As one of the leading roofing contractors in Pearland, Texas and surrounding areas, clients ask me regularly, “how do I know when my roof needs to be replaced?” While the answer is not as straight forward as most people hope, this article will attempt to provide you with some helpful criteria that will shed some light on the situation and give you a better understanding. While age in general is a factor, you may be surprised to hear that the age of a roof alone is not a reason to replace it.
Before I begin, I want to say that the best way to prolong the life of your roof is to find a trusted roofing contractor and have them inspect your roof annually, or after any major weather event. This will help you to identify issues early which will save you money and extend the life of your roof. Reputable contractors are happy to provide this service and the best part… inspections should be FREE.
Now that we have that out of the way, The easiest way to determine if your roof needs to be replaced is the existence of widespread damage. This damage can be caused by wind, debris, hail, fire or even vandalism. These conditions and can leave your roof in poor shape with exposed entry points for water to get in. When your roof is new, wind and hail can still cause damage but typically only in severe cases. As your roof ages, shingles can become brittle and the seals that once helped them lay flat are beginning to fail and you will see shingles that are lifting, curling, creased and even torn or missing. Extremes in temperatures can also cause damage, especially in the case of heat. While shingles getting warm allows them to be more flexible, they can become too hot and begin to blister. These blisters can look like hail damage from a distance but up close is usually small and widespread. In either instance, this blistering means the granules with their UV protective coating have come off, exposing the shingle surface to harmful UV rays which will begin to break it down at an accelerated rate. If you see significant, damage on your roof or are unsure but recently had an event, contact your roofing contractor to perform an inspection and help walk you through the process of filing an insurance claim if that’s necessary.
While we are on the topic, I hear this next one more often than I would like… “my insurance company won’t renew my policy because my roof is getting too old”. This can be a tough blow and create understandable urgency. At some point, your insurance provider may come perform an inspection on your home to determine whether they will allow you to renew your policy in its current condition. Sometimes with a few repairs, we can push the roof just a little longer, but occasionally I have to give one of my clients the bad news… “your roof isn’t going to make it”. This can be tough because like many people, you may not have been expecting this and the out-of-pocket cost is substantial.
Next up… repair costs. As your roof ages, it will require occasional repairs and maintenance to keep it performing to its highest potential. while maintenance is just a part of home ownership, repairs can be costly and unexpected. Regular inspection should help identify potential issues early before they cause any damage, but likely repairs will need to happen more frequently as your roof ages. Weighing the financial cost of continuing to repair an old roof may need to be a consideration. Over the span of a few years, you could spend a few thousand dollars on repairs that could have gone toward the cost of your replacement. Additionally, raw material prices will likely increase over time, raising the cost of a new roof 20-40% in a single year as we saw during the pandemic. The estimate you got 3 weeks ago, may not be valid anymore and the longer you wait, the more it will cost in the end. Adding this inflation to the mounting repair costs, getting a roof with a warranty is starting to look like the more financially viable option. I have left an example below to help explain what I mean with the actual price increases we saw from 2020 to 2022.
2020 Roof Cost for 30 SQ
2022 Roof Cost for 30 SQ
$10,000 + 20%-40% inflation = $12,000-$14,000 + 2 Repairs @ $400
Total cost is $12,800-$14,800
So, while delaying may seem like your saving money, your likely not. Often my clients find that with our financing options, they can swing getting the roof now and still save money over waiting.
The last way you can determine if it’s time to replace your roof is… because you want to! I know, I know… This sounds crazy! Who would anyone want to replace their roof? Well, as your roof ages, it gets ugly, your insurance will likely keep going up, the resale value of your home is being hindered by your roof or it’s just in rough shape and you are concerned that it may fail, causing significant damage inside your home. ALL of these are valid reasons. An old, ugly roof can affect resale value. Studies have shown that the cost to replace a roof can increase resale values by 60.9% (Zillow evaluation) to 105% (National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Report) Found Here. Having an older roof may just push potential buyers away. In the case of increased insurance, the cost of financing a roof may be more reasonable than the increased insurance payment, all things considered. Maybe you know the roof on your home is the original and you want to upgrade it. 10-15 years ago, shingles didn’t have 50-year ratings. Updating may help protect your home better, give you a nicer, cleaner look and give you piece of mind that your roof is performing at its best.