Element Roofing - Roof Replacement

What Makes a Roof Need to Replaced?

What Makes a Roof Need to be Replaced?

What makes a roof need to be replaced? When you’re facing a problem with your roof, especially a problem that might mean you need a whole new roof, you might decide it’s time to learn a bit more about this home feature and what caused it to fail. You may be especially concerned if you’ve been told that not only do you have to replace your roof’s shingles, but also the roof plywood underneath them! How did your roof get so seriously damaged?

Roofs are often taken for granted, especially in California where the lack of rain makes us a bit more complacent about leak protection. Most homeowners don’t know how to maintain, repair, or even examine their roof. If you don’t know what can cause roof damage, you don’t know how to protect your roof from it.

Well, not to worry. This guide will explain what makes a roof need to be replaced, what causes roof leaks and rotten plywood, what you need to consider for roof replacement and much more. In this article, we’ve sought to answer your most common questions about roof replacement and repair.

What Are the Signs You Need a New Roof?

There are many signs that you need a new roof, or at least need some major repairs done. They include:

  • Major leaks: Leaks can permanently damage your roof sheathing and the structure of your home, so you may need a complete roof replacement.
  • Missing shingles: This may be a sign your shingle’s adhesive has worn out due to age.
  • Loose granules: It’s okay for a few granules to fall out of the shingles right after installation. After that, loose granules are a sign the shingles are getting old.
  • Ripped and curling shingles: These problems may also be a sign your shingles are starting to give out from age. Or, they may be the result of damage (in which case repair may be your best option).
  • Excess humidity: Your roof needs to vent moisture. If it can’t the humidity can do permanent damage to its wooden sheathing (and other parts of your home).
  • Aged roof over 12 years: A typical asphalt roof lasts about 12 years if it hasn’t been properly maintained. It may save you money to replace an old roof than to keep repairing it.
  • Sunken or swollen: Unusual rises or dips in the roof surface may mean there’s a serious underlying problem in the roof, whether the supports have rotten away, or moisture is collecting beneath the shingles.

These are the signs you need a new roof, but what might be causing these problems?

Main Causes of Roof Replacement and Repair

A roof is really a system that is composed of many layers. From the shingles to the underlayment and plywood. There are many other parts, all of which may be improperly installed, accidentally damaged, or worn down and cause a leak. Still, you can divide the main causes of roof replacement and repair into four very general categories.

  • Aging: Whether or not your roof ever develops a leak, when it gets old enough, it will need to be replaced. Asphalt shingles age just like your hardwood flooring or your favorite shoes. Wear and tear will render them ineffective. The main force that ages asphalt shingles is actually the sun—which is bad news for those who live in California. Ultraviolet rays break down asphalt. Plus the sealant and granules on the shingles will eventually fail and perhaps cause the shingles to fall.
  • Damage: Roofs can be exposed to many sorts of damage that may require repair or replacement. Shingles are vulnerable to impact from hail, or from walking on them in improper footwear. Hurricane winds and other storms can damage shingles. Animal infestations, poor repairs and much more can damage your roof. Whatever damaged your roof, it’s wise to get it repaired before it leaks.
  • Poor Ventilation: Few homeowners realize that roofs need to vent excess moisture. If not, droplets of water collect inside the roof and in the home. This can lead to rotted plywood, structural damage, and other problems in your home. If you get a new roof and it’s still leaking, poor ventilation may be the root of the problem.
  • Leaks: Of course, if you get a roof leak, you will need to either repair the roof or get it replaced. There are hundreds of things that might cause a roof leak, including aging, damage and poor ventilation.

What Causes a Roof Leak?

Homeowners often ask what causes a roof leak. You may be asking because you have a leak and don’t know what caused it, or you may wonder whether your roof’s problem will eventually, cause a leak, or if you can afford to leave it. We’ll do our best to answer your most common concerns about what may cause a roof leak, but you should ultimately ask a professional to inspect your roof if you have concerns.

Can bad gutters cause roof leaks?

Yes, bad gutters can cause roof leaks by allowing water to back up onto your roof, or to wear away at the edge of your roof. Clogged gutters, misaligned gutters, and insufficient gutters can all cause leaks. They can also damage the side of your home and your landscaping.

Roof Shingles That Need to be Replaced in PleasantonDo curling shingles need to be replaced?

Yes, curling shingles need to be replaced and can cause a leak. Some manufacturers may tell you that a curled shingle is an aesthetic issue and not a function issue. But, a curled shingle can allow for leaks. If the curled shingles are on the edge of your roof, they are a sign that your gutters aren’t functioning properly (or that you don’t have gutters!) If the curled shingles are elsewhere on your roof they may still allow water to travel beneath them, potentially leading to a leak.

Can roof vents cause leaks?

Improperly installed roof vents can cause leaks, especially ridge vents. In general, soffit vents are the ideal choice to avoid leaks, but they can still develop problems too. If an animal is using your soffit vent as an access point, it could develop a leak.

