Have you noticed some damage to your roof? Are you missing shingles or finding granules in your gutter? If so, you’re probably starting to wonder if it’s time to replace your roof.

So how do you know if you need a brand new roof? It’s possible that the damage isn’t severe enough to require a complete roof replacement. You may need to have some repairs made.

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If you’re not sure which option to choose, here’s a quick guide to help you determine if you should repair or replace your roof. Ask yourself the following questions to decide which option is best for your unique situation:

  • What caused the damage to my roof?

The first thing you need to consider is the cause of the damage. If you know that the cracked or broken shingles were caused by a tree branch hitting your roof during a storm, then it’s likely that the damage is isolated to just that one spot and can be easily fixed. In that case, you only need to have the damaged area repaired.

Roof shingles that are damaged regularly and easily can indicate that there’s a more serious issue. For example, if you notice that your shingles start tearing after every storm, even minor ones, then you will probably want to consider having your roof redone.

  • How widespread is the damage to my roof?

Is the damage isolated to just one spot or does it affect the entire roof? If you’ve seen just one place on your roof where the shingles are torn and there’s a small leak, then you’re probably just looking at a repair job. But if there are multiple damaged and/or leaky areas spread out in several places on your roof, that signals a more extensive problem. In that case, you are probably looking at a roof replacement.

  • How old is my roof?

If your roof was installed in the last few years and you’ve noticed some damage recently, your best bet is probably to repair the broken shingles. An asphalt shingle roof, which is the most common type for residential buildings, should last between 20 and 30 years. If your roof is approaching the 20 to 25-year mark, then the wear and tear on your roof is probably pretty extensive. It’s likely you’ll need to replace it soon.

  • What type of damage does my roof have?

There are different types of damage that you may notice on your roof, some more serious than others.

  • Loose shingle granules: If you recently had your roof replaced and are seeing granules in the gutter, don’t panic – it’s only natural that some of the granules on the shingles will fall away soon after installation.

If you have an older roof, though, seeing these in your gutter could indicate an issue. The granules help protect shingles from the elements. Once the granules are removed, the shingles will start to deteriorate rapidly. You won’t need to replace your roof immediately, but this is a sign that the integrity of your roof is in decline.  

 

  • Cracked Shingles: Cracked shingles are often caused by wind damage. If there are only a few cracked shingles on your roof, it will be easy enough to have them replaced. If many shingles in random spots on the roof are cracked, then you should consider replacing your roof in the next several years.
  • Curling shingles: Caused by weathering, shingles can either cup (curl up on the edges) or claw (turn down at the edges.) Both of these types of curling indicate that serious roof troubles like leaking could occur in the near future. If the curling is slight, you may need a roof replacement in 3-5 years. With more noticeable and severe curling, you should probably think about replacing your roof in the next year or so.
  • Sagging roof: If your entire roof is sagging, it’s likely you’ll need your roof replaced soon. A sagging roof indicates serious, widespread damage to your roof. It could even be evidence of underlying structural damage. If you’ve noticed a droop or depression in your roof, contact a roofing professional as soon as possible to have the damage assessed and corrected.

Assess the damage and call a professional

Your roof is a vital, but underappreciated, part of your home. We usually only start to notice it when something goes wrong. If you have noticed damage to your roof, don’t just let it slide. Ignoring potential roofing problems can lead to more extensive (and expensive) damage later on.

Take the time to check your roof and assess the damage using the questions in this guide. If your roof needs to be repaired or replaced, call a professional. A new or repaired roof is an investment, but it’s one that will add years to the life of your home.

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