As your home’s primary protection from the harsh elements, your roof was originally built to stay strong and last long. But the constant exposure to the extreme temperatures, powerful winds, and battering rains of Australia’s seasons will eventually reduce the resilience, strength, and waterproofing of your roof. And once the surface of your roof has been compromised, it will slowly start cracking, decaying, corroding, and buckling under pressure.
Even the best-made roof becomes less and less effective over time until it eventually starts to fail and cause damage inside your home. Sooner or later, your roof is going to require repairs, restoration, and one day even replacement.
How can you tell if something is wrong with your roof, and how do you know it needs to be restored or replaced? That will depend on different factors, such as its age, the material used, and the quality of the build. And keep in mind there are warning signs to keep an eye out for both inside and outside your home as well.
While any quality built roof should last at least 20 to 25 years at a bare minimum, most will fare even better than that. Terracotta, metal, and concrete roofs can last anywhere between 50 and 85 years, whereas slate roofs have been known to survive for well over 100 years.
That being said, if the roof is over 20 years old and it wasn’t initially built correctly or has been through more than a few violent storms, there’s a pretty good chance of underlying problems with your roof you may not be aware of. No matter what your roof age, it’s always a good idea to have it inspected for peace of mind, just to be sure.
While every roof has an expected lifespan, so do all of the roofing materials used to build your roof. And the quality of the roofing materials will have a massive impact on the lifespan of any roof. Roof coatings like paint for example might only last between 10 and 20 years.
Once the materials used on your roof are no longer as effective, they will start expediting your roof’s deterioration. So a slate roof built in the 1950s might last a few more decades, whereas a roof with terracotta tiles made around the same time is long past due for replacement.
Poor quality roofing jobs can sometimes be spotted pretty easily, with some aspects even noticeable from the ground outside or inside your home. A roof will start to wear pretty evenly under usual circumstances, so any signs of advanced wear will usually indicate a problem with the build.
Even misalignment of roofing materials is enough to cause major problems, and a badly installed roof can cause it to start falling apart piece by piece. So if your roof is already showing signs of deterioration within the first 10 years, it will most likely be caused by defective materials or a poor-quality installation than from any normal wear and tear.
Things to check inside
There are many things that can go wrong with your roof, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it from both the outside and inside. On the inside of your home, watermarks and dark spots are both some of the more noticeable indications that your roof isn’t doing its job properly, as they’re caused by water leaking somewhere in their general vicinity.
Light trails coming inside from the roof are another indication of leaking, which also indicates possible water damage. Mould, moss, mildew, and algae are all commonly caused by damage from prolonged water leaks.
Things to check outside
Keep an eye out for any of the below signs of roof deterioration from outside. You may even be able to see some of these from the ground, whereas others will require you to get on the roof with a ladder. One of the things to watch out for is sagging anywhere on your roof, as it is usually an indication of some kind of structural issue.
Alignment issues or debris stuck anywhere on your roof are both issues which could also be structural because there aren’t supposed to be misalignments or gaps anywhere. You should also inspect for any signs of rust, corrosion, discolouration, or deterioration, as well as any cracked, broken, or damaged roofing materials. There also should never be any mould building up anywhere on your roof.
Noticing any of the signs above is just the start because the underlying problems need to be addressed to avoid them getting any worse. Just remember to make sure these issues are definitely caused by your roof and not by faulty plumbing before going ahead with a roof replacement.
In 2014 Adrian quit his job and opened a painting business called MrPaint. Adrian is a strong believer in the ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ principle and backs this up by being a competitive track cyclist here in Australia.