Asphalt Shingle Roofing Advice – Why the Hell do I Need a New Roof?

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Eric Brennan Getting Ready to Install ShinglesIt’s an age old question — do I need a new asphalt shingle roof? If you have a roofer come to your home to do an inspection, chances are they are going to tell you that you need a new roof. And, chances are they need the money more than you need a new roof. So what gives? Do you need a new roof or not? Use these common signs that your asphalt shingle roof needs to be replaced and save yourself the hassle of wondering whether or not you got an honest roofing inspection.

Old Age

Asphalt shingles are a lot like your high school lunch lady — they can get pretty crusty and wrinkled, but they still do their job every day. The average asphalt shingle has a typical lifespan of 8-12 years, although many last far longer than that. That’s not a whole lot of time compared to the lunch lady, but at least your roof doesn’t serve all your meals with an ice cream scoop. Lifespans vary according tot he quality of the roofing shingles and how much weather abuse they take. If your asphalt roof has been in place for a decade or more, it may be a good idea to get it replaced sooner rather than later. Even if it doesn’t leak now, with the right wind, rain or snow storm, an older shingle roof is sure to leak (usually at the least opportune time).

Damaged Shingles

It may seem obvious that physical damage to your shingles is a sure sign that your roof needs to be replaced; but don’t jump the gun. Unless a significant amount of damage is in place over a good portion of the roof, a simple (and cheaper) repair can often be made. If just a few shingles are cracked, broken, or missing on your roof, then spot replacing the those shingles can often buy your roof more time.

Heavy Staining

Roofing is just like underwear — if it’s heavily stained; it’s time for some new drawers. While minor skid marks can be scrubbed out (I’m talking about the roof), when stains occur around plumbing stacks, vents or skylights it might be more than just heavy staining from leaves and other roofing debris. Dark discolorations around roof valleys, vents and other roofing penetrations can mean that the sealants that waterproof these areas are degrading and need to be replaced soon. Staining can also be a sign of improper flashing, which is definitely something you don’t want to procrastinate fixing. When it comes to homes, water is the enemy!

Loose Granules

Broken Shingle Tab with Lots of Missing Granules and Bird Poop
Broken Shingle Tab with Bird Poop and Lots of Missing Granules

Roofing granules are used to protect the asphalt base of the shingle from decay caused by overexposure to sunlight. UV rays are a killer for asphalt and these tiny rocks protect your shingles from old sol, as well as give it that lovely color. Check your gutters or roofing valley for piles of these little pebbles. If you’ve got more than a handful, that can be an indicator you’re in need of a new roof.

Cupping

Curled edges, cupping or broken corners on the majority of your shingles can tell you that your roof is too old. But that’s not always the case. If your shingles aren’t that old and still exhibit cupping, it might be a sign that your attic ventilation isn’t up to snuff. When poor attic ventilation is active, shingles get roasted by the rising heat. Because attic heat can’t escape through the proper vents, it works its way through the gaps in your plywood and shingles. This can dry out shingles prematurely and cause plywood roofing to dry rot. A ridge vent with at least a 2” wide opening is a must for keeping your shingles in good shape as they age.

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About Eric

Since Eric built his first skateboard ramp in his parents driveway; he’s breathed, slept and eaten DIY construction. As a second generation master carpenter who runs two Florida-based construction firms, Eric’s had the chance to work on everything from Mcmansions to your local mall to the cat lady’s bathroom. So when it comes to dealing with construction s@#t; he’s the man—literally. There isn’t a tool or construction material that Eric hasn’t used and abused, and if there is; it’s rocking in a dark corner nervously waiting for him to show up for work.

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