Help, My Roof is Leaking! Common Signs You Need a New Roof

Is your roof getting old? Do you even know how old it is?

Like everything else in your house, your roof has a shelf life. Even if you haven’t noticed any roof problems, and you’ve done proper maintenance, there still may be hidden problems just waiting to ruin your day.

The last thing you want is for your roof to collapse or blow away in a storm. So how do you know when you need a new roof? Keep reading, that’s how!

Below we’ve listed the most common signs you need a new roof. If you have an old or aging house, check your roof for these signs before it’s too late.

You Can See the Sun

Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? If the cracks in your roof are so bad that they’re letting in sunlight, get your roof repaired or replaced immediately.

A crack that extensive will definitely let rainwater in, too. And that will make the crack even worse.

Check for this on a bright, sunny day. Close the doors, close the blinds, and shut all the lights off. Then, look up to see if any sunlight is getting through.

Water Damage

Water damage is another possible sign of roof damage. Look around for any obvious, dripping leaks when it’s raining.

And check around the whole interior for discolorations or stains on the ceiling. Also, check for dark streaks where water might be running down the inside of the walls.

Next, check for sagging areas in the interior ceiling and especially the exterior roof. If the roof is sagging enough to collect rainwater in a puddle, that’s a problem that will get worse very quickly.

If you see water damage on the interior but none on the exterior, it may still be damage from a leaky roof. But it may also be a leak in the plumbing.

Holes and Broken or Missing Tiles

If you are able and properly equipped to check your exterior roof, look for obvious signs of damage. Pay special attention to roof valleys (where two roof declines meet, forming a valley). These are the most likely places to have leaks because they get the most exposure to rainwater.

If you are not able or unequipped, DO NOT perform an exterior roof check yourself. A fall from any roof can result in serious injury or death.

In most cases, it’s best to call a professional roofing expert to perform an exterior roof check. Many will even do it for free. See more here.

Instead, you can still safely check the visible bottom edges of the roof. Either way, look for obvious signs of roof damage. Some common ones are holes, cracks, and missing or broken roof tiles.

Rot and Decay

It’s not uncommon for wood or asphalt roofs to start rotting after a while. This may show up as cracked, broken, missing or brittle tiles. Discoloration and mold buildup is another sign of rot.

Algae and moss buildup, however, shouldn’t be a concern. In most cases, these are a common, harmless occurrence in humid locations.

You should be able to hose algae or moss off your roof if you’d like to. Or remove them with hydrogen peroxide mixed with water.

Deteriorated Shingles

Like wooden roof tiles, shingles are likely to deteriorate in time. Check shingles to see if any are curling or cracking.

Also, check if any are missing or out of place. Defunct shingles will leave your roof unprotected from the elements.

One safe way to check shingle health is by looking in your gutter. Are there are particles of broken shingles in your gutter? If so, they’re deteriorating and need to be replaced.

Damaged Flashing Around Chimney

Flashing is the place where your chimney is attached to your roof. Tar or cement flashing wears somewhat easily. It will need repairing or replacing after a while or it may allow leaks.

Metal flashing systems, on the other hand, are more durable and will last much longer. Check your flashing for cracks, holes and other signs of damage. If it needs replacing, consider getting metal flashing this time.

Roof Age of 20 Years or More

Any roof that’s 20 years old or older should be replaced. If you know the roof is this old, get it replaced.

If you don’t know how old it is, see if you can find out. Check your house documents, roof warranty information, etc.

Or, take a look at your neighbors’ roofs. Most of the time, all the houses in a neighborhood are built at the same time.

Do most of your neighbors’ roofs look new? Then they’ve been recently replaced, and yours should be, too.

Questionable Patch Jobs

Has your roof already been patched up before? How does the patch job look?

If it looks bad or you know that it leaks, this is a problem. A shoddy patch job might be causing other problems for your roof. The longer the patches have been there, the worse it’s likely to be.

If this sounds like your roof, it’s definitely worth it to get this checked out.

Did You Find Any of These Signs You Need a New Roof?

So how does your roof rate against this test? Did you notice any of these signs you need a new roof?

If you did notice any of these problems, or are unable to check for them, it’s time to call a professional. Remember, many roofing companies will take a look at your roof for free. Make some calls and find someone who will do a free inspection for you.

The most important thing is this: don’t wait to get it checked out. If you did notice any of these problems, it won’t take long for them to get much worse. If you’ve seen the signs, call it in now.

Now that you know just what to do with your roof, why not give do-it-yourself flooring a try? Check out our super-helpful article, Do It Yourself Flooring: Easy DIY or Leave It to the Pros.