If your roof isn’t very old and you spot a few loose or damaged shingles, you may be able to just replace them. But for broader or more extensive damage, it may be time for a new roof. The key is a regular roof inspection so you know what’s going on up there.
What roof damage looks like
Roof damage comes in all forms. Know what to look for.
Attic leaks – Check your attic after severe weather. A leak could mean some shingles are damaged, the underlayment — a protective barrier between your shingles and the plywood of your roof — has failed, or flashing — the material that seals joints on your roof — has deteriorated.
Blistering or peeling paint – Poor ventilation may cause moisture to get trapped in your house, which may cause exterior paint to peel and blister.
Ceiling and wall stains – Leaks from outside the house or moisture trapped inside it can cause stains and possibly mold or mildew.
Sheathing decay – Another issue with poor ventilation and moisture in your layers of roofing materials is the decay of sheathing — also called decking — which is the layer of plywood that forms the foundation of your roof. If you notice a sagging ceiling, broken gutters, leaks or missing patches of shingles, your sheathing may be damaged.
Shingle damage – When shingles reach the end of their useful life, you may notice they fall off or become cracked, brittle or curled, which means it may be time for a new roof.
Dark streaks – It may look like dirt, but dark stains on your shingles may be moss, lichen, or blue-green algae. This may not require a new roof, but if and when you do replace your shingles, ask for StainGuard® and StainGuard® Plus protection, which are available on many GAF shingles.