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Q: How can I tell if the shingles on my roof needs to be repaired or replaced?

A: The roof helps to protect the building and its contents from the effects of weather. You should think of your roof as the homes protective covering and as such, its care and upkeep should be an important part of your regular maintenance to-do list. Depending of the type of shingles that were installed on your roof, you should be able to expect shingles to last upwards of 20 years or even more. However, many factors can negatively impact the life expectancy of these shingles. These can include improper installation methods, insufficient attic ventilation, adverse weather conditions, trees, etc.

An outdoor roof inspection can be performed safely from your driveway or backyard with a set of binoculars or a good digital camera that has a high optical zoom. Look for tell-tale signs of cupping or curling of the shingles, excessive granular loss, split, cracked or missing shingles or areas with organic growth (i.e. algae, moss, fungus, staining, etc.).

An indoor roof inspection can be performed easily with a ladder and a flashlight from your attic access. Look for signs of damaged, split or sagging wood framing, dark areas that look wet or significant discoloration on the underside of the roof sheathing. When excessive humidity is allowed to build-up in the attic space, it is not unusual for mold to grow and this will quickly deteriorate the sheathing and can have an adverse effect on the indoor-air quality of the property in question. Ventilation is extremely important to the health of your entire roofing / attic system. 

If you do notice any of these deficiencies, you should first contact a trusted roofing professional for a more thorough examination of your roofing system. Sometimes the solution may be only a minor repair or ‘tune-up’ versus replacing the entire roof.  


Lawrence Englehart (Global Property Inspections) is a Registered Home Inspector and be reached at or or