All roofs have a finite service life. This is true regardless of how high-quality your materials are, how skilled your roofer was, or how meticulous you’ve been about roof maintenance. For asphalt shingle roofs, the typical life expectancy is anywhere from 15 to 50 years—a figure that can be affected for better or worse by a number of factors.
So your shingles may have 20, 30, or 50-year labels, but this isn’t an absolute value. How then can you tell when it’s time for a replacement? Boston contractor and This Old House contributor Tom Silva says:
There are several clues, and the biggest one is age. If your roof is more than 20 years old, there’s a good chance it’s due for replacement. But younger roofs can fail too, so it’s a good idea to inspect a roof at least once a year. Don’t use a ladder, though. Binoculars are easier and a lot safer, and you can spot most problems from the ground.
Three of the most easy-to-spot signs are:
- Cracked or bent shingles.
Shingle cracks can be caused by physical damage from hailstones or falling branches. Bent or curling shingles are due to the asphalt drying and shrinking over time. Once shingles have curled, they become brittle and even more susceptible to cracks.
- Granules in the gutters or downspouts.
Granules protect shingles from UV deterioration. Patches of this protective shield fall off or get washed off as your shingles age, accelerating wear and causing even more brittleness. Excessive granule loss is visible from the ground as dark patches on a light roof or light patches on a dark roof.
- Missing shingles.
Missing shingles can be caused by excessive brittleness or by poor workmanship during installation, which leads to shingle failure. This makes your roof vulnerable to water intrusion.
If you see any of these signs on your roof, contact an expert in residential and commercial roofing in South Tampa ASAP. Putting off a replacement will only lead to costly structural damage down the road.
(Article Excerpt from How to Spot a Failing Roof, This Old House)