How to Determine If Your Asphalt Roof Shingles Need Replacement

Most people don’t give their roof’s condition much thought until there has been a security breach and water is dripping inside their home. Don’t be the person caught off guard, be prepared. Here are some tips to help you identify a potential roofing issue.

1 – Sounds kind of obvious, but check for missing shingles. Although the previous roofing contractor should have installed a protective layer of tar paper or ice-shield, it is something that doesn’t have the ability to withstand the elements for a long period of time.

2 – Check to see if your shingles are cracked, curled or buckled. This could be due a ventilation issue or just old age. If the shingles do not lay flat on your roof the tar strip underneath is not functioning properly. These shingles are highly susceptible to wind and will most likely blow off in time. A roofing contractor can tell you if you have a ventilation problem and how to fix it.

3 – Look at the amount of grit you have on your shingles. Roof shingles with smooth black on the bottom of the shingles shows that the granules are coming loose exposing the tar layer of the shingles. Another way to see if you’re losing granules is by checking your gutters or even the downspouts. If there are excess granules in these locations, your roof shingles are losing their protective layer and are at the end of their life span.

4 – If you have access to your attic, check the underside of the roof sheathing. After a hard rain, see if you can find any new water marks. Also try to find any damp or soft spots on your plywood. Pay close attention around any roof vents, plumbing vents, skylights and chimney. Water is most likely to find it way in at these locations.

5 – While in the attic, check to see if you can spot any daylight. Sometimes you may be able to see light coming from the low end of the roof, where the gutters are. This can be a problem with heavy rains or snow and ice buildup. Some flashing or ice & water shield can be installed to fix this. Also see if you can spot any pin holes in your roof flashing around chimneys or skylights. Some well-placed tar should fix this, if the flashing is rotted out, it will need to be replaced.

6 – Roof age – A well installed 3-tab roof shingles lasts about 20 – 25 years. An architectural style roof shingle installed correctly should last about 30. There are certain parameters that will add or subtract a few years to those numbers, a qualified roofer can determine that. If you have 2 layers on the roof, it’s most likely over 20-25 years old.

I will say it is best to try and spot these things from the ground. It may sound a little funny, but you can use a pair of binoculars to help you get a good close up of your roof shingles. For a proper roof inspection, contact a licensed roofing contractor. They will tell you what is best for your roof.

Written by