before you need a new roof,’ says Graham.”

Shingles can also be cracked or missing altogether. The key factor here is degree. If only a few shingles are missing or cracked, go ahead and replace those guys individually. But if there are large swaths of your roof that have cracked or missing shingles, that spells trouble.

Be aware that if you decide to replace individual shingles and your roof is on the older side, Kaufman warns that “it’s just about impossible to get a new shingle to match the color of an old one.”

Granule Build-Up

Granules on your roof protect it from the sun’s rays. But in time, they start to wear off. And when they do, you’ll notice them in your gutters. This process will speed up as your roof ages. Kaufman notes that, “if you just started to notice the granules in the gutter, the shingles are probably halfway through their lifespan, McGavic estimates.”  If you’re noticing more granules than ever, your roof may be headed toward the end of its lifespan.

We hope these factors will help you more effectively evaluate whether you need to repair or replace your roof. Check back next week to learn about how to begin choosing a new roof!