What Are the Signs of a Bad Roof?

Regardless of the type and age of your roof right now, it is eventually going to need roof repair or replacement. If yours already has a few years on it, it would be a good idea to understand the signs of a bad roof and be prepared when the time comes to call in a roofing company.


Your roof is under constant attack by the elements, leading to the eventual need for roof repair. Heat and wind work against asphalt shingles, causing the protective outer granules to loosen and fall into the gutter or onto the ground. You can identify this problem by examining the ground near downspouts or along the dripline of the home’s eaves. If you are starting to see an increasing number of roof-colored particles, it is time to have your roof examined by professionals.

Broken or Missing Shingles

Shingles may break or become lost over time. This can be attributed to wind and fluctuations of heat and cold and is a normal symptom of age. Broken shingles– even if they haven’t fallen out– allow water to penetrate the outer shell of the roof and make it much more likely that you will have interior leaks developing soon. Consult with a qualified roofing contractor to determine whether repair or replacement is your best course of action.

Gutters and Downspouts

The boards on the end of your rafters, known as fascia boards, will eventually begin to rot. Because these rafter end caps are typically hidden behind the gutter, your first indication of a problem may be when the gutters begin to sag away from the eaves. You can examine the gutters with a tall step ladder, looking for gutter nails that are missing or partially embedded in the eaves or fascia. Fascia boards can be replaced if the decay is caught soon enough, but the condition will worsen over time and spread to the rafters, soffit, and possibly even your walls.

Interior Leaks

Identifying the location of roof leaks can be challenging, and there are many potential causes. If possible, find the location of the leak while it is raining, so that your roof contractors will know where to look after the rain has gone. Some leak sources will be obvious, such as a fallen tree, but others can be more subtle, including slow separation caused by settling or geologic movement. Your first indication of an interior leak may be a discolored area on the ceiling closest to the roof. Damage will increase over time, and may include ruining drywall, rotting studs, and decayed floors.

Sagging Roof

If the field– the interior area of your roof surface without exterior edges– shows signs of sagging, or you notice a dip along the ridgeline, it is probably time for– at the least– a partial replacement. Sagging occurs when the supporting skeleton of the home, especially rafters and trusses, loses its integrity and warps due to the pull of gravity, decay, and extended exposure to moisture. Sagging roofs are typically replaced, removing the original roof completely and rebuilding it. If you are going to replace your roof, you may also want to consider different types of roofing materials that last longer, perform more efficiently, or provide a brand-new look to the family home.

Tree Limbs

Trees growing close to the house can be extremely hard on your roof, and living in windy terrain makes it likely that tree branches can be blown across long distances. Small branches aren’t especially dangerous to a roof, but larger ones can puncture the shingles and underlayment, allowing rain and extreme temperatures to enter the attic or upper rooms of the home. Where trees are concerned, the damage is multiplied many times over, and may easily result in gaping holes, shattered trusses, and more. Even though trees are excellent for providing shade, it is generally not a great idea to have them in close proximity to the home. Trees do not have to fall in order to cause a lot of damage, either. Massive tree limbs blowing in heavy winds can rip shingled and metal roofs off, resulting in massive areas of the roof that are vulnerable to rain.

Growth and Debris

Depending on factors such as roof slope, regional location, and directional orientation, debris and organic matter may slowly accumulate in the valleys and gutters of your roof. The first issue that may arise from debris is that the roof may not drain properly, encouraging decay and rot. Also, a buildup of organic material is almost always going to accumulate seeds as well, and the roots of airblown weeds or bird-dropped berry seeds can be disastrous over an extended period of time. Debris buildup in areas that are always shaded also increases the potential for mosses and fungi to become established. And while a moss-green roof may be aesthetically appealing to look at, it can be a huge liability for the roof.

Extending Roof Longevity

Every roof is going to need some form of repair or replacement over the course of years. Even the best roofing materials are only rated for around 75 years, and most roofs are only warranted for around 20 years. But you can make your roof last as long as possible by taking a few simple steps like inspecting it quarterly for small damages, cleaning the valleys annually, and flushing the gutters in the spring and fall. Keep your fascia boards clean and painted, tighten gutter nails as necessary, and mend drain pipes before they can add extra burden to their supports. When minor repairs are needed, take care of them expeditiously to prevent small problems from escalating into major renovations.

The roof is a feature of your home that you cannot do without. It helps maintain the structural integrity of the home, tying load-bearing supports together and creating a sheltering layer that helps stave off decay and weather. Being able to recognize the signs of a bad roof minimizes or prevents the problem from going beyond the roof and affecting other aspects of home ownership including your family’s health, your household energy costs, and the longevity of the home itself.

Peak Roofing & Exteriors

If you’re looking for an honest and experienced team that can handle your residential roofing project in Northwest Arkansas, Northeast Louisiana, or West Texas, look no further.  Peak Roofing & Exteriors can take care of your home or business with quality and integrity. Contact us today and book a FREE inspection!