When Should You Replace the Roof on a Rental Property?

The roof is a very functional part and one of the essential structures in a house. That is because it performs the following functions:

  • It protects the house against environmental hazards such as wind, rain, and snow.
  • It sustains the structural integrity of the house.
  • It provides thermal insulation to the property.
  • As an envelope of the building, it also performs energy-saving functions.

Thus, landlords often wonder when is the right time to replace the roof on a rental property. Several factors determine how soon you will replace your roof. These are:

The lifespan of the roofing material

The roof can last between fifteen to one hundred years, depending on the material. Asphalt roofs last between 15 – 30 years, wood roofs last over 30 years, clay roofs last over 50 years, metallic roof last over 700 years, and slate tile roofs last more than a hundred years.

Quality of installation

The quality of roof installation determines how long it will last. Low-quality roof installation cannot withstand environmental elements like snow, rain, wind, and extremes of temperature. Having a poor roof installation will make the roof fail, and you will need a replacement soon.

Roof maintenance

Roof maintenance is an essential factor that will decide when you should replace the roof of your rental property. Performing regular maintenance on the roof will lengthen its lifespan. Inspect your roof regularly because the signs of roof damage will only appear on the interior when the problem is at an advanced stage.

If you pay attention to your roof and perform repairs early, small problems will not escalate. However, poor roof maintenance will make you replace your roof sooner. Neglecting your roof will cause it to deteriorate to the extent that it may no longer be habitable for tenants, warns Bighorn Property Management.

Below are some signs that you should replace the roof on your rental property.

1.     Bowing or sagging of the roof

When roofs sag, they take the shape of a saddle. If it is very severe, it can be visible on the inside. Roofs sag for three reasons:

  • When the attic deck has given way.
  • When the roof gives way due to pressure from the roofing materials, wind, or snow.
  • When the house foundation fails.

A sagging roof requires extensive repairs on the underlying structures and the roof itself. We advise that you replace a sagging roof immediately because it gets worse every day.

2.     Reoccurring or persistent roof leaks

A leaky roof is not a sign that it needs a replacement. However, persistent roof leaks after several repairs signify that you should consider a roof replacement. If you face persistent roof leaks on your rental property, you should invite professionals to inspect it.

They will check for water pooling on the roof’s surface, stains under the roof, stains on the wall, and other signs of water intrusion. These will help you to ascertain the cause and extent of the roof damage. Upon completing the assessment, you will know if your roof will require a total replacement, partial replacement, or simple leak repairs.

3.     Buckling or curling shingles

Since the roof protects the building from extremes of temperature, it directly receives the impact. Roof shingles may buckle or curl following the impact of heat and wind. Buckling or curling shingles exposes the property to water damage.

Often, all the shingles may not buckle at the same time. In that case, you only replace the bad ones. However, when many shingles buckle or curl simultaneously, it is an indication of roof failure and requires a complete roof replacement. Replacing only the affected shingles will not be beneficial here.

4.     Damaged flashing

The roof has water-resistant materials around the valleys and the roof joints to prevent water from penetrating vulnerable areas. These water-resistant materials are called flashing. Roof flashing helps to protect the roof, and its internal structures from water damage.

Over time, the flashing gets weak, damaged, peels off, and leaves gaps on the roof. Damaged flashing translates to roof failure, especially when it occurs around the vents, chimneys, and skylights. It causes quick deterioration of the internal structures of the roof and requires urgent roof replacement.

5.     Growths on the roof

Moss, algae, and mildew may grow on the roof. These growth causes and signifies roof damages. Algae eat up the shingles and decays them, moss helps moisture to accumulate on the roof surface, and mildew indicates ongoing water damage. When moss, algae, or mildew appears on the roof of your rental property, it means there is extensive water damage to the roof, and it requires roof replacement.

The bottom line

If you are thinking about when to replace the roof on your rental property, you should take note of the lifespan of your roofing material’s and check for the signs that your roof will need a replacement. Please do not wait until your roofing material exceeds their lifespan before you start planning for it. Instead, replace your roof towards the end of its lifespan or when there are signs for a replacement.