Most roofs go anywhere from between 15-30 years without an issue. Roofing warranties span from the non-existent to limited lifetime and everything in between. Despite this it is still recommended for homeowners to check their roofs at least twice a year, once in spring and once in fall. However just looking to make sure the roof is still there isn’t quite enough. You should at least have a general idea of what you’re looking for.

Checking the Inside of Your Roof

First get a flashlight and then take a trip up to your attic. First look for light seeping through, this is obviously not a good sign. Look for dark spots in the attic ceiling and floor and feel to see if they are moist. A moist dark spot can mean mold. A dry dark spot could mean rot, either way not a good sign. Take note of any sagging or softness you feel in the floor as you walk. This could mean water is getting through somehow, most likely due to a bad hot mop or wear in that area.

Checking the Outside of Your Roof

Before you get a ladder and climb to the top of your roof you’ll want to take a look around from ground level. Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are all properly connected and not sagging. Make sure the eaves and soffits are not rotting or suffering from termite damage underneath.

After you’ve made note of any issues you found from underneath you’ll want to get a ladder and head up. Look around for missing, cracked, torn, bald, or otherwise damaged shingles. Check around the areas with vents like the kitchen and chimney. You’ll want to make sure they are not blocked and actually exit the home not just go into the attic. As you step around take note of any sagging you feel under your feet in certain areas, this could mean the decking is old or moist and needs to be replaced in that area.

So What Does This Tell You?

Obviously if you don’t find anything your roof is good and you can keep on vigilantly checking twice a year. Any minor issues you found such as loose gutters or clogged vents you should be able to clean or fix yourself. If you found any other issues involving wood rot, mold or other more serious problems, it might be a good idea to have a professional roofer come out and take a look. They’ll be able to assess the damage in detail and offer ideas on what’s best for your situation.

So Should I Repair or Replace my Roof?

Although I obviously can’t speak for your particular situation, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article a roof should last anywhere from 15-20 years. If your roof is older than that or you don’t know the age I would seriously consider a replacement. It’s expensive but you won’t have to worry about it for a long time and you’ll get a new warranty for at least that long. If your roof is younger than that and only showing a few minor, localized issues than I would say repair is a safe option. The only way I would replace a roof prior to 15 years is if there is mold, rot or leaking in different areas. Otherwise I would just repair or overlay.