If you've ever wondered whether your old roof will make it through another winter season, you're not alone. Here's how to answer that question.
- Leaks - Leaks are a sign that your roof's integrity has been compromised. If you haven't noticed any leaks, that's a good sign. Take a walk through your home, taking careful note of the ceilings in each room. You're looking for any discoloration or spots that might indicate a roof leak. If you see anything suspicious, it's worth having have your roof checked by a professional.
- Exterior - If your roof passes the leak test, the next step is to take a good look at it from the ground. Climbing on the roof is beyond the comfort zone of most homeowners, so a careful look around from the ground is the next-best option. If you have a pair of binoculars, that's even better. Look at all of the details first (anywhere a wall, pipe, chimney, skylight or antennae intersects, penetrates or mounts to the roof), since these are usually the problem areas. If anything looks loose, askew or you see an obvious crack or gaping hole, consider yourself warned. Then look at the rest of the roof for missing or loose shingles. If you see anything that doesn’t look right, then it's time for a closer look or, ideally, to have a professional do a roof-top inspection.
Pro tip: If your roof is 20 years or older, it's a smart move to have an inspection - no matter what you can see from the ground. Keep in mind that asphalt shingles are notorious for expiring on or before their twentieth birthdays, regardless of the advertised warranty period.
If your roof passes this little checklist, and there's no indication that it’s beyond its service life, good news. It will probably be just fine through the coming winter.
If your existing roof fails to pass inspection, then pricing a metal roof before the winter is a good idea. Metal roofs are known for their longevity and resistance to extreme wind and weather, and in most cases, it isn't too late to replace yours in time for the 2017 winter.