A roof is one of the most important components of a home. It protects the interior from outside elements like rain, snow, wind, and sun. Yet, it is also one of the areas of your home that is most susceptible to damage. Especially if you’re located in an area that is prone to extreme weather, like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, having a sturdy and reliable roof is especially crucial. Pittsburgh gets an average snowfall of 28 inches per year [a]and is prone to ice dams in the winter. The freeze-thaw cycle can cause water to seep into small cracks and crevices, expanding when frozen and damaging the roof. Besides proper maintenance of the roof, many homeowners in the area also consider roof replacements and renovations frequently to combat weather damage.
Despite the area in which you live, your roof can still be damaged over time. The solution is to replace that aging or damaged roof to prevent further deterioration and safeguard the structural integrity of the home. There are many reasons to consider replacing your roof, even if leaks or other issues aren’t apparent yet.
Why Hire a Local Roofing Expert
However, first things first. When it’s time for a roof replacement, hiring a qualified local contractor is highly recommended. They will be familiar with local building codes, weather patterns, and methods and materials best suited for the area. For instance, a Pittsburgh roof replacement company will know techniques for ice dam prevention and be equipped to handle heavy snow loads. They can assess your roof and determine if a full replacement is needed or if spot repairs or reinforcements will suffice. A local contractor will also have established relationships with suppliers in the region.
7 Reasons to Replace Your Home’s Roof
1. Visible Damage or Deterioration
Missing, cracked, curled, or broken shingles are clear signs your roof needs replacement. Shingles that are brittle, cracked, or missing granules expose the vulnerable asphalt base to the elements. Deterioration like this will only get worse over time. Therefore, it’s important to catch it early before water seeps underneath and causes leaks or rotting of the roof deck and interior structural sheathing.
Keep an eye out for dark water stains on interior ceilings, especially after heavy rains or snow melts. These stains indicate leaks that can lead to mold growth. Also, the spongy or soft spots when walking on the roof likely mean wet rot has set in. Fixing a few damaged shingles here and there is only a short-term solution. Consider a full replacement for extensive shingle damage or deterioration across large sections of the roof.
2. Age of the Roof
The typical lifespan of asphalt shingles is 15-25 years. Shingles begin to lose integrity and weather resistance as they age. Older roofs are more vulnerable to damage from storms, falling branches, heavy snow loads, and temperature fluctuations. Once a roof nears or exceeds its expected lifespan, problems like leaks, ice dams, and mold growth become increasingly likely. Even if the roof looks fine visually, the underlayment, flashing, vents, and seals may be deteriorating. It’s smart to be proactive and replace an aging roof before emergencies occur. This will save money and prevent further deterioration of the home’s structure.
3. Changing a Roofline for Remodeling
Major renovations like adding a new room, dormer, or skylight involve altering the footprint of the home. This requires dismantling and reconfiguring portions of the existing roof. Rather than try to patch together the old roofing, it is better to replace the entire roof when making structural changes. This results in a cohesive, uniform appearance. It also allows the roof’s waterproofing system to be intact across the whole surface.
Make sure not to just blend old and new shingles, as this will lead to mismatches. Completely new roofing integrated with the remodeling project makes the transition seamless.
4. Improving Energy Efficiency
Replacing old roofing with new reflective shingles, metal roofing, or membrane roof types can greatly improve attic insulation. This enhances energy efficiency and reduces cooling costs in summer. New roofing also allows better ventilation of the attic space. This removes hot air and improves air circulation. Another option is installing radiant barrier sheathing beneath the new roof. This can reduce heat gain by up to 97%. For optimal energy savings, the roof replacement can be combined with added insulation in the attic. New efficient roofing is an effective way to improve temperature regulation and reduce energy bills.
5. Preventing Ice Dams and Water Infiltration
In cold climates, inadequate attic ventilation can lead to the formation of ice dams along the roof eaves. This occurs when snow on the roof begins to melt and run down to the overhangs, where it refreezes. The ice buildup prevents further melting snow from draining off the roof. This backs up under the shingles and can cause water damage to roof sheathing, insulation, rafters, and ceilings. Replacing old roofing allows improved attic ventilation to be installed. It removes hot air and prevents the temperature differential that leads to ice dams. Eave protection membranes, along with proper shingle layering, provide further protection. The improved ventilation and roofing system prevents the infiltration of water that could compromise structural integrity.
6. Avoiding Mold and Mildew Growth
Poor ventilation, blocked gutters, and moisture infiltration can create dark, damp conditions in an attic. This encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and algae on roof sheathing and shingles. Spores from mold can also circulate into living areas and impact indoor air quality. A complete roof replacement allows the source of moisture to be addressed. Improved attic ventilation keeps the space dry. New roofing, flashing, and rain gutters provide better drainage and waterproofing. Leaks are eliminated so moisture no longer seeps in. With the damp conditions corrected, the roof stays mold-free. Fewer spores circulate, so indoor air stays cleaner.
7. Protecting Your Assets
Your roof is the first line of defense protecting your home from rain, snow, wind, and other elements. An aging, damaged roof allows the conditions inside the attic space to deteriorate. Leaks can damage insulation, electrical wiring, and wood framing. Moisture dripping down into the living space ruins drywall, flooring, and furnishings. The structural integrity of the home is threatened as well. Waiting too long for roof replacement risks thousands in repairs from water damage, mold remediation, and structural repairs. It’s smart to be proactive and invest in a new roof before the old one fails. This safeguards your assets and prevents much larger restoration expenses down the road.
Your roof endures a lot of abuse from the elements. When it starts to show signs of wear, has reached its lifespan, or no longer protects your home properly, replacement should be considered. For Pittsburgh homeowners especially, the frequent freeze-thaw cycles, ice dams, and heavy snow loads really take a toll on roofing. Working with a qualified local contractor for roof replacement ensures your new roof is tailored to withstand your region’s climate. They will help you select the best materials and installation methods to extend the life of your roof and keep your home safe from the elements.