If you're like most homeowners, you already know that a leaky roof means trouble in the form of repairs and possible replacement. Most people outside of those employed in the roofing industry, however, don't have the expertise necessary to determine whether a roof can be repaired or if a total replacement in is order. Following are five things to take into consideration when deciding on a course of action to take when your roof starts to show unmistakable signs of wear and tear.
The Roof's Age
One of the primary deciding factors in whether your roof should be repaired or replaced is its age. The life span of your roof depends on its material. Asphalt roofs, for instance, can be expected to last up to 20 years. Metal roofing, on the other hand, may last longer than 40 years, and a slate roof can be expected to last 100 years or more. If your roof is made of wood, it may last as long as 30 years, but this depends on variables such as how well it was maintained and the climate where you live. In areas with high atmospheric humidity, for instance, wood roofs will not last as long.
Multiple Leaks in Different Parts of the Home
If you've got just one or two leaks in your home that are fairly close to one another, you can probably get away with just having that specific part of the roof repaired. If you've got multiple leaks in various locations, though, that's a sign that it may be time to have your entire roof replaced. Make a habit of inspecting your ceiling for water damage on a regular basis, particularly after heavy precipitation activity. Don't just look in the obvious spots, however—leaks can occur anywhere, so be sure to look at the ceiling of your closets and other low-traffic parts of the house where they may otherwise persist undetected.
Moss That Keeps Coming Back
If your roof is constantly plagued by moss, that's a possible sign that the roofing materials have a high moisture content. This problem occurs with both asphalt and wooden shingles. If the moss keeps returning to your roof even though you've sprayed it with products containing copper sulfate or other ingredients designed to keep moss under control, that's a sign that roofing materials may be in the process of deterioration due to too much moisture. The moss itself can also cause damage to the roof by breaking down the fibers in the shingles. Freeze damage is also a problem in areas where seasonal temperature reach below freezing because moss holds the moisture right next to the surface of the roof.
Loose Shingle Granules in Gutters
Always make sure to keep an eye out for loose shingle granules while you are cleaning your gutters—or if you hire a service to perform gutter cleaning tasks, ask them to inform you if they see shingle granules. Shingle granules are an indication that your roof has entered its final stage of deterioration. This is an issue with roofs made with asphalt shingles, and when this occurs, there is no way to repair the roof.
A Bouncy Surface
If you go up to your roof for the purpose of repairing a stray shingle or to perform some other maintenance and notice that your roof has a bouncy or a spongy feel underneath your feet, this could mean that the underlying decking has been significantly affected by moisture buildup.
Please feel free to contact a roofing company like Bob Behrends Roofing & Gutters LLC for more advice on choosing between roof repair and roof replacement.