Do you know how to recognise the signs your roof needs repairing or replacing? If you are seeing one or more of these signs, it’s probably time to get your roof inspected by a professional. These signs will help you decide whether your roof needs repairing or replacing, depending on the severity. Ignoring these issues is a recipe for disaster and will usually lead to significant damage and higher costs later on.

11 Signs Your Roof Needs Repairing or Replacing

1. Old roof

This is the easiest sign your roof needs repairing or replacing! You can’t escape the fact that your roof will age! All roofs age differently, depending on many factors such as installation techniques, ventilation, and climate, but in general they are designed to last about 20-25 years. If your property is nearing this age or is older and you have never had the roof replaced, it might be good to get it examined by a professional. If you’re not sure about the age of your property or your roof, it can be helpful to look around at the neighbour’s roofs to compare. The houses were probably built around the same time. If all your neighbours’ roofs look in better shape than yours, it’s probably time to get it looked at and consider replacing it!

2. Missing, broken, or torn shingles

Missing or broken shingles can mean holes in the roof and exposure to the elements. This could already be causing small leaks that you haven’t noticed yet and if you don’t get this looked at soon, you may face more serious leaks and damage which will require urgent repair or an emergency replacement roof.

3. Cupped, curled, or buckling shingles

Shingles should lie flat on your roof. Cupping, curling, or buckling of shingles is often caused by the felt underlay getting wet and wrinkling. Without functional shingles on your roof, leaks will become a common occurrence. If you notice any shingles cupping, curling, or buckling, you should think about getting them repaired.

4. ‘Balding’ shingles and shingles in your gutter

If your shingles are balding and/or you find lots of shingle pieces in your gutter, you have a serious roofing problem. A roof that is losing a lot of granules is nearing the end of its useful life. The longer this problem is allowed to persist, the higher the risk will become of leaks.

5. Corroding roof valleys

Roof valleys are the v-shaped channels that run along the inside angles of a roof. They can corrode, especially if they trap leaves. Leaves and other trapped debris mean that rain water doesn’t drain properly, so it will soon overflow and drip on to your roof. Roof valleys should have a fairly long life span (around 20 years) but if your roof is under trees, this will be shortened and you should get it checked regularly.

If a rust-hole develops on a valley, it will cause a gradual leak that gets worse over time. One tell-tale sign of a leak from a rusted valley is a stained ceiling under the area of the valley. If your roof valleys are corroded, there might be significant damage to your roof already so we advise getting it looked at by a professional to decide whether your roof needs repairing or replacing.

6. Growth of mould or moss on your roof

Moss grows very easily on roof shingles, especially in the spaces between shingles. Moss usually grows mostly on areas of the roof not exposed to much sunlight (which dries it out), such as the north-facing side, or areas shaded by trees. Moss can be difficult to clean and very damaging to a roof if left to establish itself. IT acts like a sponge, socking up and storing rainwater. Some of this water then gets under the shingles and soaks into the roof underlayment. Eventually, it will saturate the roof sheathing below. Leaking rainwater caused by moss can also lead to serious mould issues in the interior of your home.

If your moss growth is not too bad, you can try brushing it off with a broom. You can also apply chemicals. We recommend avoiding pressure washing with water as this can add to the moisture damage under the shingles.

7. Ceiling stains

One internal sign your roof needs repairing or replacing is if you see brown spots, patches, or rings on your ceiling. If they darken or grow after rain, they should be taken seriously as they can be an indication of a serious leak. It can be tricky to pinpoint the actual leak, especially as water doesn’t always leak straight down. Water often runs along panels and beams before dripping onto insulation and down through to your ceiling. The original leak is often found quite a distance from the brown stains on the ceiling. Because of this, it is best to get a roofing specialist out to locate the leak and assess the damage before it leads to even more damage.

8. Leaks and water damage

A leak can cause severe structural damage (as water starts seeping into the porous materials in your home) and dangerous mould growth (which can pose serious health risks) long before you notice there is a problem. Because this happens gradually, even a small leak can be critical. When water enters the home and has the chance to stagnate, mould spores can germinate in as little as 48 hours. Another little known danger of roof leaks is fire. When water leaks into electrical wiring, junction boxes, ceiling lights, etc., which are not waterproofed, there is a risk of short-circuit and therefore fire. One last thing to be aware of is that most insurance companies won’t cover you for damage caused by a gradual leak as they may classify it as negligence. It is important to check for and address small leaks before they cause any devastating damage.

9. Soft and rotten roof sheathing

Sheathing is a protective layer placed on top of the beams and trusses of your roofing structure and underneath your roof’s shingles to prevent moisture permeating through the roof. This layer is usually made of plywood in NZ, which makes it particularly susceptible to rotting and water damage when exposed to sustained excess moisture. Although the sheathing is not visible, it is very important to the structure of your home. If a roof sheathing is rotting or soft, it won’t be able to support the weight of the roof and this can lead to some serious structural issues. Some tell-tale signs of rotting roof sheathing are stains on the ceiling or interior walls, cracked paint, peeling wallpaper, dark water stains on the rafters or insulation, and a sagging ceiling or roofline (caused by waterlogged sheathing). It is important to note that rotting roof sheathing cannot be repaired. It must be replaced.

10. Daylight visible through the roofing boards

If there is even a small amount of daylight visible through the roof, this can be a sign something is wrong. If daylight can get through, so can rain! Go up into your attic on a sunny day to see if there are any holes where light comes through. Check for moisture in the insulation at the same time as this can be a sign water is getting through. If you find there is light coming through or moisture in the insulation, we recommend you call in a roofing specialist to check it out.

11. The flashing around your chimney is damaged or missing

Flashing is usually found where there are joints on your roof such as in roof valleys and around chimneys, skylights, and vents. Flashing is usually made of corrosion-resistant metals but can also be made of plastic and other composites. Flashing is designed to redirect water away from the roof and into gutters. It provides a waterproof seal specifically for protection against leaks. When the flashing is damaged or deteriorating the risk of leaks increases significantly. It is important to make sure your flashing is in good condition to prevent serious damage and costly repairs further down the line.

These are our 11 signs your roof needs repairing or replacing. If you notice any of these signs, contact us at JP Franklin on 0800 456888 for advice.

Check out our roof repair and maintenance services and our re-roofing and replacement service.

See also: Should I Repair or Replace My Commercial Roof?


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