New roofs with standard or architectural shingles will generally last anywhere from 20 to 50 years before they need replacement. This is only a general rule of thumb, however, and not a prescription to ignore your roof for twenty or more years. All roofs are subject to environmental stresses and extreme weather conditions that can substantially shorten a roof’s lifespan.
Most roofing experts recommend that you or your roof contractor should inspect your roof at least twice per year to determine if the roof needs to be replaced. The most logical times for these inspections are in the spring and the fall, after your roof has been exposed to the climate extremes of winter and summer.
Apart from the roof’s actual chronological age, the first sign that your roof may need to be replaced is if the shingles are curled or buckling. Shingles should lay flat against the roof’s underlying plywood, but age, excess moisture or sunlight, and wind can begin to pull shingles away from that plywood, thus harming the overall integrity of your roof. If you see granules or pieces of the roofing shingles on the ground around your house, your roof is likely experiencing more severe degradation.
Check gutters and downspouts for roofing tile granules as well. If you do not have or prefer not to climb up a ladder to check gutters, you can attach a camera to a telescoping pole and take a few digital pictures of the insides of your gutters. You can also use this technique to get close-up pictures of the roofing shingles, which could reveal the beginnings of problems that may not be apparent from your house’s ground level.
You might also notice valleys or pathways in the roofing shingles where water and other precipitation have eroded away whole sections of shingles. This is a more extreme sign that almost certainly indicates the need for a roof replacement.
A professional roofing inspector will be able to climb onto your roof to test if any area are soft or pliable under his weight, and to do closer inspections of all areas of the roof. The inspector should pay particular attention to flashing around chimneys, skylights, and other extensions that project through the roofing tiles. Leaks and decay frequently start at flashing that pulls away from a roof, which allows a path for water to begin its decaying effects on roofing plywood. Homeowners that do not have the safety training or professional expertise to climb onto the exterior surface of a sloped roof should access their house’s crawlspace or attic under the roof to inspect the underside for water leakage and decay.
As with any other problem that you might detect with your house, if you sense an issue that suggests you should replace your roof, then you will inevitably save money by replacing the roof as soon as you can, rather than waiting until the issue gets worse. A slight leak in your roof, for example, can lead to bigger leaks that can damage interior drywall or cause mold growth. Rather than just replacing the roofing shingles, you might need to rebuild entire underlying plywood structures.
Ohio’s weather might not be as extreme as the weather in other parts of the country, but it does still have an effect on the lifespan and integrity of roofs. The roofing technicians at Advantage Window & Door Company in Columbus, Ohio, have seen virtually every type of roofing damage that the weather can cause. For more information about our roofing services or to schedule a professional inspection of the roof on your central or southern Ohio home, please contact our support staff at 614-532-4693.