When to Replace an Asphalt Roof

An asphalt roof typically lasts anywhere from 15 to 20 years, depending on climatic conditions such as how much direct sun it receives and the amount of annual rainfall the roofing system is expected to handle. Inspecting the roof is something that should be done regularly. While a roof is designed specifically to protect a house from the elements year-round, at some point, a homeowner will need a new one. Here are some signs to look for that might indicate your asphalt roof needs to be replaced.

Shingles are shedding granules.

Asphalt shingles have an outer layer of granules that protect the roof from UV exposure. One of the first signs that the shingles are failing to do their job is the presence of “grit” at the bottom of the gutters. A few granules every now and then are not problematic. However, if you discover a lot of asphalt granules in your gutter system, inspect the roof more closely for the extent of the damage. Use binoculars either from the ground or from a ladder – it is advisable to avoid climbing on the roof directly. Look for dark patches if the roof is a lighter colour or light patches when the roofing shingles are black. Missing granules won’t be responsible for causing leaks, but since the shingles are no longer protected from UV rays, they can dry out (age) faster.

Asphalt shingles are starting to curl.

When the corners or the edges of roofing shingles begin to curl it is usually the result of the asphalt content in the roof tile drying out and shrinking. As the shingles become brittle, they can also become loose as nails pop up due to shrinkage. This makes shingles susceptible to winds which can blow them away. A few curled shingles can be replaced. But if large sections of the roof have curled roof tiles, it’s probably time to plan a roof replacement.

Asphalt shingles become cracked.

As mentioned earlier, if the asphalt granules of the roofing shingles are washed away by rainwater or become worn by wind erosion and/or aging, they are no longer protected from UV rays. As they become dried out, if their edges or corners don’t curl, they might become cracked. Depending on the severity of the damage, cracked asphalt shingles could let in enough rain to cause serious leaks.

Missing shingles leave your roof vulnerable to the elements.

Just as cracked shingles can let in the rain, missing shingles leave your roof vulnerable to the elements. When asphalt roofing tiles aren’t replaced, the consequence can be long-term water damage such as structural issues and mold growth.

Consider roof replacement when moss growth is advanced.

Moss growth doesn’t automatically mean you need a new asphalt roof. If moss appears only in one area, it could simply mean that part of the roof doesn’t get as much sun. Patches of moss can be removed. However, moss absorbs water, even the slightest trace of moisture. When moss growth becomes advanced, the weight of it can damage asphalt shingles; it can also find weak or worn spots and get in between the roofing tile and the underlayment, causing further damage. If moss has completely taken over your roof to the point where it no longer can be removed permanently, putting off replacing the roof could eventually compromise the structural integrity of your home.

The age of your roof might determine if it needs to be replaced.

The average age of an asphalt roof is 15 to 20 years. But other factors need to be considered. Environmental conditions such as heavy rains, air pollutants, air toxins, and wind erosion can shorten a roof’s lifespan. How well the roof has been maintained should also be taken into account. For example, if your asphalt roofing system is 21 years old, but shows few signs of wear and has had less than five major repairs, then it’s obvious it can get you through a few more winters!