Oklahoma weather is hard on roofs. The extreme temperature shifts from summer to winter, along with strong winds, can cause shingles to crack and split. If these cracks are not repaired, ice and snow during the winter can cause the crack to expand and eventually cause the roof to leak. Strong winds in particular are challenging on Oklahoma roofs. Wind can lift the edges of poorly installed or worn shingles and peel the layers of shingles, causing leaks and damage.
In most cases, you can expect a well-installed asphalt shingle roof to last anywhere from 15-30 years, depending on the quality of the materials used and the quality of workmanship during the installation. Maintenance of your roof can have a big impact on longevity. If you pay attention to your roof and hire a qualified roofer to repair any damage or worn shingles and flashings, you can easily extend the life of your roof 10 years or more.
A huge Oklahoma hailstorm can damage even a recently installed roof. As anyone who has lived through an Oklahoma spring thunderstorm season knows, hail can reach baseball or even softball size, and those huge chunks of ice falling from several miles up in the sky can cause serious damage to a roof. Even quarter-sized hail can cause pits and cracking in the shingles. Anytime you experience a significant hail event, be sure and contact a reputable roofer and your insurance company for an inspection.
What to look for
There are telltale signs that your roof needs repair or at least an inspection. If you notice these signs, be sure and contact a reputable roofer and your insurance company for an inspection and estimate of repairs or replacement.
- Attic leaks – the first place to look for roof damage is not on the outside of your roof – climb into your attic with a flashlight and look for telltale leaks and water damage. Daylight shining through an exposed crack is easy to spot from inside your attic. Use your flashlight to inspect around vents, chimneys, and roof gables. These spots are often the first to start leaking.
- Buckled shingles – Shingles should lie flat against the roof. If you find shingles that are buckled, damaged, or cracked, it may be time to call your roofer for a closer inspection.
- Granules in downspouts – Most roofs shed shingle granules – the tiny rocks that make up the shingle coating. Don’t panic if you find these in your downspouts, but if you see an inordinate number of them, this might be a sign your roof is nearing the end of its life. Time to call your roofer for a closer inspection.
- Flashing cracks or gaps – The flashing is what seals the area around the vents, skylights, and drains in your roof. Examine these yearly for cracks or damage. Slight cracks can be sealed with caulk, but major cracks or an abundance of cracks mean a call to your roofer.
- Sagging roof – A sagging roof is a sure sign that you not only need a roof replacement but also decking and possibly some rafters replaced. Sagging is normally caused by water leakage left unrepaired over time.
- Unwanted houseplants – Moss might look cool on the shady side of your roof, and give it a worn, cozy feel, but any moss on your roof can spell trouble. If you see moss starting to form, you may be able to clean the area with a stiff broom, but watch for underlying problems that caused the moss to grow in the first place. If you are not sure, call your roofer.
- Trees rubbing against a roof – This is a common problem I see in central Oklahoma. Left untrimmed, these trees can rub holes in your shingles, especially in high winds. While it might look cool to have shady trees hanging over your roof and around your house, they pose a fire hazard and can quickly ruin even a new roof.
If you are buying a home, a good home inspector will take a look at your roof, and if it looks worn or near end-of-life, they will recommend a roof inspection from a qualified roofer. If you already own your home and you detect these signs, contact a good roofer (I can recommend several) and your insurance company.