Let’s talk about your roof. It plays an important role in your home, shielding you and your family from the elements. It’s also expensive and a big undertaking to replace, so ongoing maintenance and repairs is very important.
In general, your roof should last you between 20 - 25 years. If you live in a particularly wet or dry climate, it might be on the lower end of the spectrum. It also depends on what your roof is made out of; a roof with wooden shingles will last on the lower end of that spectrum, whereas a metal roof can last up to 50 years! Asphalt roofs are the most common in Ontario, and will last around 25 years.
Here are the things to look for when determining if your roof needs to be replaced or repaired.
1. Start inside
Head up to your attic with a flashlight and take a close look at the ceiling. Keep an eye out for beams of light coming through, which can indicate that shingles are missing, or for stains and streaks which indicate that there are leaks and potential water damage.
2. Check the paperwork
When was your roof installed? If it was more than 20 years ago, keep an eye out for damage and any necessary repairs. You might also want to call in a professional to get an audit done on your roof where they look for damage - especially if you recently moved in.
3. Keep an eye on the neighbours
If you live in a neighbourhood or subdivision where all of the homes were built around the same time, then theoretically you and your neighbours will all need to replace the roofs on your homes around the same time. If you start to notice your neighbours having their roofs redone, it’s probably time to take a good look at yours and see if there’s any concerning damage.
4. Look for drooping/sagging
Take a look at your roof, does it look like it’s sagging or drooping in areas? This could signal severe water damage. If your roof is sagging, get it looked at right away by a pro, you might have some serious damage to the structure of your home.
5. Look for moss
While it can look very pretty in some areas, moss growing on your roof might signal that there’s water trapped up there. Look at the shady areas of your roof in particular - if you find moss, you can easily use a stiff brush to brush it off and make sure to investigate the underlying issues causing it to grow there.
6. Check out the shingles for damage
This one might require you to get up on your roof. Look closely at your shingles for cracks, curled, or cupped shingles. All of these things are indicators that it’s time to replace your roof. Make of these issues will be widespread and therefore beyond spot repairs. If your shingles are curled or cupped, don’t walk on them as they will just break off.
7. Missing shingles
After a bad storm or after the winter, take a quick look for bald spots on your roof. The point of shingles is to keep the water out - so if you’re missing shingles in areas, water can easily get in and rot the structure underneath. Depending on how many shingles are missing, you can possibly just patch these areas. If it’s a widespread problem, a new roof might be in order.
8. Check the flashing
The flashing is what seals the seams around vents, skylights, and chimneys. Take a close look at this every few years. Damaged or missing flashing can easily allow water to get in and cause rot. In older homes, flashing might be made of roof cement or tar, but it’s a good idea to upgrade to a metal flashing system for added durability.
9. Don’t panic
If you find any of the above damage on your roof, don’t panic!! As long as your proactive with repairs and maintenance, your roof should last the full 25 years expected.
Looking after your roof is more than just keeping an out for leaks and on your shingles. Pay close attention to the condition your eaves are in and get them cleaned out regularly. Damaged eavestroughs can allow water to back up and ice dams to form, both are detrimental to your roof.
Roof repairs can set you back a few hundred dollars, depending on the issue and a full replacement costs around $2/square foot, depending on where you live. These costs are for one of the most important pieces of your home though - so look after it!
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