As with everything else that’s a part of your house, roofing materials undergo a gradual process of change that we colloquially call “wearing out.” Eventually, every building will need a new roof. It’s only a matter of time.
That said, it’s not always easy to know exactly when it’s the right time for new roofing. There are many factors to consider, and the timing has to fit your budget and your long-term plans for your home.
One simple way to figure out if it’s time for roof replacement is to compare the features of old worn-out shingles to brand new ones and then see where your home’s shingles stand in relation to those two extremes.
Here are five important ways that new shingles differ from old ones:
1. Old shingles are much more likely to fail as a water barrier.
When you have a roof leak, it’s always an urgent matter. Water damage to your home’s interior can quickly cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars if not rapidly addressed.
Older shingles are much more likely to have weak points that may have developed. There may be areas that the wind and rain and heat have gradually worn down or loosened up. These could be points where water might sneak under the shingles and cause a leak.
An occasional leak after a major storm is not unusual, of course, and is no reason to replace all your roofing. You just get a pro roof repair. But when roofing continually needs several roof repairs annually – it may be best to just re-roof the whole house.
2. New shingles brighten up your home, warm up its “curb appeal.”
There are few home improvement projects that will have such a big, immediate impact on your home’s curb appeal as will new roofing.
Over time, even the best shingles will fade as they absorb the sunlight – especially UV rays. The granule layer on top of asphalt shingles slows down that process significantly, but fading will still eventually occur.
There’s no doubt about it. Brand new shingles look sharper, brighter, and more impressive than their aged, badly faded, somewhat disheveled counterparts. And curb appeal not only makes your home more pleasant for you to look at, but it also adds to its value and helps speed up a sale if you decide to list your home.
3. Old roofing may have many defects and accumulated problems.
When new roofing goes on, your home looks perfect. And you should get 20, 25, or even 30 years out of most types of asphalt roofing shingles. Over time, however, imperfections accumulate – even if they don’t always cause a leak.
This is a big part of the visual difference and performance difference between old shingles and new. Corners of shingles are chipped off, some buckling occurs, impacts by tree limbs or hail leaves small marks.
All kinds of such tiny things add up to affect the overall look and function of roofing. (In case some of these problems are more serious, by the way, this is why you should always get an annual roofing checkup.)
4. New shingles tend to be more energy-efficient.
There are many ways to help boost your home’s energy-efficiency level. Some of them are related to your attic, roof, and roofing. That’s not surprising since most of the heat leaving your home escapes through the rooftop.
More modern brands and varieties of roofing materials typically have a higher energy-efficiency rating. Thus, that alone is going to boost your energy savings at least some. Combined with other things, new roofing can help you save significantly on energy.
5. The color, style, quality, or roofing type may be different!
Why not get a new roof this year? The shingles of your new roof may differ from the old ones in regard to their “newness,” but they CAN differ in other ways too if you so choose.
There are dozens of possible colors and shades to choose from with asphalt shingles as well as many styles and sizes. You could also opt to upgrade to dimensional shingles instead of the more usual three-tab variety if you want better aesthetics and longer durability.
And you may even want to go with an entirely new kind of roofing. There’s certainly no rule that says you have to put the exact same type of new roofing on as you had with the old.
These are just a handful of the ways that new roofing may differ from older roofing. Noting these differences can be a good way to gauge when it may be time to take the old roofing off and put the new roofing on.
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