When Should You Replace the Roof on a Rental Property?

Monday, September 30th, 2019 by Barbara Gudith


When Should You Replace the Roof on a Rental Property? - Image 1

It's easy to forget about the roof over our heads; usually, we only notice them when there's a problem.  Understandably, it's not as architecturally interesting as the siding, doors, and windows.

It goes without saying that a home's roof is an important structural element.  If it weren't for their cover, all our belongings would be soaked with rainwater, covered in dirt, or both.

As a landlord, ensuring you provide a proper roof to your tenants is one of the keys to a successful business.  The Implied Law of Habitability does not only require it; but, property manintenance is also one of your core responsibilities, warns Florida Property Management and Sales.

One great way of preventing roof issues (and any other property maintenance issue, for that matter) is through regular inspections.  Regular inspections will help you detect problems early; before they become serious and costly.

So, when should you replace the roof on your rental property?  Here are the tell-tale signs the roof on your rental property requires replacement.

Sign #1: The roof appears saggy.

Spotting a sagging area in your roof is always worrying.  While a small dip shouldn't be alarming, it could indicate an imminent danager sooner or later.  Fortunately, a saggy roof can usually be corrected.  

However, it's often best to hire a professional to determine the root cause of the problem.  Foundation issues or problems with the attic's decking are usually the main culprits.

Sign #2: The roof is old.

Old Roofs

As with other things in this world, roofs get old.  Just because it looks good doesn't mean it's structurally sound.  So, how old is your rental property's roof?  Is it well past 20 years? If so, you may need to replace it as most roofs have an average lifespan of 25 years.

There are a number of factors that can accelerate the aging process of a roof; including but not limited to:

1) Lack of prompt maintenance;

2) Improper design;

3) Exposure to sunlight; and

4) Inadequate ventilation.

 

Sign #3: Persistent roof leaks.

Roof leaks are also another sign that a roof needs to be replaced.  It can be annoying to schedule a roof leak repair only for the problem to reappear a couple of days or weeks later.  Roof leaks aren't the easiest to track.

A roofing specialist will usually consider a number of possibilities.  For example, damaged flashing, condensation from your HVAC system, and/or cracked shingles.

The sooner the leaks are solved, the less likely you'll need to replace your roof.  But, your roofing contractor has to identify the root cuase of the problem.

Sign #4: Damaged flashing.

Damaged Flashing

Flashing is the material installed in areas on a roof that are prone to leaks (roof valleys and around roof chimneys).  It's made of metal or galvanized steel.

Roof flashing plays an important role in keeping water from damaging your home.  When roof flashing is damaged, it creates a perfect funnel for water to accumulate and enter the roofing system and building.

Flashing deteriorates with time.  Daily exposure to the elements may cause roof flashing to bend, crack, or tear away.  When this happens, water damage is bound to occur.

Sign #5: You can see sunlight from your attic.

Attic

Inspecting the attic isn't on the to-do list of most landlords.  Signs of roof failure can often be detected from the attic.  When your roof is functioning properly, no light should be visible.

It's a sign of trouble if you can see sunlight coming through your attic.  It may indicate that some of the shingles are missing or broken.  Even a tiny crack on your roof can be detrimental.  Besides causing serious water damage, it can provide easy access for pests.

Sign #6: Curling or buckling shingles.

Curling Shingles

Are some of the roof shingles curled or buckled?  If so, have the issue examined by a professional roofing expert.  Buckling of asphalt shingles is usually caused by movement in the roof sheathing.

Curling shingles aren't a good sign for your roof either.  Over time, the cumulative effects of temperature changes, moisture, and sunlight can cause asphalt roofing shingles to curl or "cup".

Sign #7: Shingles are covered with moss and algae.

Roof Growth

Moss, algae, and plant growths on roofs are common in shady humid areas (where moisture is abundant).  Although it can look charming, these growths can be quite damaging to a roof system and result in costly repairs.  

Moss and root plants anchor themselves to roofing shingles dislodging shingle granules, fracturing shingles, and exposing edges while algae eats away at the protective granules found of roofing shingles causing this protective barrier to wash away and expose the roof system to damaging heat.

A qualified roofing expert can help identify and mitigate this problem.

 

There you have it.  Seven (7) signs that may indicate your rental property requires a roof replacement.  Fortunately, you can avoid most of these problems by regularly inspecting your rental property(ies).  

If you come across a problem with your roof, contact a roofing expert right away.

    

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