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8 Ways to Know if You Should Repair or Replace Your Roof

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Is your roof 5-years-old and leaking? If this is the case, the problem is more likely related to the quality of your roof or even a defect in the materials rather than normal wear and tear. On the other hand, a 20-year-old roof with multiple problem areas is most likely near the end of its lifespan and due to be replaced.

Here are some signs that you have a leak:

  • Water dripping from a skylight
  • Water weeping in the walls around the fireplace or in the fireplace
  • Discoloration in the ceiling at a plumbing vent
  • Water spots or wet roof decking (seen through the attic) 
  • Curling, cracked, or buckling shingles
  • Pebbles (shingle granules) on the driveway or in the gutter

If you can relate to any of these problems, it’s time to think about getting a roof repair or replacement. However, the decision isn't always so cut and dry.  

A trusted roofing contractor can help you better understand the extent of any roof damage so you can make the decision that’s right for your home and budget.  

Let’s take a look at what your roof may be trying to tell you.  

4 Signs You Need a Roof Repair


Damaged or Missing Shingles

When a roof has damaged or missing shingles it doesn’t make it any more or less likely you will experience a leak.  

It’s best though to call a roofing professional and have them perform a thorough inspection to determine if a repair will extend your roof’s lifespan without leading to future damage.

Damaged Shingles

Significant shingle damage

Depending on the location and the size of the area in need of replacement, it might be difficult to blend replacement shingles into the rest of the roof. However, if the area in need of new shingles is inconspicuous, or the section is relatively small, you might be able to get away with nailing down some replacement shingles.

Algae Growth

The black or dark brown streaks you might have noticed on some of your neighbors’ roofs may look like stains caused by mold, mildew, or pine straw, but they’re actually caused by blue-green algae.

Algae stains on roof

Heavy algae staining on roof

Algae spores are carried by the wind and animals and can quickly spread from your neighbor’s home to yours. However, there is no scientific evidence that algae growth is damaging to asphalt shingles, although it certainly affects the aesthetics.

The most effective repair is a cleaning done with a 50:50 mix of chlorine bleach and water. Your roofer will apply the solution with a sprayer and then let it sit on the roof’s surface for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly with low-pressure water.

Minor Roof Leaks

A single roof leak does not always mean you need to have your entire roof replaced. It could be caused by several reasons, some of which are easily fixed with a minor repair.  Let’s go over some of them.

  • Pipe boot failure is the most common cause of minor roof leaks.  These collars should last around 7 years, and in the event of failure simply replace them. 

  • Improperly driven nails are the second culprit.  Roofing nails that aren’t driven in far enough, nailed too low, or sideways will eventually work their way back up through the shingle. This situation requires the breaking of the seal on the shingle, removal of the nail, and then resealing of the shingle.  

  • Chimney leaks can be located at the flashing surrounding it, deteriorating mortar at a joint, or even through the chimney cap. Evidence of these leaks will appear in the walls around the fireplace and are all easily corrected

  • Skylights can leak due to a failed component such as a worn seal but the main cause is improper installation.  This is addressed by removal of the flashing kit, installing ice and water shield around the feature, and reinstalling the flashing kit to manufacturers instructions.

Regardless of the source of your leak, it’s important to solve a leaky roof problem sooner rather than later. It’s difficult to anticipate what hidden damage is being caused.

Fascia Damage

The fascia is the attractive board along the side of the overhang and the roof that helps your roof appear finished. It’s known as a “transition trim” between the home and the roofline. 

Your gutter sits atop the fascia board. Because they’re connected, they are usually the first element to get damaged if your gutters are clogged. Over time, this constant exposure to water may cause your fascia to deteriorate and rot.

Without the support of the fascia, your gutter system will begin to pull away from your home, leading to eventual failure. This will most likely require a substantial gutter renovation, but there’s no need for a complete roof replacement.

4 Signs You Need a Roof Replacement


Curled or Buckled Shingles

As your roof ages, the layers holding together the shingles will begin to peel away from each other. Shingles that are curled or look warped are a classic sign of an old roof. 

Curled shingles

Shingles curling along the bottom edge

There is a big difference between missing shingles lost during heavy winds and a leak that extends through the various layers of your roof. If the damage is extensive, it’s usually a better idea - and value to replace the entire roof.

Overwhelming Damage

Sometimes, a roof is too damaged to even consider repairing it. For example, if you have multiple leaks in your roof that aren’t isolated to just one or two areas, it’s time for a replacement. Likewise, if a tree has fallen straight down on your house, the damage will probably be far too intense for just a repair.

If you’re concerned about damage to your roof, contact a local roofer to come and inspect it.

A Sagging Roof

If your roof is leaking and sagging it’s no longer a question of whether you should repair or replace your roof. 

Once a roof has started to sag, it will only get worse and more expensive. The best course of action is to have a professional roofer provide you with an estimate on your roof replacement and discuss your options for future prevention.

Granule Loss

It is important to note that some granule loss is a normal part of roofing wear and tear.

However, it is a cause for concern when you spot more granule loss than usual. Over time, extensive granule loss will create bald spots on your roof.  As this happens the shingle is more susceptible to UV damage and water damage. 

Shingles with granule loss

Granule loss can be seen in the gutters or at downspouts

Additionally, your potential roof age is significantly lowered—If your roof is more than 15 years old it’s a clear sign you need a new roof.

Need Help With Your Roof Repair or Replacement?

Although we’ve gone over several ways to tell if you need a roof repair or replacement, you honestly won’t know what your roof needs until you get an inspection. 

It is essential that you address your roofing concerns as soon as possible, or else what was originally a small repair can turn into an entire roof replacement. By hiring an experienced contractor, you can quickly get to the bottom of your roofing problem. 

If you’re local to Raleigh and need a contractor for your roof repair or replacement, don’t hesitate to contact us today. With over 30 years of experience, we know what you're going through.

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