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How to Know When it’s Time for a Roof Replacement

Know how to read your roof so roof replacement doesn't sneak up on you

3 Signs Your Roof May Need Replacing

When a roof starts getting older, the main question anyone has is how much time their shingles have before needing a full roof replacement. On one hand, that is a difficult question to answer; shingles aren’t an exact science. Even a 25 or 50-year shingle is just a guess offered up by the manufacturer and can’t be considered as anything other than a best guess. Too many factors can affect a shingle to know exactly how long their lifespan is.

So how can you know that your roof might be coming to the end of its life? Here are a few pro-tips that can help you determine when your roof might be on its last leg:

Shingles In Your Yard

This one is extremely obvious to a lot of people, but most don’t know how serious it is. Any time a shingle comes off your roof, it’s not going to be an isolated incident. Frequently people think one shingle coming off is okay because it isn’t widespread; however if one shingle blows off, more is to come. You are never going to have one shingle come off your roof and not have more damage. Sure, your roof probably isn’t going to leak immediately. In most cases but if any kind of wind event comes through your area, you could easily have multiple leaks.

The main thing you want is to have an insured, local roofer come look at your roof. If the shingle coming off was installation error, it might be able to be remedied without a full roof replacement. If you put it off, though, more damage may be done and a repair may no longer be possible. Always take any shingle seriously no matter what the circumstances are. Get two opinions if you want, but if multiple roofing companies suggest a new roof take it seriously. Replacing a roof is much better than having thousands of dollars in interior damage on top of having to replace your roof.

Shingles With Shiny Edges

Shingles are made by starting with a fiberglass core. Filler, asphalt, and granules are then put on top. Granules come off the shingle first. You will often see them in your gutters. As the granules fall off, the asphalt is exposed. If the asphalt starts to wear down, the fiberglass core is exposed. Most often the fiberglass will start to be exposed around the edges leaving a shiny perimeter. You can see shiny parts in the middle of the shingle if any impact damage has happened but widespread fiberglass showing is never good because it means your shingles are brittle.

Again, customers may be able to wait for some time if your shingles are shiny and weak, but if you notice the fiberglass, start getting a plan together because your shingles have a compromised integrity. The last thing you want is for a wind or hail event to happen while you have brittle shingles. It’s better for homeowners to have a plan in place for how they can pay for a roof replacement in the event of a catastrophe. Make sure you don’t get caught in a place where your roof is leaking in multiple places and you can’t do anything to fix it.

Your Roof is 20+ Years Old

If you move into a house with an older roof, or you have been in your house long enough to have a 20-year-old roof, it’s a good idea to start having it checked. A shingle is going to expand and contract, heat up and cool down, get hit by debris and blown in the wind. All these factors contribute to a roof not lasting as long as the shingle is sold. In some cases, you may have a warranty you can call in. But most of the time, there won’t be much left on a manufacturer warranty after 20 years.

Start again by having a local, insured roofer give you a free roof analysis. It’s important to get a plan together for how you’ll pay for as much of a roof as possible. Sometimes, a homeowner may want to wait until they absolutely have to replace their roof. Instead, it’s better to get ahead of it and try to replace your roof before any catastrophic event happens and more damage is done than just shingles.


None of these signs specifically mean you have a certain amount of time left. Any roof is going to change from year to year at different rates. If your shingles haven’t weathered much over 20 years, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to weather at the same rate. The best advice any roofer can give is to make sure a homeowner gets ahead of their roof. If you can plan for some margin in your finances, you can save a lot of money by replacing an old roof sooner than later.