House Buying Series: Identifying a Roof That Needs to Be Replaced


You recently found a home you love and are strongly considering making an offer on it. There’s just one thing holding you back: the roof. It doesn’t appear to be in great shape, but does that have to be a deal breaker? It depends.


If the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan and the current owner isn’t going to replace it before selling, you’ll have to do it instead, which is a large additional expense. So, the question is, does the roof need to be replaced?


10 Signs of a Failing Roof

1. Cracks

Cracks can be difficult to detect, so you should have a professional inspect the roof for you before you decide to buy any home. Hail, heat, humidity, and old age can all cause shingles to crack and start to leak.

2. Bald Spots

Look for bald spots on shingles where granules are missing. As a roof nears the end of its life, it loses more and more granules. Take a look inside the gutters (where granules often collect), and if you see large numbers of them, consider it a red flag.

3. Curling and Buckling

If shingles begin curling or buckling, it’s a sign that a roof might be past its life expectancy and needs to be replaced. This can happen after a roof reaches a certain age or when an attic isn’t properly ventilated and too much heat gets trapped inside.

4. Sagging

If a roof is sagging, even slightly, it probably needs to be replaced. This can lead to collapse or other structural damage to your roof and home.

5. Old Age

Once a shingle roof reaches 20 years of age, its health can start to rapidly decline. You’ll likely start experiencing leaks, shingle loss, and other problems around this time.

6. Eyesore

If the roof looks outdated, worn, or much older than roofs on other homes in the neighborhood, it should be replaced soon. If other roofs in your neighborhood have recently been replaced, it likely means yours is also reaching the end of its useful life.

7. Moss

If it looks like moss has been growing on the roof for quite some time, you should take a closer look. Moss grows roots and holds moisture, which can leak into your roof in the summer or freeze and damage shingles in the winter. Have a roofing contractor inspect the roof for you to determine whether any damage has been done or if the moss can be safely removed and the area simply prepped to avoid moss from growing there again in the future.

8. Worn Valleys

If valleys are worn down or missing shingles, a lot of damage could already be done. Water on your roof flows down into the valleys, where it is then directed towards the gutters so it can drain from the roof. If this area is compromised, the roof could start leaking badly.

9. Missing Shingles

If even a single shingle is missing from a roof, that area is left exposed to the elements and can easily be damaged by heat, UV rays, moisture, ice, animals, branches, and more.

10. Moisture

If the roof has a spongy feel to it (which you will need a roofing inspector to determine for you), it means moisture has seeped into the decking and weakened the structure.

Before buying a home, it’s wise to have a professional inspect the roof for you so you know how old it is and how much life it has left. If you need a roof inspected in the Ankeny, Ames, or Des Moines area, contact Hedrick Construction any time. We’d be happy to perform an inspection to equip you to make an educated decision when choosing whether to buy a home.