Do you need a New Roof?
From the outside:
Use a pair of binoculars or stand on a ladder at roof level and look at the overall appearance of your roof. In particular, look for the following indications of potential roof problems:
- Are there any blistered, curled, or split shingles? A few can be repaired but if the general appearance of the roof is poor, it may be time to reroof.
- Are there loose or missing shingles or tiles?
- Do you see any exposed nails? They are a source of leaks.
- If your roof is covered with composition (asphalt) shingles, look for dark patches indicating the granular coating has worn away.
- Look for significant accumulation of granules in your rain gutters. Some granules are normal but a lot, combined with dark patches on your shingles, is a sign of an aging roof.
- Look for sagging along the ridges or in the middle of the roof.
- Any rusty metal or displaced shingles along the valley are signs of roof weaknesses.
- Inspect the flashing around plumbing vents and chimneys. Loose shingles or rusty, loose flashing is another sign of trouble.
- Check the gutters closely for sagging and signs of leaks between sections. Are the downspouts firmly in place and directing water away from the house foundation?
- If you have a shake or shingle roof, inspect the flashing around chimneys and vertical walls carefully because acid in the wood can eat away at the flashing over the years.
From the inside:
- In the attic, look for signs of leaks. Dark stains on the rafters or the underside of the roof decking material generally indicate water trails.
- If you find dark spots, see if they are still wet or are old. Push a sharp screwdriver into the wood. If it is soft, it's a sign of rot. If the wood is stained but still dry and firm during your rainy season, it may be an old leak that has been repaired.
- Look up through the roof for any pinpoints of light. If you find one, run a thin length of wire up through it so you can find it on the roof. Do not widen the hole. Shake roofs in particular may show daylight during the summer months, but the wood will swell shut again with the first rains.
- Look for sagging sheathing between rafters. This is one sign of an old roof in need of repair. Sagging or cracked rafters will certainly require repair or replacement as part of a new roof installation.
- Look for any blisters on the roof. If not already broken, blisters eventually will break, which may allow water to enter the roof. If you find any blisters, slit them with a knife and then coat with asphalt roofing patch material commonly known as roofing cement.
- Look for depressions around vent pipes where water can collect and begin leaking through cracks in the surface. Fill them with roofing cement.
- Check all flashing for any separations by the parapet that rings the flat roof.
- Clean drains at the low end of the roof so that water can run off without interruption.
There are two options. You can choose a complete replacement of the roof system, involving a tearoff of your existing roof system, or re-cover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system. If you've already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, check with a professional roofing contractor. In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary.
Not necessarily. Leaks can result from flashings that come loose or a section of the roof system being damaged. A complete roof system failure, however, generally is irreversible and a result of improper installation or choice of materials or the roof system installation is inappropriate for the home or building.
Most work should not be done yourself. Professional roofing contractors are trained to safely and efficiently repair or replace roof systems. You can damage your roof system by using improper roofing techniques and severly injure yourself by falling off or through the roof.