How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

While replacing an older roof is always a desirable option for homeowners, cost and availability are important factors to consider when deciding if the time is right for total replacement. Maintenance and repairs can often add valuable years onto the life-span of a roof. Other times, however, the choice to delay necessary replacement can lead to harsh consequences and inconveniences for a family.

The decision is best be made in consultation with a roofing contractor, who can offer professional expertise on the nature of the job. But homeowners can also put some common sense research into forming a reasonable opinion on the best option for their roof. Here is a look at factors to consider when deciding if it is the right time to replace your roof:

  • Research exact age of roof: Many times homeowners are unfamiliar with the precise age of the roof because a prior resident was responsible for its replacement. Check inspection reports from the time of purchase to determine if the home inspector was researched the year of installation. If a home is relatively new, chances are that it still has its original roof. Most experts agree that a typical roof can function well for 20 to 25 years, but the figure varies with the degree of proper maintenance, installation, and ventilation.
  • Thorough visual inspection: The roof is arguably the hardest place in your house to get a good look. Depending on its pitch, and the overall nature of the structure, safely get in a position to make a close inspection. If unable to do so, ask a professional for an opinion of the roof, which can include photographic evidence of exact condition.
  • Check attic for daylight: Once again, if possible, make a visual inspection of the home’s attic. Even if this area is a mere crawl space, get safely into position to take a close look at the underside of your roof. Insulation may prevent a good view, but if any daylight can be seen through the boards, there is good evidence of a crack or hole in the roof.
  • Get estimates for repair and replacement: Contractors are equally capable of repairing or replacing a roof. A professional may offer an opinion at which option is preferable, but ask for a breakdown of cost both for repairs and for replacement. The final decision – and also the responsibility for choosing correctly – ultimately rests with the homeowner.
  • Consult insurance company: When in position to seek replacement, the necessity is typically due to wear and tear of the materials or the mere age of the roof. However, problems are sometimes caused by conditions that are covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. For example, if damage has been caused by a tree, there may be assistance available under the terms of the policy that covers the associated property.

This is not an exhaustive list, but only some of the more common suggestions to consider when deciding if appropriate to replace a roof. While the decision is intimidating, choosing correctly is the best way to protect both a home’s value and the safety of those living under that roof.