7 Signs Your Roof Needs Full Roof Inspection

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Weathering is a natural process through which a roofing product ages or deteriorates. The rate of weathering depends on climate: exposure over time to sunlight, rainfall, and even the effects of hail and wind. Weathering deterioration) will occur in properly manufactured shingles, but variations in the shingle materials caused by the manufacturing process can result in accelerated or premature deterioration. Common weathering anomalies include shrinkage, cupping, curling, granule loss, delamination, algae or lichen growth, cracking, and tearing.

Weathering occurs as shingles are exposed to the elements. The originally rectangular tabs of these organic shingles became trapezoidal due to net shrinkage induced by weathering. Composition shingles age as they bake in the sun. Weathering anomalies embrittles the asphalt, which results in the organic shingles displaying cupping and clawing (downward curling). The volatiles literally get cooked out in the asphalt, followed by wetting of the organic mat along the perimeter.

75% of roofs in the United States are asphalt roofs. While asphalt roofs are not the best product, they are the least expensive. We'll go over alternatives to asphalt roofs in a different article, but for now lets delve into the 7 signs you should invest in a full roof inspection.

As the homeowner, when you move into your home, it's difficult to get transparent information from the previous homeowner, because the previous owner is not motivated to disclose how old the roof really is. Since you might not have exact dates of roof installation, you can use signs of wear and tear as the starting point in assessing the condition of your roof.

Warranties can help bring you piece-of-mind, but if roofing contractors can void the shingle manufacturer's warranty by not using approved installation methods and approved products (adhesives, vents, ice & water barriers, etc..). Hire a roofing contractor that has great customer service. Don't hire one based on price, alone.

Here is what we do know from working on so many types of roofs: asphalt roofs begin to break down within 5 - 6 years of initial installation.

1. Roof Shingle Separation From Adhesive:

The first sign of wear becomes evident with roof shingle separation. This occurs because the adhesive used was low grade or not applied according to specification. When the roof asphalt shingles separate from the adhesive, the shingles flap in the wind and begin to affect a larger sections of the roof.

Asphalt Shingle Separation from adhesive can begin as early as 5 years of installation.

2. Roof Shingle Curling:

Signs of wear and tear on your roof don't always happen because of defective shingles. Curling is a natural occurrence and it's why asphalt is not the best type of roof to install. It's normal for asphalt roof shingles to shrink and cause curling on your roof. Exposure to extreme differences in weather between summer and winter months dries out and causes your asphalt roof shingles to curl upward. Houston is a great example of these temperature extremes. In February 2021, Houston roofs were damaged because of the extreme difference between Summer 2020 and the catastrophic winter storm of February 2021. Temperatures reached 10 degrees fahrenheit.

This image is an example of asphalt roof shingles curling due to extreme temperatures.

3. Roof Shingle Cracking:

While minor cracks may not be noticeable from the ground, you will see the asphalt shingle crack while performing a roof inspection. Hot temperatures depletes protective asphalt shingle oils and cause cracking. The quality of the protective layers underneath the shingle become very important, at this point. Cracks penetrating the fiberglass or organic mat need to be fixed immediately to prevent damage to the inside of your home. Water damage can occur in your attic for a while before you notice it. Please don't let any damage accumulate because the insurance company will deny claims due negligence.

Asphalt shingle cracking is observed while performing a full roof inspection.
Cracked shingles happen and when left undetected and unfixed, can lead to bigger problems.

4. Roof Shingle Blistering:

Blisters on asphalt shingles can be prevented. Blisters are small (but vary in size), circular raised areas on shingles. These blisters are caused by under-ventilated attics or from the roofing contractor's excessive use of plastic cement. Keep an eye on these problems and get a roof inspection because blisters can be a sign that other problems will pop up soon. This is visible damage, but the question is: what other problems are lurking underneath that are not visible. Blisters can remain closed for a while, but please get this repaired soon.

Asphalt Roof Shingle Blisters caused by excessive plastic cement or under-ventilated attic.

5. Algae Stains:

Moist, humid areas create problems for homeowners when an unkept roof gets algae. Asphalt roof shingle manufacturers don't like to discuss algae in their warranty. You should have your roof cleaned once a year. Homeowners are surprised to find out roof cleaning service even exists. Algae shows up on your roof as dark brown or black patches. If you have a dark colored roof, it might even look as discoloration run-off on your roof. Asphalt shingles in humid conditions are almost guaranteed to get algae unless you take frequent preventive measures. There are other roof options that have algae language within their warranty. F-Wave REVIA manufactures their shingles with algae resistant technology.

Algae Growth vs Moss Growth on Asphalt Roof
Algae Growth is Preventable by Getting Yearly Roof Cleaning Service

6. Granule Loss:

Granule loss occurs everyday with asphalt roof shingles. This is why asphalt is not what I recommend for your roof. Asphalt is common in the United States because it is the least costly of all of the choices. Granules fall from the shingle just by turning it upside down. Granules continue to fall off with every instance of rain, with every bird that gets on it, and it is so sensitive that you shouldn't even stand on your roof. Most of the time, when we show homeowners the choices of roof technology and they are handling the sample shingles, they notice immediately the mess that the granules make on the table and the floor. They come to the conclusion themselves that asphalt is not very good for the longevity of their investment of their roof.

