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Having a strong and reliable roof over your head is essential to a safe home. A roof is the first line of defense against weather, vandalism, or other flying debris. It protects one of your largest investments, so it’s important to complete regular checkups on your roof and fix it whenever necessary.

Even though new roofs can be expensive, if you need a new roof now you should not wait. Here are a few things to look for to determine when you need to replace your roof.

Know the age of your roof
One of the most important factors for roof replacement is the age and type of roof. Most roofs are asphalt shingles which generally last 25 years. If your roof is somewhere between 20 and 30 years old, you should start considering new roofing options.

If you have a different type of roof or if you have taken great care of your roof, you may be able to extend the life of your roof to 30 or 40 years. Although you should still maintain regular checkups to ensure it is still doing its job.

Inspect the shingles
You should be conducting roof inspections at least twice every year – once in the spring after winter and again in the fall before the cold and winter return. When conducting these inspections take notice of your shingles. Are they curling? Breaking? Or, are entire sections falling off?

If there are minor inconveniences, you can easily get them fixed or replaced. But, if large sections or multiple shingles are falling apart, it is likely to consider an entire replacement instead.

Health of shingles
Another thing to consider when inspecting the shingles is whether algae, moss, or other noticeably darkened spots have taken over. Truly, this is not a major issue and does not affect the integrity of the roof at all.

However, if large sections of the roof are covered over in moss or algae it may become a distraction to the house – in other words, an ascetics issue. If your roof is old anyways or falling apart, this might be the tipping point for you to replace it entirely.

You can clean off the algae, but do not try to power wash or scrape at it. Either method would destroy the granules on the roof. Instead, a gentle solution of bleach and water can be applied. Zinc strips can help as well.

Check the attic
Part of your regular roof maintenance should be to inspect the attic of your house to see if there are any yet undetected problems. Look for places where sunlight might be shining through. This can reveal problematic sections where water or even small animals can sneak in.

Look for leaking spots. Water damage can be disastrous to your house. Perhaps you are aware of leaking into your house that is damaging the structure and walls. At the very least, this is a sign that part of the roof needs attention.

If parts of the roof seem to be sagging perhaps from water damage or from old age, this is a good indication that a new roof is required. This sagging might be spotted from the attic or noticed from the outside.

Check the gutters
When cleaning out your gutters, if you notice an excessive amount of granules present, you should take a closer look at the roof. Granules are a key aspect of most asphalt roofs and if they start to fall off, parts of the roof will become more vulnerable than they may need to be given the age and quality of the roof.

Roof Replacement
Most of the time, your roof will tell you when it is ready for a replacement. As long as you remain aware of its age and perform regular inspections, you should be able to stay ahead of any potentially serious problems.