Where would civilization be without roofs? Probably very cold and wet. A solid roof is every home's first line of defense against the elements. That is why they need to be properly maintained and occasionally inspected. The best approach to roof upkeep is to stop a problem before it gets out of hand. Homeowners can avoid a residential roofing disaster by keeping a lookout for these warning signs.
The Roof's Age
Residential roofing is not meant to last a lifetime. Most professionally installed roofs will keep out rain for up to 25 years, but many factors can reduce this number. A roof subjected to repeated extreme weather conditions might begin to crumble after 15 years. Even without leaks, a roof should be thoroughly inspected at the 20-year mark.
Curling shingles are a strong indication that a roof is reaching its breaking point. This type of damage can usually be visible around the edges of the roof or along the side of the house. If shingles begin to curl only after a few years of installation, then it might be a sign that someone installed them improperly.
Shingle Pieces in Rain Gutters
The best time to inspect residential roofing is after cleaning the rain gutters. Typically, this should happen after the fall leafing season and before winter. Aside from removing leaves and debris, homeowners should check for shingle pieces or granules in the gutters that could indicate the deterioration of shingles.
Daylight in the Attic
Not all residential roofing inspections take place outside. Homeowners should also be inspecting their attics for the first sign of damage. A strong indication would be daylight shining through the roof boards. When there is any sign of daylight, the decking has been compromised. Also, if there is moisture in the insulation, then the roof could be leaking.
One of the most important times to check a roof is after a powerful storm. Missing shingles may not indicate the need for a new roof but certainly require fast repair before the next storm moves through your area.
Moss and Algae
Moss does not just grow on north-facing trees. It can also form on roofs, especially those sections that do not get a lot of direct sunlight. Beyond its appearance, the real problem with moss is moisture. Moss clusters can freeze up in the winter causing cracks in the shingles, allowing moisture to see in.
The same principle applies to algae growth on a roof. Instead of green patches with moss, look for dark streaks. A water / bleach mixture sprayed on the area and then rinsed off can remove most algae.
Although replacing a roof can be an expensive project, it is one of those risks for which homeowners need to prepare. It may help to start saving money around the ten-year anniversary of a roof. That way, when it's time to replace, the funds will be ready.