Purchasing a new home can be a daunting task, especially if the only way to get the house you want, while staying within your budget, is to purchase a house that's a bit of a fixer-upper. Putting aside plumbing, flooring, and electrical wiring, one of the most time consuming (and costly) tasks that a fixer-upper can need is a new roof, so you don't want to put one in unless it's absolutely necessary.
But how do you decide if it's absolutely necessary? If the state of the roof in your home is hanging over your head like the shingles of Damocles, then here are a few signs that your fixer-upper needs a new roof.
Over the years, the shingles on your roof can buckle and/or curl, especially at their edges, causing them to not only look deformed but also give your house less than fabulous coverage from the elements. This lack of protection can result in everything from a higher heating or cooling bill to keep your house livable, to gaps where rainwater or other problems of nature can break through into your home.
If there's one thing you absolutely want to avoid for your home's welfare, it's cracked, broken, or even missing shingles, all of which give you less coverage than you need to keep your home nice and safe inside. Breaking shingles are not only bad for coverage, but also potentially dangerous, as they could fall off the roof, damage the gutter or other shingles, or possibly even fall on the head of an unsuspecting family member.
Don't just scan the roof from afar to determine if you have breaking shingles; make sure to get up close and check your home's gutter for little asphalt fragments, which could be a telltale sign that your shingles are breaking down and your roof needs replacing.
Generally speaking, a home needs a new roof every 20 to 50 years or so; an age that seems a long way out, but that can actually creep up on you fairly quickly, since you're buying a home that's already been lived in. It's not just the calendar that decides the age of your roof, however; adverse weather conditions can cause your roof to age faster, sapping its average 35 year life by potentially decades.
The best way to tell if your roof is aged is simply by looking at it; if it looks old, worn, and beaten — or if the surrounding homes that look to be built around the same time are getting or have already gotten new roofs — chances are good that your roof is simply too aged to be fully functional and should be replaced.