The roof is understandably one the more neglected components of a home.  After all, you probably only see it from a distance, if at all, and it doesn’t cry out for your attention like a leaky faucet or a door that doesn’t close properly.  Your roof just sits there, protecting your most important investment from the elements … until it doesn’t.

So how can you tell whether your shingled roof is nearing the end of its life, especially after a long and challenging winter like this one?  More importantly, how can you tell before it fails and leads to costly interior damage?

Obviously, you can contact us for a roof tune-up.  We’ll inspect your roof, replace up to 10 shingles, and even caulk and re-attach any loose shingles.  You’ll get a full 21-point report so you’ll know exactly the condition of your roofing system.

In the meantime, here are some signs that your shingled roof may be nearing the end of its lifetime:

1. The Age.  If your roof is more than 20 years old, it’s probably time to start planning for its replacement, especially if those no-longer-a-teenager shingles are nailed on top of another layer.  Is your roof vented properly?  If not, expect a shorter life span.

2. The Obvious.  Look for torn, curled, buckled or missing shingles, or exposed nail heads among the shingles.  You may need binoculars to get a good look.  Remember to check all sides of the roof: depending on how your home is positioned, one side may weather much more quickly than the others.  Finding bits of shingles in your yard?  That’s another red flag.

3. The Less Obvious.  An accumulation of shingle granules in your gutters is another sign that your shingles are past their prime.  We don’t advise getting on a ladder to check – that’s our job – but sometimes a portion of the gutters is visible from an upstairs window, especially a dormer window.  If so, take a look.  You can also look at the places where the downspouts discharge at ground level.

4. The Inside Out.  If you have easy access to your attic, go up in daytime hours, turn off any lights and look closely around the edges of the chimney.  If you can see any daylight, that’s a sign that the chimney flashing – an important part of your roof system – needs to be re-done.  While you’re in the attic, look at the underside of the sheathing (the plywood the shingles are nailed to).  There should not be any damp or spongy areas, although there may be water spots from before the last time the roof was done.  Mark or photograph these so you can look for any changes next time you inspect.  Finally, make sure that any venting from bathrooms is directed through the roof, as opposed to discharging steam in your attic, which will shorten the life of your sheathing.

If you have any of the above signs, or other red flags you may notice, it’s best to have a professional come out and take a second look. As always if you have any questions, feel free to contact your local home improvement experts at AROCON Roofing & Construction!