Is it time for a new roof? A roof inspection and selection guide

Now that spring has finally arrived it’s the perfect time of year to perform an annual checkup on your roof. The ideal way to begin is by getting up on the ladder to clean out your eavestrough and inspect the shingles on your roof.

Every homeowner knows that a sound roof is an absolute must to protect your investment, but most don’t give it a second thought throughout the year. Routine roof maintenance, from cleaning out gutters to checking for missing shingles and leaks in the attic, is very important

As you will see in this article there is a lot of information required to support the best decision, using easy home renovation planner tool will help making sure you have it all in one place and properly organized. Having your online home remodeling project setup also allows you to access any of this information at anytime.

Most homeowners figure they need a new roof after they spot a leak in their ceiling. This leak could be due to many different roofing problems but what factors really determine whether a roof repair will solve the problem or the house needs a roof replacement?

Some basic things to look for are any signs of obvious damage like missing shingles or tears caused by debris from winter storms. Look for patches that seem to be faded or discolored. Also look for areas that appear smooth compared to the remainder of the roof. These are a few signs of concern and will require further investigation.

Here are some detailed tips to help you determine if you need a new roof:


Shingles that are curled or buckling are a sign that you may need a new roof. Look at the slopes of your roof that get direct sunlight and if you notice the shingles are curling and losing granules, it could mean the shingles are past their life expectancy. If the roof is relatively new, there may also be a possibility that the roof is defective. If you happen to have a wood shingle roof, missing and broken shingles are also a consideration as is moss or algae growth common in wet areas of the country.


If your roof shingles are falling apart or missing in this area, it's a definite sign you need a new roof. Valleys are one of the most important and vulnerable areas of your roof. Snow and rain flow through valleys into gutters. If the valley is compromised, you could be susceptible to roof leaks.


These are another sign your roof could be failing. Check to see if all of the shingle “tabs” are intact. Are corners missing or are there obvious splits in the roof materials. The edge of the roof closest to the eavestrough is import too. This edge is where the water drips into the drain pipe. If this is soft or crumbling, then water could backup under the roof materials and cause leaks and rot the roof deck.


This is another area to be concerned about. If your flashing consists of roof cement or tar, it may need to be replaced with a long-term, water-tight fitting, such as a metal flashing system.


Look in your gutters to see whether they are loaded up with shingle granules. Roofs tend to lose more granules toward the end of their life cycle. Inconsistent or darker color on some parts of the roof is another sign the granules have worn away.


You notice a spongy feel or trampoline bounce when walking on the roof, which means the underlying structure, is weakened from moisture. Check your attic to see if there is any daylight coming through the roof boards. Also check for moisture in the insulation, along the edges or the underside of the plywood or roof boards.


How old is your existing roof? Most experts agree that a typical wood or asphalt shingle roof will last between 20 to 25 years. The life expectancy depends on the materials used. For example, a clay tile or slate roof should last a life time. In many cases, it also depends on whether the current roof was applied over an old roof and whether it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 25years, chances are you need a new roof.

With your inspection and maintenance complete, it might not be a bad idea to have a professional roofer conduct a more thorough evaluation. If the inspection indicates a new roof is in order, you’ll have one of two options: installing the new roof directly over the old, or replacing it entirely. In either case, you’ll have the opportunity to redefine and reinforce your home.

5 Things to consider when choosing a new roof for your home:


Roofing is available in a wide variety of materials including wood, metal, tile and slate to name a few. You can find out all about the pros and cons of the various types of roofing by referring to our recent article on  Roofing Choices.

One of the most common types in use today is asphalt shingles. Today’s relatively lightweight and flexible shingles are typically made from a fiberglass mat, covered in asphalt and colored with mineral granules. With manufacturing innovations that include everything from superior-strength of construction to granules that lock in color and provide valuable UV protection against the sun’s damaging rays, you won’t have any trouble finding a good-looking, high-performing asphalt shingle to suit your home and budget.


Although driveways, lawns, siding and front doors get most of the attention when we think about curb appeal, the roof actually contributes significantly to the look of a house. If you are considering a new roof, look for the shingle that best suits your home’s architectural style. You’ll also want to factor in the surface area, pitch and angle of the roof to determine whether a standard three-tab, dimensional or architectural laminated shingle will deliver the look you want.

As you research a new roof you will likely discover that it’s no longer a simple matter of choosing a standard square shape from a few different shades. Roofing choices have grown significantly in recent years.

