As a homeowner, you may encounter a variety of statements you don’t want to hear, such as “your septic tank needs to be replaced,” or “your plumbing system is shot.” These statements are enough to cause anyone’s mind to race. The same thing goes for your roof. The last thing you want to hear from the contractor is that you need a complete roof replacement as well as repairs to the structure of your home due to damage caused by a faulty roof.
So, what can you do to help your roof last as long as possible and avoid costly repairs? The answer is quite simple: listen to what your roof is telling you. No, the roof won’t actually speak to you (at least not out loud), but there are several ways your roof will show that particular areas need attention sooner rather than later. From granule-filled gutters to missing shingles, here are several signs that your roof is trying to tell you something.
The Roof Looks Old and Worn
If you don’t even need to take the ladder out to see the roof is looking old and worn, it may be time to replace it. Another way to tell that the roof has reached its full lifespan is if other homeowners in your neighborhood are getting new roofs. Homes near yours that were built around the same time as yours have been experiencing the same weather conditions over the years. Typically, an asphalt shingle roof between 20–25 years of age has reached its limit.
If you walk on the roof (which we don't recommend) and notice spongy or soft spots, your roof's wood decking may have long-term water damage. Other signs of water damage to the roof wood decking are water spots in the attic. If this problem isn’t addressed promptly, it may lead to more serious and expensive damage—possibly even a cave-in.
Gutters Are Filled with Granules
If the gutters are filled with granules that wash out of the downspouts and/or are scattered on the ground near the foundation, it means the roofing shingles have reached the end of their life expectancy. The older the shingles are, the more granules will fall off and find their way into the gutter system. Granules help protect the roof against the sun's UV rays, and once they're gone, the shingles will become brittle as well as weaken the strength of the shingle, ultimately reducing your home's protection against water damage.
Shingles Are Cupping or Curling
If the shingles on your roof are cupping or curling on the edges, it may mean your attic isn’t properly ventilated. Cupping can also happen as shingles age, and an attic that isn’t properly ventilated can accelerate the problem. When the attic gets too hot, it heats up the roof, which also heats the underside of the shingles, causing them to cup and/or curl. Curled shingles can allow the rain to work its way underneath and eventually leak into your home.
Water Spots on Ceilings or Exterior Walls
If you notice water spots on the exterior walls of your house, it typically means the flashing where the wall meets the roof is damaged, rusted, or loose. If you see water spots on interior ceilings, it could mean there is a leak in the roof, which may not be easy to find. Water from a roof leak doesn't always drip straight down from the leak; it can move along the roof and into the attic before dripping into the insulation and drywall of the ceiling.
Some things, such as missing shingles, are sure signs that there is something wrong with your roof, but the problem may not be as simple as some may think. For example, if you notice missing shingles following a heavy storm, the damage is likely the result of the storm. But, if you notice missing shingles and there haven’t been any storms, it may mean there is an animal on the roof causing damage. Either way, it's essential that you contact a roofing contractor as soon as possible to fix the problem and prevent water damage.
When you pay attention to the warning signs your roof is giving you, you can catch smaller problems before they turn into larger, more expensive problems. Contact Hedrick Construction for any of your Des Moines or Ames area roofing needs!
Image source By DMahalko, Dale Mahalko, Gilman, WI, USA -- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons