When Do I Need a New Roof?

While the roof is essentially one of the most critical components of a house, it’s often the most neglected one. Many a time, we realize that our roof has problems only after we see visible water leakage.

This article provides some tips to tell if you might need a roof replacement. Our friends at Bel Air Gutter and Siding gave us some advice along with some other contractors.

Roof inspection needed to determine if need a new roof
This roof has issues

A responsible homeowner should routinely self-inspect the roof from the outside as well as inside. By proactively identifying existing and potential issues, one can have those fixed in a timely fashion. This saves money because less water damage is caused if you repair a roof earlier rather than later.

Age of the Roof

Most experts agree that the average age of an asphalt shingle roof is between 20 and 25 years. If your roof is that old, it’s time to get it professionally examined.

If your neighbors have started to get their roofs replaced and most of the houses in your locality have been built by the same builder or around the same time, you should also consider getting a professional roof inspection done.

Water Leakage Through the Roof

If you see any of the following while looking at the underside, your roof is allowing water to get through:

  • Streams of sunlight coming through the roof in the attic
  • Dark spots or stains caused by moisture on the underside of your roof or walls next to the roof base
  • Sagging spots on the underside of your roof that feel soft when prodded with a hard object
  • Other signs of damage caused by water, e.g. rotting wood or rusting metal

If this is the case, your roof needs an immediate and thorough inspection from a licensed roofer with a good reputation.

Condition of the Shingles

If you observe one or more of the following upon a close inspection of the roof shingles, you need to get in touch with a professional roofer:

  • Shingles are missing altogether
  • Shingles are not lying flat against the roof surface
  • Shingles are cracked
  • Shingles look worn out or have algae/moss deposited on them
  • Shingles show visible signs of missing granules

The extent to which the shingles have gotten affected will be a factor in deciding whether the roof needs a complete replacement or just repairs.

Condition of the Flashing

Weak flashing around the chimney and vents protruding through the roof is another source of water seepage that can cause structural damage to the roof. The use of cement or tar in a flashing is often not watertight. Even a good quality metal flashing can loosen over time. The flashings are areas worth assessing periodically for their effectiveness. If the damage due to ineffective flashings is deemed to be structural, you might need to consider replacing the roof. If you inspect regularly and catch this soon enough you only need to repair the flashing. So don’t wait before you have to replace or do a major repair on the roof.

Condition of the Layering Underneath the Shingles

In roofs with double layering, the problem may sometimes lie in the secondary waterproofing layering just underneath the shingles. This may be hard to identify by just inspecting the exterior and interior of the roof. Experts recommend getting this layering checked at strategic points during your periodic roof inspections by a professional.


Deciding whether your roof needs just repair, or replacement is often not straightforward and is better left to an expert. However, as a homeowner, if you’re aware of the factors that can lead to either, you’ll be able to identify them at the earliest and approach a professional for remedy.

While thinking about roofing, you might also want to think about insulation. Check out our post here for more info.