How To Tell If You Need A New Roof

When buying or selling a home, it is crucial to be fully aware of any structural or systemic concerns within the building. To find the true value of a home, and to help prevent home buyers from purchasing a "lemon," a home is always inspected in the process of a real estate transaction. Inspectors will evaluate things like the plumbing and HVAC systems, electrical wiring, the foundation, and of course, the roof.

Because a roof replacement is such a significant home repair, the condition of the roof is usually a major factor in the sale of a home. A new roof will make an excellent selling point, but a bad roof could be a deal breaker. The following roofing problems can be spotted even without the help of an inspector. The good news is that spotting the signs indicating that you may need a new roof is relatively simple. You just need to know what to look for:

Fallen Shingles

Fallen shingles around the exterior of the home should raise a definite red flag. However, it doesn’t always mean that the entire roof needs to be replaced. If a storm with high winds recently passed through the area, that could be the reason why some shingles have fallen. But, if no such storm took place, or you start noticing multiple spots of exposed roof deck, this usually means the roofing system is failing.

Water Damage

Water damage in the ceiling or walls of the home's interior is another sign that roof replacement may be needed. Roof leaks tend to happen when the shingles are compromised and/or sealants are failing. Finding the leak may not be as easy as it seems, however, as water often travels before finding it's way into drywall.

Dirt Filled Gutters

Take a peek in the gutters and have them cleaned if necessary. If you notice a fair amount of shingle granules, it could mean that the underlying layers of the asphalt shingles have become exposed, making them susceptible to deterioration and subsequent roof leaks. In some cases, a new layer of shingles can be installed directly over the old ones instead of replacing the roof entirely.

Attic Sunspots

Go up to the attic space and look for any spots where sunlight is visible through the roofing system. This would be a definite sign of roof failure and a very big clue that the home could have serious moisture problems. Also keep your eyes open for mold, rot, and pests like termites or rodents.


Another big factor that should be considered when evaluating the need for a new roof is the age of the existing one. Roofs more than 20 years old are likely reaching the end of their service lives. They also likely include outdated chimney cement or tar sealants that should be replaced with newer watertight materials.

It's helpful to know right away when a home you want to buy or sell has a roofing problem. If you spot any of the issues above, it is critical to have the roof inspected and to get quotes from multiple roofing companies for the repair or replacement. Oftentimes, the roof work can be negotiated in the sale of the home, ideally leaving both buyer and seller happy with the transaction.