Why is my roof leaking in winter?

Winter leaks are counter-intuitive. Everything else is frozen, so how is there water in your roof? In many cases, winter leaks are caused by ice dams. Ice forms on your gutters or in your roof valley, damaging the shingles. The heat from the house makes the bottom of the ice melt, which then trickles into the house. Of course, that’s just the most common reason. You’ll need an expert to find out why your roof is leaking in the winter.

Is it common for a new roof to leak?

No, a new roof shouldn’t leak. A leak in a new home, or in a new roof, almost certainly means that your installer made a mistake or one of your roofing products had a defect from the manufacturer. A reputable roofer will be happy to return and correct their mistake or help you make a claim with the manufacturer.

Things to Consider When Repairing or Replacing Your Roof

Now that you know what may have caused damage to your roof, you also may have questions about what to expect during the repair or replacement process. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we’re asked.

Should you repair or replace a new roof?

This is a good question to ask your roofing professional. If your repairs are very extensive and expensive, it may be wiser to repair the roof. Then again, if you could expect a decade or more from your roof with a few minor repairs, it’ll save you money to just stick with repairs.
New Roof that was recently replaced in the Bay Area

How much does it cost to repair a roof?

It all depends on what kind of repairs you need. It’s wise to compare quotes from multiple roofers and ask them to explain any unusually high or low prices.

Can a roof leak be fixed from the inside?

No. A roof leak must be fixed from the outside. Even if you block off the water’s path inside, it will pool and do more damage.

Can you fix a roof leak in the winter?

You can fix a roof leak in the winter, in fact sometimes it’s your only choice. A roof replacement shouldn’t be done in the winter.

How long does a thirty-year roof really last?

A typical asphalt shingle roof will last 12 to 15 years. That being said, choosing a high-quality shingle and properly maintaining your roof can extend it’s lifespan significantly, potentially to 20 or 25 years. The key is getting regular maintenance from an experienced professional. We can advise you as to which shingles you can expect to last the longest.

Should I replace flashing with a new roof?

It depends on the quality of your flashing. A skilled roofer can use the same flashing, but they have to be careful and ensure the flashing is up to another ten years on the roof. Sometimes inexperienced roofers don’t replace obviously broken flashing. Bad flashing allows for leaks even if the shingles are in perfect condition. If you’re in doubt, replace the flashing.

Should I remove the old roof for a re-roofing job?

Yes, ideally you would remove the old roof when you’re getting a new one put on. You can sometimes save money by leaving the old roof on underneath the new, but this isn’t possible in all circumstances. Sometimes old roofs are in danger of collapsing, or ventilation or other problems that make it necessary to remove it. You also want to be sure that your roofing manufacturer will still honor your warranty even if you have an old roof beneath their new product.

How do you stop a concrete roof from leaking?

We can’t tell you without a look at your roof. However, we can tell you that concrete roofing is somewhat rare. Not all roofers have experience working with concrete. At Element Roofing, we have experience with these roofs and can help you get to the bottom of your leak and fix it.

Rotten Plywood Under Shingles

You may be surprised to hear that you need to replace the plywood beneath your roof. Serious leaks and damage may cause your plywood to rot away, which makes your roof very dangerous and ineffective. You may have questions about this process and what kind of plywood your roofer will be putting in, so here are some answers.

How to repair a rotted roof

You do not want to try to repair a rotted roof yourself. Water damage makes the plywood weak and soft. If you step on rotten plywood, you may fall through. Roofers have special harness equipment that can catch them if they fall through the roof.

What is the best roofing plywood?

The best roof sheathing is plywood, though most roofers use OSB (oriented strand board.) Plywood is a bit better than OSB as it grips nails well, is more impact resistant. However, OSB is more resistant to water. On the other hand, the roof sheathing isn’t nearly the most important material on the roof. If you have a bigger budget, it may be better for you to put your money into higher quality shingles or underlayment.

What thickness plywood is used for roofing?

Most roofers use 3/4 inch plywood or a thicker grade of OSB.

How far should roofing nails penetrate?

Roofing nails should only penetrate the roof by ¾ inch. Nails need a depth of ¾ of an inch in order to grip and properly hold shingles down. So the nail should puncture through ¾ inch plywood, but it shouldn’t go through thicker sheathing materials. Ideally, you’d choose a sheathing material that is thicker than ¾ to prevent nails from puncturing through, which can sometimes create a path for water.

How long does roof plywood last?

Roof plywood should last twenty years, so long as it is not exposed to water.

Contact Element Roofing

Do you have more questions about your roof, why it’s leaking, and whether it needs to be repaired or replaced? The experienced professionals at Element Roofing can answer your questions. We provide honest, expert assessments and give the advice that’s best for you. We serve the entire Bay Area including roofing in San Ramon, roofing in Concord, roofing in Castro Valley and more!