Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing material in our area. They are fairly cheap and durable, providing both protection and aesthetics. Still, nothing lasts forever and it is important to keep an eye on something that is so essential to the integrity of your home or property. At some point, any roof may look worn out, old or show other signs that it is time to replace the asphalt shingles. Here we will tell you what to look out for so that you may avoid problems such as extensive water damage or even mold problems in the future. Take a look below so you may recognize the signs that you should have your roof repaired or inspected:
General Lifespan of Asphalt Shingles
The life expectancy of asphalt shingles varies based on their style or type. All asphalt shingles are made of the same materials, mainly asphalt and crushed fiberglass, but sometimes they are made differently. They vary in the number of layers, how these are arranged, and manufacturers’ specific formulas, which can affect the longevity and durability of the shingles.
Generally, 3-tab shingles, the most common type of shingle in use 10-15 years ago, can last up to 20 years but most often wear down within 10-15 years. Laminate, architectural, or dimensional, shingles generally are given a warranty of 30-50 years. With the appropriate maintenance these generally last between 20-40 years, but this can vary based on weather events, especially in a hurricane and tropical storm prone area.
Signs That Roof Replacement May Be Necessary
Even taking into account shingle manufacturers’ warranties and the durability of modern roofing materials, there are many reasons that a roof may start to fail prematurely. While regular maintenance is helpful, it is also necessary to look for small signs of trouble before they turn into big problems. Exposure to the elements, like sun, wind, rain, hail, and cycles of freeze and thaw can damage asphalt shingles all at once or over time. Falling debris, such as tree branches, can also inflict damage or wear off granules, as can critters.
You will doubtless notice some wear and tear due to the elements, such as fading colors and the loss of that “new” look. Here are some other signs to watch for in order to forestall leaks before they happen.
Curling, Cracked, or Torn Shingles
Look out for cracked or torn shingles, or those that are loose and no longer stuck to the roof. These may even be creased. In this state the shingles are no longer a protective barrier on a roof and allow moisture to enter below to the underlayment. While the underlayment–depending on its type–will prevent leaks for a time, repeated and prolonged water saturation of the underlayment will eventually cause rot in the plywood sheathing and leaks in the house. The causes of this are many: bad ventilation, installation errors, weather damage, and others, but the result is always the same.
Granules are the rough material that covers the top of the asphalt shingles. They are made of crushed stone and are essential to the shingles’ function. They protect against the sun, against water, increase fire safety, and help regulate temperature. Without granules, shingles lose their function leading to higher utility bills and leaks. If you see granules in your gutters or around the downspout, or if you see black spots on your roof where the fiberglass is exposed, you need to replace your shingles.
Moss and Rot
Moss naturally grows in humid environments like those in Florida. You will probably see moss on your roof after a couple of years, especially around vent areas. This does not mean that the roof needs immediate replacement. Often, moss can be removed by qualified professionals who clean roofs. If left to grow unchecked, however, moss can grow in abundance and damage the integrity of the roof by separating the shingles from the underlayment. It can also lead to rot in the wood sheathing. At this point replacement or repairs would be necessary.
Missing or Blown-off Shingles
Heat can cause nail pops, and shingles can be blown off by strong winds or falling debris. Missing shingles need to be replaced as soon as possible, as this clearly indicates that the roof is now exposed to moisture. This problem is easy to spot, as the areas of missing shingles are most often clearly visible from the ground and sometimes you can even find those shingles in your yard. If you notice this, contact a licensed roofing specialist for a roof repair.
You will know old roof shingles when you see them—discolored, flattened, smooth, and drab. This not only affects curb appeal, it also endangers your roof. Old shingles cannot do their job efficiently, meaning that every time there is a storm, water could be pooling beneath the old shingles or sitting still.
If your shingles start looking aged, it is time to replace them.
If you have any questions about the integrity of your shingles or need any work done on your roof in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. a call and schedule a free estimate at 386-263-7906!