Updated On

April 19, 2024

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    Knowing when to replace your roof can be tough. It can be difficult to access or walk around on your roof, and signs of disrepair aren’t always obvious without knowing what to look for. Luckily, our research and years of experience have helped us compile a guide of signs that you need a new roof.

    This article will cover what to expect depending on the roof type and how to assess whether you need a total replacement or if repairs are possible. While getting an assessment and quotes from multiple local roofing contractors is always a good idea, our guide will help you determine when to replace your roofing system.

    Read our article on roof replacement with solar panels to learn if solar panels are a cost effective addition to your future roof.

    Read also: Ways to Find the Best Roofing Contractors

    Get a Free Roofing Estimate
    Get Connected with Professional Roofers in Your Area

    7 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Roof

    Below are some indicators you might need to replace your roof. If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s important to act quickly — doing so can save you valuable time and money and help prevent further damage to your home.

    Age of Roof

    One of the more important things to be aware of is the age of your existing roof, and if you do not know it, we have some ways to tell the age of your roof that may help. Most asphalt shingles need replacement every 15 to 20 years. If you have another type of roofing, the life span may vary.

    Read also: Comparison between 3-tab and architectural shingles

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Regardless, if your roof is 15 years or older, it’s a good idea to get it inspected annually. You’ll be able to catch underlying problems early on, repair them, and get a good idea of when you need to plan on a full replacement.

    Visible Wear and Tear

    roof with damaged shingles
    Credit: Canva

    As your roof ages, it will develop signs of wear and tear. While indicators of deterioration aren’t necessarily an emergency, it’s important to note them. These are some of the more common signs of wear and tear:

    • Discolored shingles
    • Sagging along the ridge or other areas
    • Moss or algae growth
    • Granule loss or granules in gutters
    • Shrinking or curling shingles

    If you notice any of these signs, you should call a professional. They’re definitive signs of an aging roof and could mean an impending roofing problem.

    Water Damage

    A roof with water damage can cause big problems inside your home. In the worst cases, it can be dangerous. If you notice any discoloration on your ceiling or attic, it’s important to address it quickly.

    Discoloration on your ceiling could mean water has penetrated your roof sheathing and caused an internal leak. Roof leaks inside your home can have disastrous consequences. If you wait to repair water damage to your roof, it can rot, cause mold growth, or even be at risk of collapse.

    Noticeable Increase to Energy Bill

    man checking thermostat holding bill in hand
    Credit: Canva

    Have your utility bills increased sharply? This could be due to inadequate roofing on your home. If your shingles are at the end of their life span, they can absorb heat rather than reflect it. Cold can penetrate if there is damage to the roof decking or seals in your roof.

    If you’ve noticed higher energy bills, you should get your roof inspected, as it may be the culprit. Though roof installation can be expensive, increasing energy efficiency will help balance costs.

    Cracked or Peeling Paint

    If you’ve noticed paint that’s cracked or peeling along your ceiling, it could indicate that you have an issue with your roof. While cracked or peeling paint can have multiple root causes, one of the main reasons is excessive moisture.

    As you can imagine, excessive moisture behind your ceiling or walls is likely caused by a leak. Any signs of paint peeling or cracking along your ceiling warrant a roof inspection. If the leak is major or left unattended, you’ll probably need to replace your roof.

    Loose or Damaged Flashing

    Roof flashing is what roofers install to divert water away from particular areas of your roof, like where the roof meets a vertical surface or around chimneys, skylights, or other roof penetrations. Water can easily infiltrate critical components of your roof and home if the flashing is damaged, so you should have it repaired or replaced urgently.

