How can I tell if my roof needs replacing?

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Putting a new roof on your home is no small matter; it takes time, research and sound finances to get the job done right. However if it truly is time to replace your roof, it is not a project you want to wait on, as it only gets worse over time. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends doing a roof assessment every spring and fall to catch problems early and save lots of costly repairs.

You can hire a consultant to assess the wear and tear on your roof, says Joan P. Crowe, Director of Technical Services at the NRCA. But if you'd like to start with a self-inspection before calling in a professional, the NRCA offers guidance on what to look for to know if it needs repair.

Step One: Look Up

Head up into the attic, or to the highest part of the interior ceiling if you don’t have an attic. Look up and search for signs of water damage or trails, sagging, mold growth and light penetration. These are telltale signs that water and weather elements are wearing away at your roof.

Step Two: Inspect The Outside

Whether you find visible interior damage or not, it is still important to safely inspect the outside of the roof as well. Shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering are signs that they're near the end of their life expectancy. Other obvious signs to look for including balding or broken shingles, loose material around chimneys and pipes and “shingle granules” in the gutter. These granules protect the roof from UV rays and, if found in the gutters, are a clear sign of the weathering of your roof. If you want to keep your inspection organized, The NRCA provides a checklist template on their website about how to properly inspect your roof.

Step Three: Find A Contractor

Whether you just need minor maintenance or replacement of the entire roof, the NRCA recommends doing your homework and making sure you find a reliable professional contractor. TotalHousehold.com has a database full of local professionals that can give you a quote based on your assessment and repair needs.

—Carrie Pope

Use this checklist provided by the NRCA to keep track of your roof's condition.

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