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If you’ve done just a little digging into this question, you’ve probably come across the “25-30 year rule” for replacing your roof. That figure is used as a benchmark. Most residential roofs need replacing within that window. However, there are quite a few variables to consider and not any roof is the same.

Your roof takes a lot of external wear and tear throughout each passing year. Sunlight, snow accumulation, strong winds, debris, rodents, hurricanes, or extreme weather conditions – all of these have an impact on a roof’s lifetime. How often your roof needs to be replaced depends on several factors:

  • Local weather
  • Yearly maintenance and care
  • Age of the materials
  • Quality of the materials
  • Building and design
  • Upkeep with minor repairs
  • Keeping pests and rodents away
  • External debris accumulation

In New England, our roofs experience all four seasons and the external beating that comes with them. So it’s important to keep up with maintenance and schedule regular roof inspections.

How Long Will Your Roof Last?

As a general rule, the 25 – 30 year benchmark works.  If your roof is that old, it’s likely that it wil need replacement soon enough.  Some might even need a full roof replacement earlier.

However, that figure doesn’t tell the full story.  As we said above, there are many variables to consider.  One important variable is the materials used on your roof – both the actual material and the quality of it.

Typically, the 25 – 30 year rule extends to roof with composite or asphalt shingles.  These materials are very popular because they’re affordable and  come in many different options.  However, not everyone uses these materials for their roofs, So the timing for replacement can vary.

As you’ll see in the chart below, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors gives different life expectancy for chosen materials.

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

Asphalt shingles, according to this chart, last for about 20 years before replacement. You also have to consider what manufacturer you use and the quality of the shingles. This is one of the many reasons we offer Certainteed Shingles to homeowners. Quality and advanced protection go a long way to save money.

Overall, there are many different answers to how often roofs need to be replaced. If you’re wondering about your roof, our best suggestion is to schedule a home inspection.

That said, there are warning signs you need to be aware of. Below, we’ve listed out ways you can tell if your roof needs to be replaced or repaired in the near future.

How to know if you need to replace your roof: X warnings signs

Roof replacement and repair is best determined by a thorough inspection. However, there are signs you can be aware of while at home. If you see any of these happening, it’s time to call in a professional.

1. Missing, loose or cracked shingles

Cracked Shingles

The issue with most roofs is that they’re ignored and out of sight. You don’t usually take a good look unless there is a stain or dark spot viewable from the street or yard.

Old or worn shingles are fairly easy to spot if you search for them. Missing shingles may be replaced individually, but it’s usually a sign of the bigger issue. Large areas of cracked or loose shingles (or ones that are clearly falling apart) indicate that your roof needs replacement.

2. Curled Shingles and bald spots

Curled Shingles

Shingles can curl in two ways – cupping, when the edges turn upward, or clawing, when edges stay flat and the middle starts to come up. Both could indicate that:

  • Moisture has built up underneath the shingles due to poor ventilation in the attic
  • Shingles were improperly installed
  • Old age and wear from direct sunlight and weathering

Bald spots on your shingles mean that the granules have started to fall off and expose the asphalt underneath. Tip: look in your gutter for shingles granules. If rain carries them into your gutters, it’s likely your roof needs replacement.

3. Moss, dark spots and algae growth


Moss can start to grow on a roof that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, especially in cool and moist climates. Moss holds moisture against the surface which can cause damage, especially in freezing climates.

Dark spots (or generally dirty-looking shingles) are caused by fungus and algae growth. These might not be directly tied to how often you need to replace your roof (or that it needs repair) but these problems can spread and cause damage.

4. Sunlight coming through the roof beams

Missing Shingles

When examining the roof from your attic, look for any spots where the sun is filtering through the roof boards. This is a sign that you need a new roof, and a quick call to a professional roofing company is a must.

Don’t wait until you spot a leak in your ceiling to decide to replace your roof. Avoid more costly repairs by implementing a regular roof inspection.

5. Energy costs are extremely high and climbing each year

Energy Prices

Have you noticed that your heating and cooling costs have climbed, even though your monthly usage and rates are the same? Poor ventilation and insulation in the attic could be the issue, causing your systems to run excessively throughout the year.

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