How Do I Know If I Need a New Roof?

Is it time to replace my roof?  Chances are if you are asking this question you may already be dealing with damage from a leaking roof. In some cases there is no easy way to access the roof.  Your roof may be on a two-story building or have a steep pitch, popular in new design.  If you are researching this information during the winter months, it might be that you now have water damage inside your home due to ice build-up or ice damming.

Types of roofing materials
  • * Asphalt Shingles
  • * Wood Shakes
  • * Tiles – Clay, Slate or Concrete
  • * Metal
Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles have a shorter useful life than other roofing materials and are the least expensive roofing system overall.  Most asphalt shingles are now re-enforced with fiber mesh which improves the product resiliency but makes the shingle more difficult to recycle.

The green movement introduced an “organic” shingle.  Unfortunately these shingles performed poorly and often prematurely decayed and delaminated.  Production of organic shingles was discontinued in 2005.  If you have organic shingles with signs of delaminating contact the shingle manufacturer as there may be warranty coverage for replacement.

Types of Shingle Damage
  • * Discoloration
  • * Cupped or Curled
  • * Blistering
  • * Delaminating
  • * Granule Loss
Generally, shingles need replacing due to age.  Normal wear and tear from heat, cold, rain, wind or ice and snow can decrease the life of the roof on our home or business.  The signs of age can result in any of the damage types named above.  Shingle damages greatly vary as some may require total replacement of your roof and other damage forms can be a result of manufacturing defects, weather damage or construction issues.


Have you ever noticed how some roofs have dark stripes or patches?  The dark areas are obviously more visible on lighter colored shingles as these spots are often dark brown or black.  The spots are often caused by the growth of algae and more commonly located on the north and east sides of the roof.  Fortunately, this does not shorten the life span of the shingle nor necessitate the replacement of your roof.

Algae, or roof mold, can be cleaned saving both time and money.  If your shingles are in need of replacement, manufactures have developed algae resistant shingles.  Talk to your local New Jersey roofing contractor for additional information.

Cupped or Curled Shingles

Shingles that have badly deteriorated will often cup upwards where it appears the edges of the tabs have curled inward and no longer lay flat against the roof deck.  Cupping can develop over the years as your shingles gradually loose granules exposing the asphalt base to the elements.  A roof with curled shingles is in dire need of replacement as the shingles have lost their ability to properly protect the interior of your home from water entry.  Water leaking into your attic can damage insulation and drywall and can develop into mold.  Some blown cellulose attic insulation may conceal a water leak by absorbing and holding the insulation.

As the cellulose insulation continues to absorb water it will reach a point where the drywall or plaster ceiling is no longer able to carry the load and part of your ceiling can collapse.  There have been instances where ceilings have come down on top of a family during dinner and one case where a father had to break down a door to reach his children after the ceiling collapsed on them.  Furthermore, your New Jersey roofing contractor should recommend removing the damaged roof as it is difficult to lay a new roof over cupped shingles and it is advisable to maintain one layer of shingles due to roof loads.


If your roof has small spots where the granules have been lost, revealing the asphalt and fiber mesh, this is known as blistering.  Blistering can be the result of age, manufacturing defect, or bird excrement.  Yes, according to manufacturing engineers, birds can damage your shingles over time.  Another possibility for blistered shingles is hail damage.  Hail impact will create a dimple in the shingle and knock the granules of the strike spot.  Hail damage may be covered by your insurance policy.

Each insurance company handles the claim settlement for roof damage differently.  An insurance company may pay for full roof replacement, effected slope, or a patch repair.  Settlement will also be based on the severity of the damage.  Insurance adjusters typically look for a hail strikes that have sporadically created dimples and left residual damage to other parts of the building.  Hail can break glass, put holes in vinyl siding and dimple the hood on your car.  If your home or building has been damaged by hail, notify your insurance representative immediately.


Shingles that are delaminating look as if they are crumbling to pieces.  You may find that your gutters are full of granules and large chunks of shingles.  Delaminated shingles can appear as a combination of cupped shingles that have been sporadically struck by hail the size of an orange.  Your roofs appearance may have seemed fine until a storm hit and when it is over your roof is falling apart but your neighbor’s roof seems untouched.  Why is the damage to your roof so severe?  An older roof is less resistant to impact as the shingle tabs gradually loose granule and the sun exposure and heat on the roof dry the shingle out making it more brittle.  Another option is that your roof shingles were manufactured from organic material.  As previously mentioned, organic shingles did not perform well and were pulled off the market.

Granule Loss

While you were cleaning out your gutters did you find them full of shingle granules?  Don’t panic; granule loss is common and occurs over the lifespan of your roof.  Harsh weather conditions can increase granule loss and shorten the shingles effectiveness.  Building construction can also impact the shingles performance.  We discussed how heat and sunlight damage asphalt, especially when protected granules are lost.  Heat damage can also occur from under the shingle.  If your attic is poorly ventilated, the heat is not released and builds in the attic.  Cold weather can reduce shingle life when ice forms along the eaves and builds up the roof.  Do huge icicles hang off your eaves during winter months?  The snow melts from underneath if the roof is warmed by attic space that is under insulated and may be more severe if poor insulation values are compounded by inadequate ventilation.  Lack of snow on your roof and massive icicles is an indication improvement is in order.  Contact a local reputable New Jersey home improvement contractor for an estimate.

How can I extend the life of my roof?

Inspect your roof on a regular basis and make the minor repairs when necessary.  If your roof is not easily accessible find a company you can trust to make the inspections.  Have a roofing contractor inspect your attic for proper insulation and ventilation. If your shingles need replacing due to age, defect or storm damage call on a contractor with a solid, positive reputation that will provide you with a detailed written bid and thorough explanation of the estimate and replacement process.

Call us today at 908.378.5951 or schedule a FREE CONSULTATION HERE.

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