LESLIE: Repair or replace? That’s what Brian in North Carolina’s question is. How can we help you?
BRIAN: Hey. I’ve just got a question about my roofing. I don’t know exactly how old it is and I’m guessing it’s going to be needing replacing sometime soon and my question is should I wait until I, you know, notice some leaking or notice, I guess, some moisture up in the attic before I replace it or – any tips on what to – you know, how to approach that?
TOM: Yeah. You want to take a look at and inspect the roof to determine its condition. Here’s what you’re looking for: look closely at the shingles to see if they’re cracked or fissured.
TOM: If it’s an asphalt shingle that was put in in the last 15 years, it’s going to be very thin and the way they break down is they actually have sort of hairline cracks that form in them and you won’t be able to see this, Brian, unless you’re like right on top of it – and what I mean by that is you have to be on a ladder looking down at it or you have to be walking the roof which …
TOM: … of course can be dangerous if you’re not really comfortable in that situation. But look at the shingles themselves; see if you spot any signs of deterioration. Check the flashing areas where the roof meets the walls or two sections of roof intersect together or where plumbing vents come through.
The good news is that as roof shingles wear, they seldom wear so dramatically that they cause leaks; the leaks are almost always caused by a problem with the flashing. But if the roof is starting to crack and fissure, then it would be time to think about replacements. I’d wait until the summer, until it’s nice and warm, and I’d replace it at that time.
LESLIE: Would you see curling or pocking of the surface?
TOM: You could, depending on the shingles. If it’s really old, you may see them curl up at the bottom; you may see them get sort of blisters.
TOM: And that’s a condition called rash-blistering and it happens when there’s too much moisture in the shingle and the moisture evaporates and it sort of chips off pieces of the granular surface at the same time.
BRIAN: OK. So it sounds like I need to make a trip up there and then check out the thing.
TOM: Yeah, you need to take a look nice and close and then you can make your determination from there.
BRIAN: OK, will do. I appreciate the advice.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And binoculars wouldn’t do the trick?
TOM: Yeah, you know, good point. You can use binoculars if you’re not comfortable walking up there but a good quality pair because, again, you’ve got to look at those shingles very, very closely to understand whether they’re in good shape or not.