So your roof has seen better days. Your shingles are looking tired and, well, just weathered. It’s probably time for your home to get a new roof, but not always. Will a repair be enough or do you need a full roof replacement?

Here Are 7 Signs That It’s Time For A New Roof

  • Stains on your ceiling or water leaking into your home. This is a big one, because leaks can quickly grow and turn into much bigger problems, like mold, structural damage and even lead to your kitchen ceiling caving in – not good!

  • Your roof is over 25 years old. You let the good times roll, and your roof held up pretty well over the years. But homeowners who wait for the roof to fail risk having a larger water damage incident.

  • Missing shingles from high winds. Chicago may be known as the Windy City because of its politicians, but a hard Chicago storm can do to an aging roof what Mayor Dailey can do to an airport runway or a Classic Cut of prime rib at Lawry’s. You get the idea.

  • Cracked or Curling shingles. This one’s a dead giveaway. The edges of your shingles start to disintegrate over time as the asphalt breaks down. This symptom of an aging roof is especially obvious on roofs with 3-tab shingles.

  • Granules in the gutters, shiny edges and discoloration. Your roof is literally falling apart! It’s okay, it happens. Granules flake off of the shingles and bounce down the roof until they pile up in your gutter. After many years you’re left with discoloration and uneven patterns on the roof where the singles are becoming exposed. Leaks will follow, if they haven’t started already.

  • The roof looks wavy, and not level. Almost every new roof calls for one or more of the underlying decking boards to be replaced. Old boards become warped from leaks or ongoing moisture problems. Like tooth cavities, they present as a soft spot and can sometimes be visible from the ground if the decking is deformed. If large sections of the roof look uneven, we’ve got some work to do (like, now).

  • Your house looks ugly because of your roof. Like a bad hat, sometimes it’s just a ‘no’. Maybe you’ve found yourself eying beautiful homes on Instagram and loading up your Pinterest board. Whatever your indulgence, you may be able to afford more roof than you think.

If several of these apply to your roof, it’s probably time to consider a full roof replacement. But if it’s not that bad, or contained to one area of the roof, sometimes a repair will work.

A repair can be made when only one section of the roof is in need of new shingles. Chimney flashing and valleys are also a common sources of leaks. These repairs can be made without replacing the whole roof, as can a new skylight installation or other smaller modification.

Roof Stains

Stains on the roof are caused by algae (Gloeocapsa Magma), which most commonly appears on roofs with overhanging trees and in older, overgrown neighborhoods. While there are cleaning products for this on the market, these algae stains are very difficult to clean, with most products failing to rid the roof of algae quickly. Your best preventive measure is to install a shingle with algae relief (AR) which have copper or zinc imbedded in the shingle. These elements work as an algaecide. Shingles made by Owens Corning, GAF, and Atlas have algae-resistant products.

Re-Roofs vs Full Roof Replacements

A “Re-Roof” is another term for installing a second layer of shingles over your existing roof. This method will save you money for the short term, but the shingles are less likely to perform as well as a single layer. Leaks are more common on roofs with two layers and repairs are more difficult. 15 years ago we used to occasionally agree to a re-roof when these were more commonplace, but now we strongly recommend against them.

Roofs should never have more than 2 layers; three layers is a fire hazard and a building code violation. “Just say no!”

Storm Damage

Homeowners can file an insurance claim under the following conditions:

  1. Your roof is damaged by wind or hail
  2. A tree falls on your roof (it makes a sound alright)
  3. Lightening strike
  4. Animal damage, if extensive

Working With Insurance Companies

At Lang Home Exteriors, we regularly work with insurance companies and can help guide you through the process. The insurance company will send an adjuster to examine your roof. If they approve the claim, they send a ‘deposit check’ to the homeowner, who may then select a reputable company *ahem* to do the work. The insurance company pays the balance upon completion of the job. Cheers!

At the end of the day, deciding if it is time to replace your roof comes down to a judgement call. We’ve seen a few thousand more roofs than the average homeowner, and our pros have the on-the-job experience to know whether you can get by with a repair or if it is indeed time for a new roof. We always treat your home as if it were our own and give you our best, honest, professional opinion about the best way to proceed for your budget and the safety of your home. Just read our reviews, often times we make a repair and then get called back a couple years later when it’s time to do the full job.