When it comes to your home’s security, one of the most important features is the roof. The roofing system is responsible for protecting your home and your family from the elements, so it is essential to ensure it is in top condition. Replacing the roof is a frustrating thought, but if it is in poor shape, it is important that you do so as soon as possible. In some situations, you may not need to replace the entire roof; simply replacing the damaged asphalt shingles will remedy the problem. So, how do you know when you simply need to replace a few asphalt shingles, and when do you replace the entire roof? Here are a few tips to let you know when to repair and when to replace your roof.
When You Can Repair Asphalt Shingles
In some situations, repairing or replacing a few of the asphalt shingles is all that’s needed to restore function to your roof. Before deciding to replace shingles or repair small damages, it is important to have a professional roofing contractor determine if there is any damage to the decking or the underlayment. There is a big difference between simply losing a few shingles during a heavy storm and a leak that runs through all the layers of the roof. If there is extensive damage, it is typically better to replace the entire roof. With that said, the following are examples of when simply replacing damaged shingles is enough for your roof to remain in good, functional condition.
Cracked or torn shingles — Asphalt shingles that are torn or cracked can usually be replaced individually. However, if the tear or crack is minor, replacing the shingle may not even be necessary; you may be able to simply use a roofing sealant to repair the damage.
Shingles are missing pieces — If a shingle is missing a piece, such as a corner from one, then you should replace the entire shingle. Damages like this can sometimes happen if a piece of debris, such as a heavy branch, has blown onto the roof, causing a tear to the shingle.
Missing shingles — It is important to replace missing shingles right away. When there are missing shingles, your roof as well as the structure of your home becomes vulnerable to the elements, especially water. There is also a risk of wind getting under the surrounding shingles and causing more serious damage, and water will be able to leak into the areas where shingles are missing. Keep in mind that missing shingles expose the underlayment and decking, and you run the risk of water seeping in, which can cause rot and extensive leakage.
What About Patching Damaged Areas?
One of the most common questions homeowners have when it comes to roof repairs is if they can simply patch a damaged section of the roof instead of replacing shingles or tearing off the entire roof. In some situations, patching can work, but there is a risk of issues in the future, and the problem may be worse than you first thought. So, patching may only mask the damages, but the leaks are continuing without your knowledge. Just as you make the decision to simply replace a shingle or two, it is equally important to consult with a roofing contractor if you are considering patching the roof. A roofing contractor will do a thorough inspection to determine if patching will extend the life span of the roof without causing future damage.
When to Replace the Roof
Any time you are confronted with damages to the roofing system, it is important to consider which process would be the safest solution for your home and your family. If any of the following are an issue, you should consider replacing the roof:
Signs of water damage — Water is an extremely powerful force, and once it begins to seep under the asphalt shingles, it can quickly find its way inside your home, causing extensive damage as well as health problems. If you notice signs of moisture inside the home, such as peeling paint, mold or brown spots on the ceiling, it means the water has probably caused significant damage, so it’s best to replace the roof as opposed to repairing it.
Age — If your home’s roof is over 20 years old, it is most likely reaching the end of its life span and should be replaced soon. If the roof is under 20 years old and you are noticing problems such as leaking, it may be the result of improper installation or poor materials, so you should have it thoroughly inspected by a professional roofing contractor.
A recent disaster — If your neighborhood has recently been through a disaster, such as a tornado or other violent storm, the damages to the roof may be extreme, and you will need to replace the roof. In some situations, all it takes is a harsh winter to push an already ailing roof to a completely collapse. It is recommended that at the end of winter you have the roof inspected to ensure there are no damages that you weren’t aware of.
Warning Signs the Roof Is Unsafe
There are few home problems that are as damaging, costly and potentially dangerous as a collapsing roof. If you have been delaying the replacement of your roof, it is critical to know the difference between a slightly damaged or worn-out roof and one that poses a significant danger of completely failing. Some red flags to be aware of that mean your roof is unsafe and needs to be replaced immediately include:
The roof is sagging — When the roof is noticeably sagging when viewed from the interior or exterior of your home, it should be immediately inspected.
Leaks — Although some leaks can often be fixed with simple repairs, some leaks are the sign of more widespread damage. If you have water finding its way into your home, it is urgent that you have an inspection to determine all the moisture entry points.
Windows and doors that stick — Problems with the windows and doors may be an indication of a shift in the structure, which can lead to a sagging roof, so these issues should be addressed right away.
Cracked or buckling ceilings — Ripples, buckling or cracks in the ceilings may be signs of an impending roof collapse, so you should have the roof inspected right away.
The best way to not only extend the life span of asphalt shingles, but also to catch small problems in the entire roofing system before they spread, is with routine maintenance and inspections of your roof. It is recommended that you have the roof inspected at least once a year, ideally following winter and before the spring rainy season starts.
If you are concerned about the condition of your roof and need an inspection or are ready to replace your roof, contact the leading experts in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area, Community Builders.
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