If you’re anything like me, you always keep an eye on the neighbors. I’m home most of the day, so I’m able to see who comes and goes, who has what service done, and who got a new car — you know, like Gladys Kravitz.
As we were coming home the other night, I decided to take a long, hard look at the roofs in the neighborhood. I don’t think I’ve ever paid much attention to any of them, not like the houses themselves.
By the time we pulled into our own driveway, I realized that my observations told me nothing. After all, I know absolutely zilch about roofing, and I’m a homeowner. Shouldn’t I have at least some very base knowledge on the topic?
Don’t get me wrong. I knew our house had a semi-new roof when we purchased it, and we wouldn’t need to think about replacing it for some time, but I still should have an idea about roofing before we were in dire need of a new one.
The Ins and Outs of Roofing
The following are just a few things you should know to keep a roof over your head — literally speaking, of course:
- Know the lifespan of your roof. Find out what kind of roof you have and, if possible, keep your written inspection filed away so you have an idea on its age. Knowing the age range for your roof can keep you prepared for maintenance purposes. On average, asphalt shingles last about 20 years, while fiber cement shingles are a bit more resilient, lasting about 25 years. With wood shakes, you shouldn’t have to replace them for about 30 years. Copper and tile last the longest at upwards of 50 years.
- Know the warning signs. Certain signs can provide you an indication that it’s time to consider reroofing your home. Curling, buckling, or cracked shingles is probably one of the more common signs, but bald spots where granules are missing can be another. If a number of your neighbors are getting new roofs, it could be an indication that your roof is nearing the end of its life — most homes in a neighborhood generally are built around the same period of time.
- Know the look of leaky roofs. Leaks aren’t always big holes in your roof. And by that, I mean that leaks can happen without you ever knowing about it. Holes in your roof are obvious, but leaks can be sneaky.Keep an eye out for water stains on the ceiling or along the upper area of the wall. Most stains from a leaky roof will be edged in brown. Water spots on the walls can also be an indication that there are problems with your flashing. Also, moss or moldy exterior walls could point to problems with your gutter or downspouts.
- Know who to call. When in doubt, call a professional. This is the roof of your house; it’s not something you want to mess up. If you are worried about it, have a professional come out and inspect your roof — and chimney while they’re at it.
Keep that roof over your head in good standing order. Otherwise, you could be replacing not just a roof but a ceiling, wall, and anything else found underneath it.