Every roof has a natural lifespan. Your typical residential roof will last between 15 and 30 years. Newer homes and more recent roof installations can expect to get closer to 30 years out of modern composite shingles. After that lifespan is about spent, homeowners need to schedule a roof replacement. This is all good, practical advice. But what happens if you don’t replace your roof?
If you’re not yet seeing water running down the walls and rarely get up on the roof to see long-term problems, it can be tempting not to replace. It’s a big appointment, it will take at least a full day to complete, maybe two or three if your roof is especially large or complex. It’s also a real investment in the home. So you may be wondering what will happen if you don’t replace your roof. Unfortunately for indefinite procrastination, there are a few very serious hidden costs to putting off your roof replacement too long.
1) Increasing Utility Bills
The first thing most people notice when their roof approaches replacement-time is an increase in utility bills, especially your power bill. Your roof is supposed to form a seal over the top of your house, holding in the air that rises to the top and improving your HVAC efficiency and energy efficiency as a whole. When your roof degrades, that seal is damaged. Missing shingles and leaks are also places where air escapes. That means you’re losing AC in the summer and heat in the winter, and your HVAC is working harder burning more electricity to keep up.
If you heating or cooling bills are higher this year than last year, and especially if they have been increasing year on year, this is one of those hidden costs of delaying your roof replacement.
2) The Cost of Repeated Roof Repairs
When it’s time to replace your roof, the roof will need more and more frequent repairs. If you do pay attention to your roof, you will notice that shingles are stripped away by wind and storm damage at an ever more frequent rate. This is because asphalt composite shingles really do have a lifespan. After that time, they get soft and break or rip away from the roofing nails more easily. This is also why your gutters and yard fill with granules as you approach your roof’s lifespan, the shingle surface degrades and can no longer hold them.
This will lead to constant shingle replacement roof repairs. Even a mostly patchwork roof of progressively newer shingles will degrade as the base layer of shingles degrades. You will find yourself calling for repairs again and again instead of replacing the roof as a whole.
3) Hidden Leaks and Extensive Water Damage
Roof leaks aren’t just the kind you can catch in a pot. The worst roof leaks are those that leave rivulets of water running behind the walls. This leads to dissolving drywall, rot in the beams, and can even degrades your foundation if enough water runs directly below the house down the walls. Roof leaks are extremely dangerous to the home, whether you can see them or they are hidden behind the walls.
Once a leak is detected, you face the cost not only of roof repair, but repairing any water damage that occurred. With extensive water damage, you may find yourself dealing with emergency home renovation.
4) Dangerous Mold Growth
Even worse than water damage, however, is mold growth. Mold is not just a fuzzy plant that can grow on walls, it releases spores that can cause anything from allergic reactions to brain damage. When any surface in your home is soaked in water, it becomes a viable home for mold spores – which are floating in the air at all times in low concentrations just like pollen and dust.
But when mold takes hold in a water-logged wall, floor, or furniture, it grows large colonies with high spore concentrations that can become acutely dangerous to the health of anyone indoors – especially residents breathing the spores every day.
This adds medical bills as well as mold remediation to the hidden costs of roof not replacing your roof.
5) Board and Beam Rot
Now let’s talk about the structure of the roof. A roof is made up of three primary elements: the beams, the underlayment boards, and the shingles. The beams provide the structure, but if saturated with water from roof leaks can become soft. They can develop wet or dry rot and go weak. If mold takes root in your beams, it will slowly eat away at the cellulose – dead wood is its natural food – and your beams will become porous as well. This is where roof sagging along the points and lines can occur.
The underlayment is made of plywood boards and provides the flat surface along which shingles are nailed. If the plywood underlayment is damaged by leaks or softened by piles of wet leaves over the shingles, you will see sagging along the flat surfaces of the roof.
Roof sagging naturally leads to further damage but, worse, it’s dangerous. Once your roof starts to sag, the chances of it fully falling down during a storm becomes an ever higher risk.
How Roof Replacement Prevents These Costs
Roof replacement involves peeling back your roof shingles, then the underlayment, and rebuilding the entire structure fresh and with a seal that could easily last over a decade before your first roof repair. If there is damage to your beams, it will be identified and those beams will be replaced. If there has been water running down the inside of your walls, that will be identified for repair when the roof is fully removed.
More importantly, getting your roof replaced on time can prevent all or most of these hidden costs. A new roof will eliminate leaks, restore your energy efficiency, and ensure your roof remains in excellent condition for years. You won’t need another roof inspection for five years and with modern asphalt composite shingles, your next roof replacement is 30 years in the future.
Not sure if it’s time to replace your roof? Want to identify hidden costs of an old roof in your home? Contact us today to schedule a roof inspection for your home in Rock Hill, York, and Fort Mill, South Carolina.