There are certain aspects of your home that can last for a very long time, but nothing lasts forever. For example, your roof can last for several decades if given the right amount of care and maintenance, but it'll have to be replaced at some point. Here are a few warning signs to look for so you know when to replace your roof.

1. Your Roof Keeps Leaking
Roof leaks can be a sign of bad plumbing or even bad installation. But leaks are often a sign that your current roof could use a little TLC, especially if you're dealing with multiple leaks on a constant basis. A typical roof leak may start with a sudden water stain on your wall or ceiling only to become a steady drip during rains. Rainwater may also find its way into your light fixtures, saturate ceiling tiles until they sag, or cause wooden beams to swell and eventually deteriorate.

2. You Find Loose Shingle Granules in Your Gutters
Asphalt shingles are usually covered in small mineral granules. Not only does this coating provide the shingle's color and texture but it also offers a protective cover against ultraviolet (UV) light and the damaging effects it can have on shingles. As long as the granules remain in place, your shingles will be protected against sunlight and weather-driven deterioration.

If you find tiny pieces of grit in your gutters, you may be dealing with shingle granule loss. Your roof's shingles can lose their granules in the following ways:
  • Extreme heat can soften and dry out asphalt shingles, causing them to become brittle once they've cooled down. This change in structure can cause a significant loss of shingle granules over time.

  • High winds can also rip granules away from their shingles, resulting in bald patches that are more vulnerable to UV exposure.

  • Rainfall can cause granules to erode, and the constant water exposure can also sweep granules off their shingles and into the gutters.
If your roof loses enough granules, it becomes more vulnerable to weather- and sunlight-related damage. When dealing with heavy granule erosion, it's usually best to replace all of the asphalt shingles on your roof.

3. Your Shingles or Tiles Fall Apart or Fall Off

Not only can you lose shingle granules due to bad weather or old age but you could also lose entire shingles and tiles. Shingles can crumble apart as they dry out and lose their elasticity with age, while clay tiles can chip and break apart due to impacts with heavy tree branches, hail, or even accidental damage caused by careless inspectors. Missing shingles can easily lead to water leaks and other roof damage.

4. Your Utility Bills Go Up

Feel the need to turn up the heat or double down on your air conditioning? Your aging roof could be to blame. Once a roof develops one or more leaks, it can allow unwanted air to infiltrate your home's indoor spaces.

This influx of air can cause an imbalance in your home's ventilation, which can drastically affect your HVAC system's ability to keep your home comfortable. Your HVAC system will also use more energy, which in turn costs you more money in utility charges.

5. Your Roof Buckles or Sags Under Its Own Weight

A sagging roof line is another surefire sign that your home needs a new roof. Deteriorating rafters caused by termites or water damage, poor rafter tie placement or other roof framing issues can cause a roof to sag under its own weight. Years of heavy snow and ice accumulation can also contribute to a weak roof and a sagging roof line.

6. You Can See Rust on Metal Roof Panels

A metal roof won't deteriorate the same way a typical asphalt or tile roof will, but it does have one potentially devastating Achilles' heel: rust. Although galvanized steel roof panels have plenty of protection against rust, that protection can fade over time. If left to its own devices, surface rust can easily lead to cracks or holes in the panels.

If you see any signs of extensive damage, you're usually better off replacing the roof entirely rather than patching up the damage.