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What Really Happens If You Don’t Replace Your Roof?


Many homeowners make the mistake of putting off a roof replacement until it is absolutely necessary. It’s somewhat understandable giving the perception that a new roof renovation is a project that some homeowners approach as a convenience.  Plus a new roof represents a rather sizeable investment and it’s not necessarily a project you can physically enjoy like building a deck for a new hot tub or renovating your basement into a media room.

Roofers in Greenville SC say that they have to constantly reiterate into their customer’s brains is that a roof replacement is not something that should be put off. When you delay what is essentially an inevitable, you at the bare minimum risk water damage to your home. On the extreme side of things, failure to replace a roof can lead to the entire structure to collapse risking severe damage to your belongings and putting your family in danger.

Why You Should Repair or Replace Your Roof at the First Signs of Trouble

There are times when leaks or missing shingles occur as an uncontrollable independent act. A tree branch falling for example or satellite dish service techs causing damage are separate issues that can be fixed with minimal risk of future damage.

However, a majority of the time when you notice water damage in your home, it’s because the entire roofing system is starting to fail – or at least on a complete side of the house. The whole surface of your roof gets abused daily by some combination of wind, rain, ice, sea salt, and exposure to the sun. No matter if you have asphalt shingles, ceramic tile, cedar shakes, or any other type of roofing material installed, you must remember that these materials have finite life spans.

Roofing damages can occur in both the short term as well as over long periods of time. Some examples of issues that can arise in an instant include:

Water Leaks

It’s unfortunate but if there is a leak in your roof, the water will find a way to the hole. Leaks occur most often when roofing materials start to lose their protective barrier such as shingle granules wearing off or tiles getting cracked. The reason you need to repair leaks immediately is because they 1) do not repair themselves and 2) only get worse. Leaks might also occur around flashing near a chimney or when water gets behind fascia.


The bad thing about water leaks is that they’re not always quick to identify. By the time you notice a water spot on your bedroom ceiling the moisture has already exposed itself to insulation, wood, wiring, and more. All of these wet items are prone to grow mold which is going to affect your indoor air quality and cause eye itchiness and overall sinus irritation. You can’t just ‘clean’ mold either. All the components that grew mold will need to be removed and replaced which can get costly – plus you still have to fix the leak!


Rise In Utility Bills

Remember that a leak in the roof is harmful not only because of what gets in – it’s also important to repair ASAP because of what gets out. Specifically, the heated or cooled air from your HVAC system will escape through gaps in the roof. This is especially noticeable if running a furnace because hot air rises and exits, creating drafts. Regardless of the season, leaks in a roof cause your HVAC system to cycle more frequently which not only drives up utility bills, but also causes your air conditioner or furnace to malfunction sooner. Once again, forcing you to make unnecessary costly repairs to the HVAC – while roof repairs are still needed!

Long Term Dangers of Failing to Replace Your Roof

You might think that a roof collapsing because of leaks that were allowed to fester over time is an over exaggeration.  The truth of the matter is that when leaks force  water past the surface roofing material, it causes the plywood sheathing underneath to lose strength. Eventually this will cause dips in the roof. When a roof has dips, water collects in those low spots instead of raining down into the gutter as intended.


When water collects in low spots (dips) in your roof, it causes a constant leak. That dip just keeps getting lower and lower, making the wood sheathing below that much more rotted and vulnerable. Eventually the weight of the pooling water is going to be too heavy for the roof to support and something has to eventually give. Now you’ve not only got to replace the roof, you need to re-sheet it and possibly fix rotted roof trusses. This doesn’t even take into account all the water damage that occurred to your home’s interior as the stagnant water flooded onto the ceiling, walls, floor, furniture, etc.

If the threat of a roof collapse doesn’t intimidate you – how about bats? Mice and bats can squeeze into your home through roof holes as small as a ¼ of an inch. The longer you go without repairing these holes, the bigger they get. Soon you’ve got an animal lounge in your attic that includes birds, squirrels, possum, raccoons, and more. Some homeowners can deal with maybe their roof collapsing – but when you start talking about mice and bats cohabiting with you, now that’s a deal breaker.


Roof Replacement Summary

It’s understandable if budget concerns are the reason why you may have been putting off necessary roofing renovations over the years. An important thing to remember though is that the costs to fix are never going to be as low as they are right now. The longer you wait to let roofing issues expand, the more damage that needs to be fixed some day. Eventually you’re not just replacing the roof anymore either – you’re paying to get moldy insulation replaced or dishing out money to have your overworked HVAC system repaired.

Of course you can stay on top of these potential roofing issues with consistent annual inspection and maintenance. Getting your roof, chimney flashing, gutters, fascia, etc. inspected and maintained by a professional on an annual basis is the best way to catch problems when they’re instances – and not catastrophes. If you do eventually have to get your roof repaired, you get to do it on your terms and not in an emergency situation.

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