Warning Signs – Is It Time For A New Roof?

Warning Signs – Is It Time For A New Roof?

Asphalt shingles, due to their low overall cost of installation, cover most roofs in North America. Within this article, I will be focusing primarily sloped roofs, covered by asphalt and wood shingles/shakes.

Your roof is designed to act as a shedding system, much like an umbrella, while protecting the house from the elements… and most importantly, water damage.

Here in Southern BC, our houses and buildings really take a beating from the weather, especially on the South East exposed sides.  Wind and rain do a lot of damage in the winter when they blow under the shingles, or litter the roof with tree branches and other debris.

By far the biggest threat to a roof is water.  It will always find a way in…if it can.  Collection areas such as behind skylights or chimneys can allow water in even when there is only a tiny a hole.

Although it can be difficult to know the exact reasons for roof conditions, listed below are some of the indicators that your roof may need to be replaced.

Asphalt Shingles

The common problems associated with asphalt shingles include the following:

Extreme Granular Loss- This can happen as a result of normal wear and tear, damage from the wind and debris or when the ultra violet rays from the sun deteriorate the shingles. Granular loss can also be attributed to old age. In this case, asphalt shingles will become brittle.

Cupping/Fishmouthing – Cupping is identified by the raised side edges of the shingle protruding upward-representing a cup look. This condition is typically caused by old age. An opening in the middle, at the front edge of the shingle identifies “Fishmouthing”. This is typically caused by moisture building up in the building, combined with inadequate venting under the roof surface. This condition will contribute to further damage and water penetration

Width between shingles – The older and more deteriorated a shingle becomes, the wider the area between shingles will be.

Cracking/Curling – One of the tell tale signs of a worn out roof are the curls and cracks that develop. The curls typically show up at the lower edges and possibly on the sides of the shingles. Cracking will happen when the shingles have worn out. They can also blister under the shingle surface.

Broken/Damaged or Missing Shingles – As a rule of thumb, if more than 15% of your roof is damaged or is missing shingles, it’s time to call the roofer for an estimate.

Wood Shingles or Shakes

Wood is constantly absorbing moisture or drying. When the wood shingles have been exposed to the air, it has a chance to dry. This drying process is extremely important for the wood to maintain its longevity.

Some common concerns with wood shingles/shakes have been listed below:

Extreme Moss/Lichen growth (Wood and Asphalt) – Moss loves to grow on surfaces that are cool, damp and exposed to limited sunlight. The moss will hold moisture against the roof, while developing small roots. This is especially bad for wood roofs because it prevents the wood from drying.

Rot – As briefly mentioned above, anything that will make the roof wet or prevent it from drying will promote rot. Examples include shaded areas, surface debris, wet climates, moss build up and a roof with a low slope.

Cupping/Curling/Splitting – Just as you would see with asphalt shingles, the outer sides moving upward represent cupping. When wood shingles curl, they create what looks like a small upward ramp from the front edge outward. Splitting occours when the wood is old or very early on due to over enthusiastic nailing by roofers

Burn-through – Over time, weather conditions will soften and wash away the loose wood fibers. Freeze and thaw cycles contribute to the loosening of wood fibers as well. When this happens, the lower layers will be exposed to further weathering, resulting in premature deterioration.

All roofing products have a life span and some are longer than others. Weather conditions, installation practices, shingle quality, vegetation, exposure, maintenance and shingle colour, are just some of the factors that contribute to the life of a roof.

Asphalt shingles will typically last from 10 – 25 years and wood shingle/shake roofs may last from 10 – 30 years, bearing the many factors mentioned above.

If you notice water stains on your ceiling, it is possible that the roof has a leak. A leak however, does not always mean replacement.

Hopefully this has article been helpful. If so, let me know!

For more detailed information or questions about your roof just ask me or contact a professional roofing company in your area.

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