With the daunting cost of roof replacement, business and home owners naturally want to get the most out of the roofs they have. But if you wait too long, you could end up paying out in repairs more than if you replaced it at the end of its expected service life. However, knowing when that time is can be a bit tricky. Outside of obvious events, such as when a storm rips the roof off or a tree falls on it, how do you know if you need a new roof?

Roofs can deteriorate from the attic up or from the top down. Either way, when the surface layer — the shingles, tiles, metal panels, composite plastics or flat roof membrane materials — cease to cover the waterproofing underlayment, then the roof is at risk of failing at any time. We present the following guidelines on when to consider replacing your roof.

When It Sustains Too Much Damage

Although modern roofs are built to be tough and durable, none can permanently withstand the catastrophic forces of nature. Pounding hail, flying debris and even some animals can all cause enough damage to compel a re-roof. Overhanging branches of trees hugging the house can tear up a roof as they sway in the wind. Shingles with too many hail divots lose their UV-protective granules and will rapidly deteriorate. Metal panels with creases or deeply-marred paint will begin to rust out. Cracked tiles will become broken tiles that separate and slide off the roof, exposing the underlayment to the elements.

If damaging events bare the waterproofing underlayment, leaks will follow fairly rapidly, usually within a year, as the sun weakens it.

When It Already Leaks Everywhere

Roofs can spring leaks just about any time for a variety of reasons, so one leak may not indicate a worn-out roof. You could have a single pipe jack giving up the ghost or localized animal damage. But if you begin to dread the gathering rain clouds because you legitimately fear your roof will develop yet another leak, then it’s clearly time to solicit bids for replacement.

When Too Many Shingles Have Come Loose or Went Missing

Age, weather and wind work together to break the seals of asphalt shingles. When they are still relatively fresh and new, the adhesive across the bottom of the shingles can loosen in a strong wind then re-stick once the sun heats them up again. But with every incident, a little more grit makes its way under the edge until finally the shingles can no longer reseal. Unsealed shingles are ready to become projectiles in the next heavy wind. When the wind manages to nudge a finger under one shingle, it usually snatches off a whole patch of them plus much of the underlayment, too. The cost to hand seal an entire roof is close to the price of replacement, so spare yourself and your roofer the trouble of attempting the task.

Can I Salvage a Stained Roof?

Mold, mildew, algae and lichens create unsightly stains on a roof, but because they have a much lower profile than moss, they do little more than look bad unless they are ignored for a long time. An ugly roof will likely prevent a sale, so you might consider replacing the roof before you put the house on the market. However, a more economical plan would be to simply have a professional roof and exterior cleaning company soft wash the roof.

Soft washing a stained roof offers a gentle way to clear off fungus and algae while leaving the roof system intact. At a much lower cost than replacement, if your only problem with your roof is staining, you should consider cleaning rather than replacing it.

If your roof displays signs of mold, algae, mildew, lichens or moss, please give Beacon Roof and Exterior Cleaning a call. Our knowledgeable staff would be happy to assess the roof and offer a free quote for an effective cleaning strategy. If your roof is in otherwise good condition, clean before you replace!

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