Does Your Home Need a New Roof

Inspect your Roof a Couple of Times a Year to Prevent Surprise Roof Leaks

By Mark J. Donovan

Your home’s asphalt shingled roof is not self-maintaining and nor will it last forever. Most asphalt shingle warranties are between 20 and 40 years, however they often don’t last that long due to high roof and attic temperatures caused by improperly insulated and ventilated attics. Waiting until your home has sprung a roof leak can be an extremely expensive decision.

Consequently it’s a smart idea to inspect your roof periodically to make sure that it is not in need of repair. Early fall and spring are the best times of the year for determining if your home needs a new roof.

Inspecting a roof in the fall helps to ensure that you won’t have leaks during a difficult time of the year (winter) to make repairs. Inspecting a roof in the early spring enables you to assess how well your roof held up during the winter and to make any repairs necessary for the usual upcoming wet spring season.

When inspecting a roof, and before you actually step on the roof, take a close look at the asphalt shingles to see if you notice and curling, cupping, or fishmouthing of the shingles. Also look for shingles with concave centers. If you observe any of these conditions with the shingles, your home is in need of a new roof.

The roof could last another couple of years with these conditions, however you could also find yourself dealing with damaged ceilings and walls if the roof suddenly springs a leak.

Cupping and fish-mouthing is a sure sign your home needs a new roof.

When you observe the types of shingle problems I’ve mentioned, I highly recommend not walking on the roof until you’ve assessed the attic to check the back side of the roof sheathing. The roof sheathing underneath the decaying shingles could be rotted and structurally compromised, and as a result you could find yourself falling through your roof if you were to walk on it.

Also while up on the roof check out the ridge vent, if there is one. Make sure that none of the shingle caps have been blown off or that nail heads are exposed.

If you do observe either of these conditions you do not necessarily need a new roof. If the rest of the roofing shingles look fine, then simply replace the missing shingle caps and/or put a dab of roofing sealer over the exposed nail heads.

Again, while up on the roof examine step flashing around chimneys and along any walls that abut the roof line. If the chimney flashing is pulling away the asphalt shingles or separating from the chimney call in a roofing contractor to make the repairs. These types of repairs take a bit more skill than the average weekend DIYer. Also inspect the house siding and step flashing that is adjacent to any of the roof lines.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet

Make sure the house siding is not rotting and that the step flashing is not damaged or corroded in any way. Also make sure to remove any debris such as twigs and leaves that may be wedged in between the bottom edge of the siding and the step flashing.

Finally, check around any vent pipes to see if the flashing around them is in good order. Often the roofing sealer that is applied around the vent pipe and flashing can dry out and crack. When this happens, roof leaks can occur. If you observe any cracking of the roof sealer, apply a new bead of it around the vent pipe.

For more help on Shingling Your Home’s Roof, see’s Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet will help to ensure that your roof won’t end up with a blue tarp over it and a dumpster sitting in your yard for weeks as you wait for the roofing contractor to come back and finish roofing your home.

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