Is Your Roof A Costly Nightmare In The Making?
by Mike Waller      
 Do you know the condition of your roof? If you are like most homeowners, you probably don't pay too much
attention to your roof until water leaks into the house causing an ugly, brown stain in your ceiling drywall. By this time,
there may be considerable (and costly) damage to any, or all, of the following: roof decking, rafters, joists, soffit,
fascia, ceilings, walls, paint and/or flooring. But, you can prevent a good bit of damage and save some money simply
by looking at your roof now.
 Spend a few moments walking around your house and take a good look at the condition of your roof. Do you have
missing shingles? Are any broken? Do you have any spots where the shingles buckle up? Do you see any nail pops
(nails pop up under the shingle and push it up in the center?) Are the corners of your shingles curling up? Any sags or
large dips in the roof? All of these should take into account the age of your roof. If your shingle roof is more than 9-10
years old (assuming 3-tab, 20-year shingles), and you have several of the above listed problems with your roofing, you
may seriously want to consider having your roof checked by a reputable and knowledgeable roofer.
 Your roof may simply need a repair job. A storm may have blown off a single tab or a corner of a shingle. A nail pop
is an easy fix that usually does not require shingles to replaced unless the head of the nail has popped through the
shingle, but again this is simply a repair. Even a leak at a trouble spot does not necessarily mean you need a whole
new roof, a simple repair of decking board, felt, shingle and flashing may fix you up for several more years.
A few common trouble spots are around chimneys, in valleys, around pipe vents and where a roof kills (runs into) the
wall of a higher floor (pretty common on newer houses). Any spot on the house that involves flashing of some sort will
be one of the high-risk spots for leaks. But again, in many cases it is either poorly done or nonexistent flashing, a worn
out boot on a pipe vent or in the case of a chimney, the absence of a cricket on the backside of the chimney (a cricket
is angled so that it prevents water from pooling behind the chimney and backing up under the shingles.) All of these are
fairly easy fixes to common problems. And none of these necessitate an entire new roof. By taking a look at your roof
yourself, when the time comes to have it inspected by a professional roofer, you'll have a good idea if he's shooting
straight when he comes off the roof and delivers his verdict.
 Also, once you've looked at the shingles on your roof, get in your attic with a good flashlight and take a look at the
decking (the wood underneath your shingles). This will tell you instantly if you have any rotten wood. Obviously, rotten
wood means you have a problem somewhere and water is getting in. The problem may be very obvious such as a tree
branch falling on your roof and poking a 6-inch whole through your shingles, felt and decking. Or it may be something
much harder to track down.
    Again, a leak does not necessarily mean you need a new roof, nor do a few shingles blowing off or slipping down.
But if you have multiple symptoms, it can't hurt to have a professional roofing company check it out for you. You may
need a simple repair. But if he says you need a new roof, get several more roofers out to take a look before you
decide. Always check references and never pay by cash!!
Waller Home Improvement, LLC How-to article series
All rights reserved. Copyright 2008.
                      7 signs you may soon need a new roof...

1. Do have several active roof leaks?

2. Is your roof more than 10-12 years old?

3. Are the corners of the shingles curling up?

4. After every storm, do you lose several shingles? And if so, are those shingles hard, brittle      
    and easy to break?

5. Do you have little or no attic ventilation?

6. Do you colored granules from the shingles in your gutters?

7. Can you see bare spots on the shingles where the colored granules have come off?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you might want to consider calling a
roofing professional to inspect your roof. You may have a few years of roof life left or you
may need one right away. We will be glad to help you determine if you need one now or down
the road.