How to know when you need a new roof

A roof is a home’s barrier for protecting residents from the outdoor elements. In the Pacific Northwest, we experience plenty of year-round moisture, meaning there’s no escape from the wet weather causing wear and tear on roofs. So when was the last time you looked at your roof? And we’re not talking about glancing at it from time to time from down below, but actually inspecting it by examining the condition, the color, and even the feel.

Regular inspections of your roof can help identify issues that simply need to be repaired and also prevent significant damages to the interior of your home. However, there are certain situations that require replacing your roof. And it’s difficult to decide a new roof is in store if you’re not sure exactly what to look for. We’ll walk you through the seven signs that you’ll find both inside and outside your house that signify it’s time to get a new roof.


1. It’s oldOld roof
This is a no-brainer, but a commonly overlooked factor. The longevity of a roof can vary greatly depending on the material. Some roofing material will only last 20 years, while some lasts over 100 years. If you want to find out how old your roof is, you’ll want to dig up your home-inspection report from when you bought your house. Then you’ll also need to take in factors such as material, climate, and whether there have been any severe weather or storms lately. Here’s a breakdown of how long different roofing materials can last:

  • Asphalt shingles: In America, this is the most common roofing material and can last 20-30 years.
  • Rubber roofing: Opposite to the asphalt shingles, rubber roofs such as the Euroshake, Euroslate, and Rubberlast 50 aren’t as common. Surprisingly, they aren’t widely spoken about either despite their longevity. This material is on the longer-lasting end of the spectrum and is durable up to 50 years (or more!).
  • Metal roofing: This material is known for its longevity and can last up to 50 years (or 100 depending on the material of the metal), but the caveat is that they can get dented by hail.
  • Slate: This material is infamously durable and can last more than 100 years.

Although each material has its own benchmark for longevity, don’t forget that weather and climate play a significant role in how long your roof will really last. But once a roof has lived its lifetime, there’s no such thing as trying to prolong its life—it’s time to get a new roof before it does any major damage to your home.

2. Dark streaks

Next time you look at your roof, see if you can find any dark streaks. This discoloration is a result of airborne algae that has accumulated on your roof over time. Keep in mind that these dark streaks can also be removed using a mixture of water and bleach, but that’s only a temporary relief.

Once there’s significant buildup of algae on your roof, it’s time for a replacement. The algae buildup can trap the moisture on your roof, speeding up the natural decaying process of the material and wood below the roof’s surface. And we know that rain is a big factor for Seattle roofing, so you can bet there would be a lot of trapped moisture if there’s algae buildup on your roof.

3. Misshapen shingles

Mishapen shingles

Next sign is to take a look at the condition of your shingles. Are your shingles warped—perhaps buckling or curling? Maybe they’re cracked or you’re even missing some shingles. What about your gutters? Are you finding shingle granules in them?

These are all tell-tale signs that you need a new roof. When your shingles aren’t in tip-top shape, you’re risking the integrity of your home’s frontline protection—the roof. These issues can lead to moisture getting trapped, decay, and leaks into your home.

4. Soft spots

If you’ve walked on or pressed down on your roof and you find some soft spots, this could be a sign that the plywood underneath is rotting. This could come hand-in-hand with the missing or cracked shingles mentioned above. Any damage to your roof may also lead to interior damage such as rotten wood and leaks.


5. Water leaksCeiling leak
Speaking of leaks—roofs are designed to keep the water from entering the house. If you’re constantly running into leaks, discoloration, or mold on your ceilings, it’s probably time to get a new roof. Why? Leaks can signify outside water entering the house or moisture being trapped between the walls.

6. Moist attic

As you can tell, moisture is a key indicator of a roof failure—especially in the attic. If your attic seems to be holding more moisture than usual or if there’s mold, there’s a good chance your roof isn’t holding up very well. Another thing to look for is whether there’s sunlight coming in through the roof, which can mean there’s a crack somewhere that needs to be fixed.

7. Utility billsUtility bills


Not only is a roof’s job to protect the outside weather from coming in, it should also help regulate your home’s temperature. A new roof that’s well-insulated can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

So how do you prevent these minor issues from becoming major catastrophes? You should aim to get your roof inspected at once every year along with your bi-annual self-inspection. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself while you’re doing a self-inspection:

  • How old is your roof?
  • Is there any discoloration?
  • Is there any damage to your roof such as cracks, curls, or missing granules?
  • Are there any soft spots on your roof?
  • Are there any leaks inside the home or discoloration on the walls?
  • Is your attic retaining more moisture than normal?
  • Is there light peeking through your attic’s ceiling?
  • Are your utility bills consistently through the roof (pun intended)?

To get your roof professionally inspected or replaced, look to State Roofing. Call (360) 794-7164 to find more about the services we offer and how we can keep your home protected with a new roof.

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