With all the cold, wintery, rainy weather that runs through Michigan each year, homeowners’ roofs can take quite a beating. And if you fail to recognize when your shingles need repair or replacement, you could be putting your property at risk of costly damage.
Problems with roofing can lead to leaks, mold, mildew, and rot—all of which can weaken your home’s structure. The results can impair curb appeal and lessen the value of your home. Save yourself from hassles and keep your house at its best by learning how to spot and promptly address issues with your shingles.
How to Recognize Asphalt Shingle Damage
There are several indicators of a failing roof—but some of them may not seem immediately obvious. Here’s a list of what to look for as you inspect your shingles.
1. Attic Leaks or Exposure
One of the chief roles of your roof is to keep what’s underneath it dry and protected. So, if you notice evidence that your attic is damp, moldy, leaky or has sun peeking through, it likely means your roofing isn’t performing as it should. The issue could be related to shingles, the underlayment, or flashing, so it’s worth having an experienced inspector check the roof thoroughly.
2. Blistering or Peeling Exterior Paint
This is more of a sign of poor ventilation than roof damage. But since air circulation is key to keeping your home free of excess moisture, it’s a good idea to find out why the paint is being affected. Loose, missing or improperly installed shingles could potentially affect air flow in your attic.
3. Ceiling and Wall Stains
Both leaks and improper ventilation can draw moisture from your roof, through the attic, and into your home’s main living areas. Failing shingles may result in water marks, which can appear as discolorations, spots, stains, and streaks on your ceilings or walls.
4. Dark Streaks on Roofing
As moisture accumulates on your roof, especially in shady spots where sunlight is impeded by another structure or overhanging tree branches, moss and algae can begin growing. You’ll see this as distinctive, unattractive brown, black or green streaks that mar your roof’s appearance.
While these streaks aren’t necessarily a sign of shingle damage, they impair curb appeal. And the longer they are allowed to grow without mitigation, the more likely it is that the resulting moisture can begin causing you problems.
5. Evidence of Sagging
As your roof’s structure sustains damage, you may notice that it begins to visibly sag or look uneven in spots. When broken or missing shingles allow in moisture, the roof’s sheathing and underlayment can break down. This visible sign of decay shows up as a result.
6. Broken Gutters
While it’s easy to think of gutters as a separate feature, they are actually a vital part of your roofing. So if you’re noticing issues with detached, cracked or off-kilter gutters, you might want to check your shingles. Gutters that aren’t working can mean too much moisture stays in vulnerable spots on your roof, leading to damage.
7. Cracked, Loose or Missing Shingles
The most obvious sign of roof damage is visible issues with the shingles themselves. This can take several forms. You want to look for shingles that are:
- Worn out in spots
- Missing granules
- Curled (also known as cupping, because the shingle curls up like a cup)
- Areas where shingles are clearly missing
- Shingles fallen onto the ground (common after severe storms)
Other Hints Your Roof May Need Replacement
In addition to looking at your roofing, there are other ways that you can tell when it’s time to consider getting new asphalt shingles.
Roofing Has Become Old or Outdated
Asphalt shingles last an average of 15-30 years. Even when maintained well, they’ll eventually need an upgrade due to wearing down over the years. If your roof is approaching the end of its life, it’s time to plan for a replacement.
Storm Damage to Several Homes in Your Neighborhood
It’s worthwhile to pay attention to what your fellow homeowners are repairing, especially after thunderstorms, hail, or snow and ice. If everyone else on your street seems to be replacing their roofs or making repairs after a storm has occurred, it’s a good idea to have yours inspected, because it’s possible you have damage too.
Animals Nesting on Roof, in Gutters, or in Attic
Often, roof issues occur as a result of pests such as squirrels, woodpeckers and other critters doing damage. Whether they’re digging for food, poking around to create nests, or seeking to sneak into your warm house for shelter, pests can mar your shingles and weaken their effectiveness.
Regular Inspections Are Essential
The best way to be sure you are getting the most protection from your roof is to check it. Inspections are a smart idea in spring and fall, especially before rainy or wintery weather sets in. And a visual check is also important after strong storms roll through the area.
To keep yourself safe, we recommend doing your roofing check from the ground. You can view your home from across the street through binoculars to look for any issues without having to climb a ladder. Or, make things easier on yourself and contact an expert roofer for a thorough inspection.
Get Trusted Roofing Care for Your Michigan Home
At John McCarter Construction, our pro team is always ready to provide you with a professional roof inspection to ensure your property is well protected. Check out our roof care and replacement services to learn more about how we can help you get a lovely, low-maintenance roof that makes you proud and confident in your home for years to come. We can even help you find the right financing for your roof replacement.