A roof serves to protect a home from the elements; unfortunately, however, roofs don’t last forever. Many roofs fail to last as long as they can simply because homeowners keep an “out of sight, out of mind” mindset. This eventually leads to major roof repairs. How do you know when it’s time to get a new roof?

Perform a visual inspection on a regular basis. Mark the calendar and do it on a periodic basis, and especially after each storm. You don’t have to climb onto the roof but a pair of binoculars and a scan from a short ladder is a good habit to practice. It is important to climb up there at least once a year for a closer look. Buckling, discoloration on your roof, rotting shingles, termite damage, age of your roof and interior damage, are just a few of the tell, tale signs that indicate that your roof is at risk for costly repairs.

Flashing (construction material used to prevent the passage of water around objects) at the roof line, vents and valleys need to be maintained in top shape. Galvanized metal flashing should go underneath the shingles. Common areas to look at galvanized flashing are around the edge of the roof-line and around anything that breaks the shingle surface or extends out of it (chimney, vents, skylights, etc.) Examine the flashing for dried, cracked roof cement and for metal corrosion. Flashing spots are normally the areas of a roof that may have problems or leak and are usually looked past due to the slow process of tell, tale signs of something wrong.

Check your roof for rotting shingles. Surface chipping and corrosion are common clues that something wrong with your roof. Rotting shingles contain holes or show signs of substantial deterioration. If the shingles on your roof that you can see have begun to rot, there is a high chance that the rot is occurring in areas you cannot see as well. A rotting roof should be replaced before further damage can occur. Cedar shake shingles are notorious for cracking and bowing when they’re nearing the end of their lifespan. Replace these shingles as necessary, but it’s a better idea just to get rid of them. Check the ground around the perimeter of your home for shingles or pieces of shingles that may have blown off your roof. Excessive loss of shingles may indicate a new roof is needed.

Consider the age of your roof and the cost of repairs. If your roof is more than 20 years old, the cost of repeated roof repairs can rapidly surpass the price of a new roof. In such case, opting for a new roof replacement may be the most financially sound option in the long run. You may consider replacing an aging roof even if it doesn’t show any current signs of deterioration. A new roof is an attractive feature for buyers if you plan on selling your home and increases your property value.

The usual sign of problem with your roof is sagging or uneven conditions. Your ridge line should be straight. If a swoop is seen between rafters your sheathing may be at fault. If it’s sagging on the ridge line, you may have foundation damage. Check inside the home under the sag for cracked drywall and doors that may drag. Note any sagging in any of the ceilings of your home. Sagging ceilings are sure signs of water damage caused by roof leaks. Check your attic for sagging as well. This is often the first area of the home in which water damage becomes apparent.

There are many things that you can do to maintain your roof and neglect is not one of them. The only sure way to know if you need a roof replacement is to have a professional come out and inspect it for you. A roofer can tell you whether and damage they find can be easily repaired or if a new roof is a better option. An existing roof can be tuned up for a longer life span simply by being proactive with inspections and making small repairs. Don’t find yourself spending unnecessary costs on outlandish repairs when all you need is a little TLC for your roof.