When it comes to asphalt shingle products, they have evolved into a wide variety of patterns and colors so that your roof can truly elevate the appeal and longevity of your home. There are various shapes that simulate wood shingles for example. There are other varies that are fire rated and offer extended lifetime guarantees.


Like style, color is also an important consideration when choosing a new roof. Selecting a coloration that compliments your home’s exterior palette and surroundings will create a harmonious and elegant look. In general, if a large portion of your home’s roof is visible from the street, you might want to keep things subdued, as larger roofs look better in neutral tones. Also, avoid using a heavily patterned roof on a home that has brick or stone facing to keep things from getting too busy.

In general, if a large portion of your home’s roof is visible from the street, you might want to keep things subdued, as larger roofs look better in neutral tones. Also, avoid using a heavily patterned roof on a home that has brick or stone facing to keep things from getting too busy. Various types of roofing materials can provide a contrast or highlight an aspect of your roof or window dormers.


You will want to make certain that the roof you choose stands up to the elements and provides lasting beauty over the course of its lifetime. Of course the product type you will be considering will be based on your established budget, the type and size of the home and your location. One way to be sure you meet your requirements for long-term durability, wind-driven rain performance, and long-term extreme temperature resistance is to look at quality brand name products. In most cases your new roof will carry a manufacturer’s warranty that is also transferable to the next owner. This means that the roof can become a desirable feature to prospective buyers.

We should also mention that a qualified roofing contractor is essential to getting your roof applied correctly. Take the time to verify the experience and credibility of your contractor. Get everything in writing and make sure they are willing to guarantee their workmanship too.


The price can range dramatically depending on the product you are considering. Roofing is commonly priced “per square” or in 100 sq. ft. measurements and varies by the product used and the degree of difficulty to install it.

Without a doubt, asphalt shingles are one of the more affordable alternatives and are arguably the least maintenance-intensive option of covering your home’s roof. Among these types of shingle you’ll pay more for extended lifespans, more robust warranties, and unique patterns.

To find out about more choices for your re-roofing project and common roofing terms check out our recent article on Roofing Choices and selections

A new roof can be a significant project but the cost will be justified by protecting your overall investment in your home and provide a sense of security for years to come. 


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8 Thoughts to “Is it time for a new roof? A roof inspection and selection guide”

  1. I know that my roof is missing some shingles, so it’s probably time to have someone come and look at it. I didn’t know that a typical asphalt single roof lasts between 20-25 years. Our house is older than that so having a professional come and look at it and the missing shingles would give us an idea if we need to have it repaired or replaced.

  2. It would be a great idea to keep track of the age of your roof. That way you can get it replaced when it needs to be. If you don’t do that, you could run into problems. You should also make sure to ask the previous owners of the house how old the roof is before you move in. That way you won’t have to try and guess the age.

    1. Hi Rosie

      That is absolutely true and this is one of the ways that can help. Within your project in you can store all this information and have it there for whenever is needed. Even in the scenario of a home re-sale, you can request the information from all your projects to be transferred to the new homeowner which can be quite an advantage being able to provide all records from roofing and anything else done on the home!

  3. I completely agree that the color of the roof is an important consideration. The color of the roof ties the rest of the house together. I’ve also heard that the color of your home can affect how cool your house is.

  4. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that shingle granules in your gutters can indicate that you need to replace your roof. When I was cleaning out the gutters yesterday, I noticed a pretty substantial amount of asphalt granules. I’ll definitely look into having a professional come and assess my roof to see if it needs to be replaced.

  5. I like how you mentioned that old, curling shingles can indicate that you need to replace your roof. My wife and I recently moved into an older home, and I noticed a few patches of shingles that are starting to warp. I’d imagine that the roof is pretty old, so maybe it’s time to just have the entire thing replaced.

  6. The time has come for us to get a new roof, and we need help when it comes to choosing the right one. I like how you suggested that one thing we need to consider the durability, we will want one that will be able to stand up to the crazy elements that our town has. It’s good to know when we can ensure that we will get a great roof is to look at the quality brand name products. That will be something we keep in mind when we start shopping. Thanks for the help!

  7. Jade Brunet

    Our roof is missing several shingles thanks to the past wind storms and we are wondering if it is time to get it replaced. It is good to know that shingles that are curled or buckling are a sign that you may need a new roof. We will go inspect the remaining shingles to check if they still have granules. Thanks for the information.


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