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How do you know when it's time to replace your roof?

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Your roof is one of if not the most vital component protecting your home. Unfortunately, for most homeowners, it's out-of-sight-out-of-mind until something bad happens. Why is this? Well, the most obvious reason is that most homeowners can't safely access their roof to see storm damage or potential problems. It's hard to see what's going on with your roof from the ground and honestly, as long as it's not leaking, there's really no reason to put much thought into it.


Not exactly. A roof exists to perform a number of tasks. It needs to shed water properly, protect the home from severe weather & perform to keep up with the demands of the region in which it is installed. It is wise to have your roof inspected every five years. Why five years? Because a lot can happen to a roof within that time span. Your roof puts up with a lot here in Texas - severe hail, torrential downpours, blistering heat, gusting winds, humidity & the occasional deep freezes. On top of that, wildlife, tree limbs, debris & yes, even bullets. That's right. If your roof has been affected by severe weather or is leaking, do not put it off.

This pipe boot was installed incorrectly.
Faulty Pipe Boot

A typical asphalt shingle can last up to 20-30 years, per the manufacturer. However, that's in ideal conditions. We don't really have that here in Texas. Roofs can begin to fail prematurely for a number of reasons. The quality of the install, products used & yearly maintenance also play a major roll in how long a roof lasts. Overall, depending on what an asphalt shingle is subjected to on a yearly basis, the average useful life expectancy of these products are anywhere between 15-20, realistically. And that's if the roof isn't destroyed by hail. Most roofs we inspect in the Austin metro exhibit a variety of issues including, hail damage, wind damage, tree damage, blistering, poor installation, poor ventilation, wear-and-tear & rotten wood.

So, how do you really know if how old your roof is or how long it's got left? That's were a trusted local and insured roofing contractor comes in. It's important to know who is getting on your roof to inspect it. Make sure the company you hire has a great reputation and can clearly outline issues with your roof without selling you a new roof or pushing an insurance claim. Ask to see photos or videos of their inspection so you can fully understand the overall condition of your roof. Once that is established, the roofing contractor can help you determine the proper solution/s that'll bring your roof back up to par.

This tree limb has caused extensive damage to the roof, decking, fascia & interior
Tree Damage

If the roof is determined to be ten years or less, depending on his or her findings, roof repairs and preventative maintenance should be the outcome as long as there isn't hail damage or extensive structural problems related to the framing or installation of the existing roofing system. Often, a shingle or two may've blown off, a pipe boot has deteriorated, "nail-pops" have occurred or exposed nails could be the culprit for a leaky roof. These are quick and inexpensive repairs that can prolong the life of the roof. Again, this depends on the overall condition of the roof.

Hail damage, if widespread and severe enough usually leads to roof replacement through insurance. The reason for this is simple. Standard asphalt shingles are not designed to withstand hail. Once a shingle has been struck, depending on its age and condition at the time of impact, the protective granules have been removed and the fiberglass matting has either been bruised or punctured. This damage can result in a leak and that's just one strike. Your roof can be struck thousands of times in one hailstorm. It is of the utmost importance to have a trusted local roofing contractor inspect your roof following a hailstorm. Do not let storm-chasers from out of town or state get on your roof for any reason, whatsoever.

Severe hail damage totaling this roof in Georgetown
Severe Hail Damage

Roofs ten years or older may've begun a the deterioration process depending on the quality of the product, attic ventilation & overall wear-and-tear. Granule loss is a common occurrence that excellerates the older a roof gets and is often the result of blistering. Blistering can affect certain slopes or the entire roof and is caused by excessive heat usually coupled with poor attic ventilation. Once shingles become brittle & the fiberglass matting of the shingle is exposed, the roofing system is compromised and roof replacement is necessary. Roofs that are well-maintained within 10-15 years can often reach 20 years or more.

Again, a detailed inspection will uncover storm damage, blistering, lack of ventilation, age & a variety of other problems. It's to be as proactive as possible and best to catch things before a leak occurs or if an issue does exist, keep it from getting worse. Catching issues with your roof with preventative inspections and repairs eliminate the possibility of costly repairs or additional costs during roof installation.

