We proposed to you a while back that there are not two, but three, certainties in life: death, taxes, and system failure. The moment you build or install something new in your home, it is on its way to failure. Don’t be discouraged, but do be prepared.   Today’s topic: your roof. 

A roof can develop a leak that only needs a smaller repair such as new flashing.   However, a roof that is in imminent danger of failure may need to be replaced completely even if it is not leaking at all. So, it’s good to know some of the warning signs of a failing roof.

First, as a roof ages, the granular texture of the shingles sloughs off.  You may be able to see the shingles thinning or see the granules in the gutters when they get cleaned out. As the shingles age more, they can become brittle and begin to crack or curl.  If not repaired, the damage can go deeper, and a more costly repair will be required when the decking needs to be replaced too.

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Even if you cannot clearly see the condition of the shingles yourself from the ground, that’s ok. The most important view of your roof is the one from underneath.  In the attic, look for stained plywood on the underside of the roof.  Look for dark stains around the eaves. When a roof fails, it will often fail from the edges in.   Beware if you see multiple layers. A roof installed on top of an existing roof will not function effectively as long. 

To give your roof the longest lifespan possible, there are a few things you can do.  Most of the factors that affect the life of asphalt shingles are weather and climate related and therefore, unfortunately, beyond our control. The most important regular maintenance task to keep on top of is clearing and cleaning the gutters. This will help the roof especially through a long winter. Next, trim back overhanging tree limbs.   This is not only to minimize the danger of storm damage, but also to let sunlight in to prevent moss and moisture damage.  

Finally, handle problems as they arise. This is not an area you ever want to delay if you think something is wrong.