Granules will constantly be lost from asphalt roof shingles.
Granule loss is the easiest problem to spot on your roof.

7. Asphalt Roof Buckling:

Roof buckling is the biggest red flag for homeowners that their roof cannot be ignored anymore. Visible roof buckling guarantees there are leaks inside the home. Lack of adequate attic ventilation is the catalyst that accelerates this roof problem because the moisture destroys the decking materials. The moisture expands and moves the wood deck which in turn buckle the shingles. The high quality products we use state in their literature that in order to fulfill the requirements of the warranty, specific vents, adhesives, ice and water barriers, etc.. must be installed. That means that roofing contractors that cut corners and don't offer you transparency will void your warranty by not using the approved products. Certain products require a specific number of nails per shingle. There are many details to quality of installation that homeowners aren't aware of before choosing a contractor.

Roof buckling is a sign of a major roof problem that needs immediate attention.

Excessive heat and ultraviolet rays accelerate the aging of your roof. A thorough roof inspection is the first step in roof maintenance. The second step would be to sign up for a yearly roof cleaning service. The roof cleaners will help monitor your roof's wear and tear without the risk of you getting up on the roof and potentially getting hurt.

Please keep in mind a hot day of 90 degrees outside raises the asphalt roof temperature from 140 up to 160 degrees. Asphalt roofs do not insulate, they attract heat.

Don't hesitate to ask us any roofing questions you might have. We are here to help you.

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I have black stains on my roof. How can I get rid of them? My neighbors have them, too; now that I think about it

Hi Aristi, thank you for your question. Use oxygen bleach to clean your roof and please read the article we wrote because it explain with great detail how to do it correctly. We even gave tips on ladder placement. Better yet, let us do it. Contact us for exact pricing. (https://www.roofs.one/the-roof-report/how-to-remove-algae-stains-from-your-roof) Our roof cleaning service starts at $200 and goes up from there. Thank you

It's my understanding buying a class 4 shingle will lower my insurance premium, but will it lower my coverage?

Hi Bailey, thank you for the excellent question! The safe answer is "please check your coverage detailed in your policy". For the more thorough and deeper way to answer your question, I asked many colleagues and only one had a unique answer. Robert from Oklahoma City said one of his clients that bought class 4 shingles did receive a lower premium, but he lost the hail coverage. I was shocked to learn about this real world example about how this specific insurance company handled this upgrade. It could strictly be a case of correlation and not causation, but it's still interesting. Thank you for taking the time to ask your question.

One of your employees left a postcard on my door and I figured you could answer my question - What questions should i ask roofing companies before i hire them?

Hi Chad! thank you for your question. Several very important questions you need answered before hiring a roofing company are: - what is the square footage of my roof? - what waste % are you calculating for the complexity of my roof? - what brand/type of shingles are you offering me? - how much are you paying for the shingles from your supplier? - show me your certificate of insurance - show me your certificate of worker's comp insurance - show me where you have added me as an additional insured on your insurance policy - do you have a 3 day cancellation fee? if so, waive it. - how much will deck repairs be per sheet of plywood when decking is exposed and visible? - show me the list of materials necessary to install to keep the asphalt shingle warranty valid - what are the additional steps you are taking to protect my home from debris and nails being left behind? - provide me a full list of materials that are being installed on my roof. - what is warranty for labor? for how long? This list of questions is a great place to start. Most roofing companies don't want you to ask them because they are underinsured, overcharge for materials, cut corners by reusing your old roof parts, etc... I hope this helps!

A company is telling me I can get my roof for free from the insurance and they would cover the deductible if I hire them. Is this true? (I'm in Texas)

Please don't do that. The insurance deductible is a contractual agreement you have with your insurance company. In Texas, Texas Law House Bill 2102: It is illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for all or part of a deductible. Under the new law effective September 1, 2019; violators could get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail. If a contractor offers to waive a deductible, report it to the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-621-0508. Do not commit insurance fraud by accepting unethical and illegal practices. Thank you for your question

This article will certainly help me make an informed decision.

Hi KD, glad we could help. We'll have a new feature on the website where you'll be able to get a Date of Loss for your insurance roof claim. Coming soon, FREE!

How long should it take for a company to give an estimate?

Hi Holly, responsiveness is a great way of showing a customer we care. We can do an informal estimate within a few hours and a formal estimate within 24 hours.

The last roofer gave me a two line estimate so I asked for more information. Haven't heard anything yet.

Hi Melinda, a detailed estimates should have detailed line items of the type of products including brand, quantity, color (if possible), with price. If you would like contact us and we can help you with a detailed quote. Thank you.

Great information. What city are you referring when you give the $350 to $450 average?

Hi Sally8100, thank you for your comment. This article is referring to Texas and Oklahoma City.

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How will I know how many layers of flat roof my house has before I commit to re-doing the roof? I don't want the roofers to discover a second or third layer and then the job exceeds budget

Hi Kasey, thank you for your excellent question. Pay the roofing company to perform the test on a small area of your flat roof before you start the project. Have the contingency in place that the price paid for the test includes the repair in the event you don't proceed with your new flat roof.

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