Damaged caused from a loose satellite dish in Pflugerville
Rotten Wood Decking

Keeping the roof clear of standing debris in valleys and lower slopes and gutters help keep water flowing. It's when water is slowed or stopped is when big problems can occur. Cutting trees away from the roofline help keep limbs from falling and damaging the roof as well as curbing debris pile-up. This also allows the roof to dry faster after rains. Even something simple like a football or frisbee can allow debris build-u on the roof.

We can't stress the importance of roof maintenance enough. Your roof lasting as long as it should often depends on you. Whether you're paying out of pocket or the roof is covered by insurance, keeping up with your roof is a wise move. We do not recommend climbing on your roof to remove items or clearing your gutters yourself. These activities can be very dangerous tasks that often need to be performed by professionals.

Roof repairs can be great but also a huge waste of money if the roof is in dire need of replacement. Roof repairs don't come with any kind of warranty and if your roof is 15-years or older, depending on the overall condition, you may be paying a premium for repairs only to still need a new roof. Be mindful of unskilled hackmen and repairmen looking for a quick buck. They rarely do what they say they're going to do. If so, what good is a repair if the rest of the roof is failing?

This pile of debris slows the flow of water, allowing water to back up and keeping shingles saturated.
Debris Build-Up

As I've mentioned in previous blog entries, there is a wide array of roofing products on the market that would also be a wise move to install. Class 4 impact resistant roofing products like the F-Wave Revia or a 24-gauge standing-seam metal roofing systems look great, last a lifetime, increase ROI & far outperform asphalt shingles even in the worst conditions. While they do cost more, the savings is in the long-haul. These types of products protect your home in the event of severe hail, wind or water and come with insurance deductions. The likeliness of an insurance claim and paying out your deductible following a hailstorm is nearly eliminated with these kinds of roofing upgrades. We highly recommend upgrading to these types of products opposed to asphalt shingles. Your roofing contractor should assist you in finding the best roofing products for your home and budget.

We hear it a lot, "Give me our cheapest price" or " I'm accepting the lowest bid." Your roof is not something you want to skimp on. Cheap products and installation can cost you thousands more down the road. We've replaced roofs as young as 1-year old due to poor workmanship. We've seen a brand new roof we installed fail in less than 12 hours due to severe hail. Who you have inspect and install your roof matters. The types of products and systems they are installing matter. Local code upgrades are also something to consider when getting your roof replaced. Make sure that is a topic of discussion as well as a full tear-off down to the wood decking for inspection.

Wind damage to a 25-year 3-tab shingle. This roof was less than 4-years-old.
Wind Damage

Right now, due to the current state of inflation, building materials and roofing materials in particular have been on an aggressive incline throughout the year of 2021. What a roof costs today compared to a year ago and what it may cost a year from now are very different. If you've been putting off roof replacement, especially if you know your roof is leaking or has other issues, you're only exacerbating the problem. If a major out-of-pocket expense like a roof replacement seems out of reach, there are financing options that we offer that available to our clients. We can't stand seeing homeowners stuck in the position of continuously having to repair an old roof just because of money. We try our best to accommodate our clients' financial needs when it comes to roof replacements.

In closing, the best way to determine the overall condition of your roof, the life is has left, potential repairs, replacement or upgrades, it is best to hire a local and insured roofing contractor with a great reputation. We at Balcones Roofing & Remodeling are highly-trained to identify storm damages & other potential problems with your roof, assist you with an insurance claim, as well as educate you on the best product for your home. Whether its a simple roof repair needed or a full-roof replacement, our job is to look out for your best interest for the long-haul. Transparency and honesty is paramount.

This damaged was caused by years of tree limbs scraping the shingles.
Tree Damage

If you have any questions regarding your roof or simply need it inspected, we're more than happy to give you an honest report. Roof inspections are always complimentary with no obligations. We hope this entry is helpful and we look forward to working with you in the future.

A bullet lodged within an asphalt shingle
Pew Pew

Balcones Roofing & Remodeling, LLC

Austin x Spicewood, Texas

(512) 937-8805

Insta: Balcones_Roofs_ATX

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