Detroit residents know all too well the extremes Mother Nature can bring the area. Whether it’s temperatures dipping below zero into the double digits or triple digits above, howling winds or damp air, the baking sun or torrential rain and snow, Detroit’s weather can wreak havoc on natural features and manmade structures alike.
Fortunately, the vast majority of the year features beautiful weather; so beautiful, in fact, that it can be easy to overlook the importance of the work a high-quality, weather-tight roof does to keep you and your family safe, warm, and comfortable during weather extremes. In fact, it’s during the very worst times that your old roof is most likely to fail, exposing you to physical and financial discomfort.
Ideally, the best time to replace a roof is before a failure and its associated costs have the chance to occur. However, how can you tell when it’s time for a roof upgrade? Expect to learn more about the most common signs your roof may need replacing, as well as a few popular choices for replacement.
Advanced Age of the Existing Roof
A large number of Detroit homes are fitted with an asphalt shingled roof. Though relatively effective at withstanding hot, humid Michigan summers and snowy Michigan winters, asphalt shingles are not the longest-lasting roofing material on the market. Even so, many homeowners choose asphalt for its budget-friendly price and relatively large color selection.
Asphalt shingle prices can vary widely depending on the style, durability, and manufacturing techniques; their longevity can vary just as much. Generally, you can expect most asphalt roofs to last between 20 and 25 years if cared for properly. However, certain other factors may affect your roof’s longevity.
If your roof has many layers of shingles stacked atop one another, your roof may not be receiving proper ventilation and will likely need to be replaced at closer to the 20 year mark. Similarly, if the roofers replaced only the shingles and left the previous decking below, your roof may be in need of replacement earlier than average. Depending on what’s hidden under your current layer of shingles, the actual age of your roof may be much older than you think.
Condition of the Shingles
If your roof is nearing the end of the average lifespan, take a moment to perform a brief assessment of your shingles. Strong shingles should lie flat against the roof; if your roof has missing shingles or more than a few instances of shingles protruding above the plane of the roof, take a closer look. Shingles that are curling at the edges or buckling in the middle are no longer able to keep water out of your home.
Even if there is no immediate evidence of shingle damage, issues may still be lurking. Check your gutters, downspouts, and the areas beneath for asphalt granules. Once the shingles begin losing larger amounts of the asphalt granules that provide the shingle protection against harmful UV rays, they will disintegrate much more rapidly.
Drooping or Sagging
Perform a brief, visual inspection of your home’s roofline, paying close attention to the edges, peaks, and valleys. Visually, your roof’s lines should appear crisp and straight, with very little deviance from the horizontal plane or the level surface of the roof. If you see areas of drooping along the edges or sagging in the middle of the roof, it may be time for a new roof.
Drooping and sagging are both signs that moisture has entered into the area beneath your shingles. Over time, this moisture affects the roof decking, causing rotting and the eventual breakdown of the wooden materials in your roof. These areas can allow additional moisture to enter your home or can even fall in completely, causing catastrophic failure of the roof.
Growth of Moss, Mold and Fungi
Since the Detroit area receives a moderate amount of moisture year-round, your home is at increased risk of developing areas of moss, mold, and fungi growth on the roof’s surface. While performing your visual inspection, keep an eye out for shingle discoloration, which is the primary sign of organic growth on your shingles. If you see larger areas of green, gray, or white discoloration, you may have unwelcome growth on your roof.
While it is not uncommon for moss to develop on a newer roof, particularly in shaded corners and valleys, it can also be a sign of underlying trouble. Remove growth with a stiff brush and inspect the surrounding area for any spongy, springy, or damp-feeling areas. Your roof may be retaining moisture beneath the shingles and contributing to growth.
Signs of Damage in the Attic
Many homeowners rarely venture into the attic; unfinished attic spaces can be stiflingly hot in the summer and chilly in the winter. However, the attic side of a roof is one of the best indicators of the roof’s overall health. If your roof is nearing the end of its life expectancy or if you see any of the other issues listed here, take the time to inspect the interior of your roof.
Any daylight entering your attic through your roof is a sure sign the roof needs to be repaired or replaced. Similarly, wet or damp insulation is a good indicator that unwanted moisture has entered the space beneath your shingles and begun seeping into your attic. Beneath the insulation, check for signs of damp, rotting boards.
What If It’s Time for Replacement?
Replacement roofing materials in the Detroit area run the gamut from cheap 12-year asphalt shingles all the way up to custom-designed slate. When choosing a roofing material, however, it is important to keep in mind that your choice will continue to affect the look, energy-efficiency, and water tightness of your home for years to come. For this reason, Detroit homeowners are choosing to install metal roofs.
Metal Provides Longevity and Energy-Efficiency
Metal offers the best of both worlds. It is significantly less expensive than other high-end roofing materials, yet offers industry-best longevity – the average metal roof lasts about 50 years, over twice as long as the typical asphalt shingled roof. Most importantly, metal roofs are extremely energy-efficient, keeping your home’s heating and cooling bills at a minimum.
As an added bonus, many styles of metal are now available, including the traditional ridged metal, painted metal shingles, and more custom options such as steel shakes. Similar to asphalt shingles, there’s now a metal roof to fit nearly any style and budget. If you’re searching for the perfect material for your new roof, metal may be the answer.