Built Blog

Hello El Niño, Goodbye Leaky Roof

by builtinsurance 17 November , 2015

At long last, California is in for some serious rainfall.  With one of the strongest El Niños on record approaching the California coast, experts say that residents should prepare for heavy rainfall in a continuous pattern – along with some outrageously good surfing.

While the promise of heavy rainfall is a welcome change from the years-long drought experienced in southern California, residents are advised to inspect their roof to assess the potential for leakage before the strong rains hit.  If you are wondering what to look for, here are five factors to consider in deciding whether to have your roof evaluated for possible repair or replacement:

  1. How old is your roof? If your roof is 20-25 years old, it may be time to replace it.  Most roofs are designed to last about this long, although several factors can influence the lifespan of your roof, including the material used, the climate conditions, and whether there are one or two layers of shingles.  For example, if your roof is made of asphalt shingles, it will most likely last for 15-25 years, while if it is made of wood shingles, it may last closer to 30 years.  Similarly, if you live in a very rainy or very sunny climate, a new roof may be indicated sooner than for folks living in a dry, shady location.
  2. Has it leaked in the past? If your ceilings have leaked in the past, it is time for a new roof or at the very least, a roof repair.  Rain water may be entering the roof at one point but travelling to another before leaking into your house.  It is essential to find the exact spot where water is entering your home to determine whether you need a new roof or merely a repair, and to prevent these leaks from happening in the future.
  3. What is the shape of your roof? A flat roof is more susceptible to leaks than a sloped roof and may have to be replaced more quickly, although once again, it depends on the materials used.  For example, a flat asphalt roof may last for just ten years, while one containing rubber or other synthetics may last for much longer.
  4. Are others in the neighborhood replacing their roofs? If you see your neighbors gradually replacing their roofs, it may be a sign that yours needs replacing too.  In many areas, neighboring houses are built at around the time using the same materials, and new roofs are therefore indicated at about the same time too.
  5. Are shingles showing irreversible wear? A simple inspection of your roof, perhaps together with a qualified roofer, will indicate whether you have significant damage to your shingles.  If you have shingles that are chipped or missing, buckling, or shedding granules, it may be time to think about replacement.  If you observe dark areas or moss emerging, it may be a sign of mold or dampness that may require professional cleaning or replacement.
  6. Is light showing through the roof boards? Finally, if you see shafts of light penetrating your roof through the attic, it may be mean that your roof is damaged and prone to future leaks.  In this case, it may be advisable to repair or replace either the damaged section or entire roof.

Residents of California, who are used to perpetual sunshine, may not be accustomed to thinking about their roofs, but now is the time to do so!  Don’t wait until leaks have occurred and damaged your ceilings and possessions;  instead, take a moment to inspect your roof or contact a professional roofer for a free consultation.