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How to Know When to Replace Your Roof: Signs and Tips

By on October 26, 2023

Your roof is often overlooked. It’s up there above you, doing its job day in and day out. People tend to forget that it’s even a part of the house to worry about. They tend to focus on the interiors and lower-level exteriors. The thing is, without your roof, your home is not much of a house. It protects you and your belongings from everything the world wants to throw at you.

There comes a time when a roof reaches the end of its life. It’s important that you learn how to know when to replace your roof. Recognizing the telltale signs that expiration is coming up means that you can act before you face a far bigger problem. You could simply ignore it and hope for the best, but you’ll rue the day you made that decision when it quite literally comes tumbling down around you.

The Life Expectancy of Different Roofing Materials

Different roofing materials have different lifespans. Some will last over 50 years. Others might only last 15 years. Understanding the materials used in your roof’s construction will help you gauge the typical roof replacement timeline. These are good indicators but remember, different materials are influenced differently by factors such as maintenance, installation, and the weather.

Asphalt Shingles: 20-30 years. Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in many regions across the USA. Asphalt varies in lifespan depending on the climate, the shingle quality, and how well-ventilated the attic space is underneath the installation.

Wooden Shakes and Shingles: 15-30 years. Wood is a natural material, and even when treated, it has a limited lifespan. If you live in a particularly low-humidity area with little to no pests present, you may be able to get a wooden roof to last 40 years.

Metal Roofing: 40-70 years. Metal is incredibly durable. The lifespan depends on the type of metal used. Some are more resistant to climate and erosion than others.

Tile and Slate Roofs: 50-150 years. Slate is one of the most durable options. It requires proper care and maintenance, but many last a lifetime or two. Clay or concrete tiles tend to make it between 50-100 years.

Flat or Built-Up Roofs: 20-30 years. These roofs can be made from tar, felt, gravel, membranes, or a combination of those. They tend to last between 20-25 years, but a great installation might last 30 years.

The Visible Signs To Look Out For

Sometimes, all it takes is for you to complete a quick investigation from the ground. There are some telltale signs that you need a roof repair or replacement you can see by eye. Get into the habit of casting your eye skyward regularly.

Roof Age

Technically, you don’t need your eye for this one, but a good indicator is that your roof is reaching the end of its predicted lifespan. If you’re nearing this point, congratulations! This should be a cause for celebration. Your roof has fulfilled its purpose, and lived a great life! Even if there aren’t obvious signs of deterioration, it is still worth considering a full inspection at this point.

Buckling or Curling Shingles

A shingle-specific sign is when you notice the edges of shingles curling upwards or inwards. This typically happens when a shingle reaches the end of its life or it has become defective. At this point, they no longer serve their primary purpose and let water in. It’s time for a replacement.

Missing Shingles

More obvious than the last sign, if a shingle is missing completely, then you need a replacement. Remember that for a shingle to come loose and go missing, it’s a sign of bigger issues. Don’t fall into the trap of replacing the missing shingles and ignoring the potentially larger problems.

Material Build-Up in Guttering

If you’re noticing granules, sediment, or chips of roof material in your gutters, then that’s an indication of erosion and material degradation. As the material degenerates, it loses its effectiveness rapidly.

Daylight in the Attic

If you can see daylight streaming into your attic or roof space, then you know that you don’t have a good seal from the elements. This vulnerability needs to be rectified as soon as possible to keep water and cold from entering your home.


One of the most obvious and critical signs. If you notice sagging, no matter how small, contact a professional roofing company immediately. This indicates a problem with the structure of the roof below the outward material.

Indirect Signs Your Roof Needs Attention

Rising Energy Bills

Removing economic factors, your bills should stay relatively the same based on your typical energy efficiency rating. If there’s a sudden rise in your bills, this could indicate issues with your roof, causing heat to leak or enter your home.


It might begin to feel like the repairs to your roof are never-ending. If that’s the case, it’s probably time to think about a full replacement.

Mold, Mildew, Lichen, Moss

These are nature’s indicators that your roof needs attention. They tend to arise in spots where moisture gathers or pools. Left unattended, serious damage could be caused.

Water Stains

If you spot water stains on the ceiling or walls of the inside of your property, then you have cause for concern. This means water has entered the property and is already causing damage to your home.

Key Takeaways

Learning how to know when to replace your roof is a great step toward responsible home ownership. Your roof should be cared for and attended to as much as you would any other part of your home. These simple signs are a great place to start.

  • Many of these signs can be checked from ground level.
  • Different roofing materials have very different lifespans.
  • If in doubt, call in a professional to complete a roof inspection.

Are you looking for some professional, impartial advice on roof repair in New Jersey? Get in touch with All County Exteriors.

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