    Pest Infestations

    squirrel on a bench
    Credit: Canva

    Pests can cause unsightly damage and leave your roof in a constant state of needing repair. From burrowing into the insulation to chewing through wood, pests can cause bigger structural and safety problems. If you notice signs of any of the following critters in your roof structure, you should call an exterminator and have your entire roof inspected for damage:

    • Bees
    • Birds
    • Mice
    • Rats
    • Squirrels
    • Termites

    When To Replace Your Roof by Roof Type

    There are various roofing materials on the market. Depending on your roof’s material, it may have a longer life span, meaning it needs replacing less frequently. Here are the various types of roofing available, their benefits, and their average installation cost. 

    TypeLife spanAverage Cost Per Square Foot (Average)Unique Benefit
    Asphalt Shingle Roofs15–20 years$2–$7Affordable
    Clay Tile Roofs50–100 years$7–$24Curb Appeal
    Metal Roofs40–80 years$10–$34Versatile
    Wood Shingles & Shakes30–50 years$8–$16Biodegradable
    Slate Roofs50–75 years$12–$17Extremely Durable

    As you can see, higher material costs result in more longevity. While the upfront cost of certain materials may lead to sticker shock, the quality and life span are worth the investment.

    Repairing Vs. Replacing Your Roof

    Roof damage doesn’t always mean you need a total replacement. A simple roof repair remedies some minor damage. For example, weather damage is often repairable, especially if your roof or home is only a few years old. If you notice damage to your roof after any of the following events, you should call a roofing contractor for an inspection:

    • Hail
    • High winds
    • Fallen tree limbs

    Sometimes, total roof replacement is unavoidable. We always recommend you do your research on multiple professional roofing contractors. Here’s what you should examine in addition to their project quotes:

    • Are they licensed, bonded, and insured?
    • Are they willing to give a reference?
    • Are there customer testimonials easily available?

    If you need a total roof replacement, you should consider the various materials available to you. This video guides you through the advantages and disadvantages of various roofing materials:

    So, When Do We Recommend Roof Replacement?

    If you’re one of the majority of homeowners with an asphalt roof, we recommend replacing your roof every 15 to 20 years. However, the replacement schedule will vary depending on how well it’s maintained.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    You’ll likely need to replace your roof sooner if you neglect it and see signs of aging, damage, or other underlying problems, like sagging, missing shingles, or water damage. Inevitably, it’s a good idea to start getting your roof inspected annually at the 15-year mark, no matter the type, to get the most out of it.

    Reach out to a local roofing company for an inspection and consultation by filling out the form below. A roofer will be able to help assess whether you need repairs or a total replacement and give you an estimate of how much it will cost.

    Get a Free Roofing Estimate
    Get Connected with Professional Roofers in Your Area

    Below, you’ll find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about roof replacements.

    FAQs About Replacing a Roof

    Can a Roof Last Over 30 Years?

    While most asphalt roofing has a maximum life span of 30 years, other roofing materials can last well beyond that. Metal, clay, tile, and slate roofing all have a life expectancy of over 30 years.

    When Should a Tile Roof Be Replaced?

    Tiles can last from 50 years up to 100 years or more. However, individual ones may need to be replaced occasionally if you notice cracked or missing tiles.

    How Much Does It Cost To Replace an Asphalt Roof?

    The national average cost to replace an asphalt roof is about $12,000. This number is highly variable, though, depending on several factors like materials and the project’s complexity.

    How Often Should a Roof Be Inspected?

    It’s a good practice to inspect your roof once a year, especially if it’s over 15 years old. You should also inspect your roof after heavy rain, wind, or snow storms.

    What Are the Benefits of Replacing a Roof?

    Replacing your roof can have many benefits. In addition to improving curb appeal, it can increase the value of your home, keep insurance costs down, and improve your home’s energy efficiency.


    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Dani Straughan

    Dani Straughan


    Dani Straughan is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner from Durham, North Carolina, with an extensive writing background across multiple industries, ranging from coffee to automotive parts. Dani specializes in creating empathetic content that helps readers make informed decisions about home products and services. When they’re not writing about DIY projects and roof care, you will likely find Dani building custom handcrafted furniture or going on nature walks with friends.

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    photo of Lora Novak

    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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