7 Warning Signs You Need a New Roof

Crumbling, curling and buckling asphalt shingles are a sure sign you need a new roof.  (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Richard S. of Madison, Wisconsin)

Crumbling, curling and buckling asphalt shingles are a sure sign you need a new roof. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Richard S. of Madison, Wisconsin)

Most homeowners figure they need a new roof after they spot a leak in their ceiling. This leak could be due to many different roofing problems. But, what factors really determine whether a roof repair will solve the problem or the house needs a whole new roof installed?

Here are some tips to help you determine if you need a new roof:

1. Roof age

How old is your existing asphalt shingle roof? Most experts agree that a typical roof will last between 20 and 25 years. It also depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one layer of shingles, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof.

RELATED: What is the Average Cost to Replace a Roof?

2. Shingles curling and buckling 

Shingles that are curled or buckling are another sign that you may need a new roof. Look at the slopes of your home that get direct sunlight and if you notice the shingles are curling and losing granules, it could mean the shingles are past their life expectancy. There could also be a possibility that the roof is defective. Contact a licensed roofing contractor to see if you could be eligible for reimbursement.

3. Roof valleys

If your roof shingles are falling apart or missing in this area, it's a definite sign you need a new roof. Valleys are one of the most important areas of your roof. Snow and rain flow through valleys and into gutters. If the valley is compromised, you could be susceptible to roof leaks.

missing roof shingles
Missing shingles could indicate a roofing defect and need to be addressed immediately. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Theresa Boyd of Boerne, Texas)

4. Missing shingles

These are another sign your roof could be failing. Check to see if all of the “tabs” are intact.

5. Chimney flashing

This is another area to be concerned about. If your flashing consists of roof cement or tar, it may need to be replaced with a long term, water-tight fitting, which would be a metal flashing system.

6. Shingle granules in the gutters

Look in your gutters to see if they are loaded up with shingle granules. Roofs tend to lose more granules toward the end of their life cycle.

7. Daylight through the roof boards

Check your attic to see if there is any daylight coming through the roof boards. Also check for moisture in the insulation.

MORE: 5 Preventative Maintenance Tips for Your Roof

Editor's Note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 15, 2013.  

About this Experts Contributor: John Rogers is the president and owner of Rogers Roofing, a family owned business since 1968. John attended Illinois State University, where he pursued a degree in economics. After attending college, John returned and implemented his ideas at Rogers Roofing, a highly rated roofing contractor in Hammond, Indiana.

As of March 3, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


14 year old roof.. A lot of curling shingles and a good percentage of granules in the gutter. Was a complete tear off and new shingles 14 years ago No missing shingles, no leaking or attic signs of leaking. If it were 19 or 20 years old I would just have it done. Am extremely skeptical that I can hire a roofer that won't tell me automatically that I need a new roof. Would a housing inspector be able to answer that question objectively? Wife talked to some guy selling roofs and now is panicking over the curled shingles.

very good read indeed!

How do you find out if a roofer is licensed.They all claim to be. i live in an area where we have awful awful businesses. Some are illegals...Peole constantly getn the shaft here. Beeville texas is small. No one has any thing good to say about any roofers here.So how do you hire help?Even Corpus Christi Is know for it bevy of bad contractors.I checked BBB but...half the time a person wont be listed there.

Hi Sharon,Looks like Texas currently does not require licensing for roofers; however the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas has tips on how to hire an experienced contractor: http://www.rooftex.com/ResidentialRoofing.php.Angie's List is also a great place to find reviews and ratings of contractors in your area. If you're not yet a member, sign up with promo code "ANSWERS" to receive a 20% discount, good towards an annual membership.

I'm hoping John is monitoring these questions. At my Florida house, the shingles are discolored because of years of shade from the oak and/or pine tree. The pine tree is now 'gone' and the oak tree was significantly trimmed ... leaving my roof with some discolored areas. There is a tiny bit of mold or mildew, and I assume it would be good it get rid of that. I've been told a variety of things to do, including diluting chlorine and spraying it on to pressure washing (at a low PSI). What should I do?

I'd like, nothing better than to see a roof that is free of all debris as I walk the ground at a home or home inspection. Most often, roofing with a north facing exposure does eventually succumb to falling debris and discolor. Doing nothing will swell the fibers and cause premature breakdown of the mats and effect life expectancy. Remove these unwanted, moisture loving and caustic materials as soon as possible. I like a combination of Jomax, bleach and water as a treatment. Using a long handle and brush to get heavy areas. Put the mixture in a spray bottle for this application.

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