Signs of an Aging Asphalt Roof

Every roof ages differently and at a different pace, depending on the shingle material and installation. However, there are other ways to determine that your roof is getting old and in need of some maintenance or repairs. Recognizing the signs below will help you determine if it’s time for roof maintenance, repairs or even a total replacement.

1.      Check Out Your Attic

Before you head up to your roof, do a thorough inspection of your attic. Doing an interior check can help you determine the state of your roof. Specifically, you are looking for: daylight coming in through roof boards, dark streaks and stains, sagging areas, leaks or water damage. If you see any of these signs, contact a roofing professional. Leaks, stains, and sagging areas are classic signs of an aging roof.

2.      Leaks and Water Damage

Water damage is another classic sign that your roof is not doing its job. This is most likely due to the protective layering (granules) on shingles becoming lost or worn down over time. Should you see any water damage in your attic or on your shingles, it may be time to replace your roof.

3.      Missing Granules

Granules are designed to protect the asphalt coating on shingles and your home from sunlight and water. They are made up of crushed rock, slag, slate, tile, or porcelain. Over time, these granules become loose as the asphalt layer that holds them on the shingle becomes dry and brittle and they begin to fall off, creating exposed spots on your roof. Without these granules, your shingles are more prone to weather damage and leads to increased heating and cooling costs.

If you notice a few missing granules in your gutters or around your home, this does not mean you have to replace your entire roof right away. If the granulation loss is 30% or less there are affordable maintenance options on the market to slow the aging process and rejuvenate those aging shingles adding years of life to your roof.

4.      Curled, Buckled, or Missing Shingles

As a roof ages, the layers holding together shingles begin to dry out and peel away from each other. Shingles that are curled or look warped are a classic sign of an older roof. If most of your shingles are curled, your roof is vulnerable to leaks and other types of damage. You will want to replace any old shingles immediately to keep your home protected.

Additionally, if you notice shingles missing from your roof, replace them. Missing shingles can also be a warning sign that your roof is in need of additional repair.

5.      Damaged Flashing

To help direct water away from a roof, contractors often use a material called roof flashing. This material is spread around critical areas on a roof such as where the roof meets a vent, wall, or chimney. As your roof ages, so does the flashing. Deteriorating flashing usually results in water leaks or stains in your home.

There are many simple things you can do to help extend the life of your roof.

Clear Debris on the Roof

That branch or rock on your roof may seem harmless, but if you leave it there long enough, it could puncture or damage your roof in some way. Check your roof for debris after a storm and regularly clear off anything you find.

Clean Moss, Algae and Lichen

Do you have black streaks or other growth on your roof? While this isn’t necessarily an emergency situation, it could lead to roof trouble eventually.

Clean Out Your Gutters

Clogged gutters can cause water damage to your home, so it’s essential to clean your gutters at least a couple times a year (usually in spring and fall). Make sure you remove any leaves and other debris from the gutters so the water can flow freely off the house and into the downspouts.  Installing Gutter Guards can really help with this build up.

Dean Makemson is owner of ECO Group, Inc and a member of the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. Blog posts are often submitted by association members. For free resources on building or remodeling, homeowners can contact the CVHBA by calling 715-835-2526 or email

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