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When Should You Replace the Roof on a Rental Property?



Replacing the roof on a rental property is quite costly, and you’re probably not excited about expensing it. However, the condition of the roof can impair your ability to make money on the rental, warns McKenna & Vane Management. So even if you would rather not spend money replacing it, you should in order to keep your asset profitable.


But how do you know if it’s the right time to replace a rental's roof? You want to avoid replacing a roof that does not need it, but you also don’t want to keep a roof that has outlived its usefulness.


In this article, we are listing the signs that you should look out for to determine if the roof of your rental property needs replacement.


1. Leaking Chimneys

Flashing around a roof can help to reinforce and weatherproof it. Over time, however, flashing can deteriorate and start to crack or break. This is especially true for flashing that is made of tar and cement. If the flashing starts to wear away, water can leak through the roof into the home. One of the major signs of missing or damaged flashing is a leaky chimney. As soon as your chimney starts to leak, it may be time to replace the roof of the property.


2. Ice Dams on the Edge of a Roof

Ice-dam formation on the edge of a roof is a sign that there may be several things wrong with it. If icicles and ice-dams appear on a roof edge, you can assume that the roof is no longer efficient as they typically coincide with damage to the shingles, gutters, ceiling and interior drywalls of a property.


Failing to address the underlying cause of ice-dam or icicle formation will lead to extensive damage to a property. The best way to solve the problem is usually a roof replacement.


3. Missing and Broken Shingles

Cracked, broken and missing shingles will compromise the entire roof of a property. Naturally, most damage to the shingles occurs as a result of wind force. When this happens, the cracked shingles expose the roof to a slew of other problems. For instance, the cracked shingles can pull away from the rest of the roof and create a widening gap. This opening admits moisture which causes dampness and encourages mold growth, wood rot, and damage to a property's insulation.


If you have broken shingles on your roof, you should have it inspected by a roof expert to help you determine if you need partial or complete roof replacement.





4. Presence of Mold, Algae, Lichen and Moss

Moss, lichen, mold and algae are highly damaging to a roof.

  • Algae: Algae will wear a roof thin by extracting and feeding on the limestone and asphalt in the shingles.

  • Moss: Moss causes moisture to build up on roof surfaces by trapping water in its root system. After a while, the accumulated moisture finds its way into the internal structures of the roof.

  • Lichen: Lichen forms a branching network of tentacles that penetrate deep into the base of shingles to undermine their structural integrity.

  • Mold: Mold grows inside the attic and causes damage to the plywood and nails within the roof structure.


5. Missing Roof Granules

Roof granules deflect the sun's heat and help the roof withstand the force of the elements. When they start to go missing, the roof loses its resilience and becomes more susceptible to heat, wind and precipitation.


If you start to see bald spots or inconsistent coloring on the roof's surface, then it means that the granules are starting to come off. The best way to detect this problem is to check the gutters to see if they are filled with granules. If gutters are loaded with shingles granules, the roof certainly needs replacement.


6. Daylight is Visible in the Attic

If you see daylight in the attic, it means you have leaks in your roof. Not to mention, if light can get in, so can rain, cold air, and snow. A leak will cause damage that can gradually extend to almost every part of a building. If the problem is addressed on time, only partial roof replacement will be necessary. If it is left unchecked, the entire roof will eventually need to be replaced.


7. The Roof is Bowing or Sagging

Water damage can also cause a roof to bow. This usually means that the roof is about to collapse. A sagging roof can be caused by the following:

  1. Insufficient rafters and joints

  2. A problem with the attic decking

  3. A problem with a home's foundation: When the soil beneath a building moves, the foundation will move too. When this happens, the roof will move as well.





8. Curling Shingles

Shingles can curl as time goes by or due to improper alignment. Shingles are layers of fiberglass and asphalt. Due to extreme environmental conditions, these layers can start to pull apart, causing the shingle to curl. If the shingles on a roof start to curl, that roof will soon need replacement.


Finally, if your roof is older than twenty-five years, it’ll need replacement as well.


There you have it – 8 circumstances where replacing your roof may be necessary.


For further inquiries, contact us today.

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