replace shingles

The spring is a great time to give your house an inspection and get up on the roof and see if you need to replace shingles this year.

This can be an expensive job, but only if you wait too long. Many people will wait until they have a leak in their house before they will get the roof inspected. If you take a pro-active approach, and check your roof once a year, then you will be able to see problems before they arise in your living room!

But how do you know when to replace shingles? Here is a quick guide to go by, if you cannot physically get up on the roof yourself, then it would be worth the money to have a reputable roofer check out your roof for you. They could at least give you an idea of how much time your roof has left, so you can budget the expense.

Broken Shingles and Missing Shingles

This is a pretty obvious problem. If you get up on the roof, or if you have a bungalow and can see your roof from across the street, see if you can notice shingles missing. If you have a dark colored roof, this should be pretty obvious from a distance, as it will look like a puzzle with a piece missing!

You need to replace broken and missing shingles right away, otherwise the plywood roof sheathing is left exposed and you are asking for trouble as water will get in, and the other shingles will begin to lift as the water gets underneath.

They may have gone missing in that last big storm, or debris hit the roof and pulled them off, but it may also be because they are old and brittle, which is a good sign you may need to replace shingles on the entire roof. But if it was just debris and the roof is otherwise in good shape, then you need to get up there yourself, or hire someone to replace the missing shingles.

Losing Grit

If you get a good look at a shingle before it is installed, or in the hardware store, you will see that the rough grit actually sticks to the shingle. If you get up on the roof and there is grit coming off the shingles, then they are aging, and will now become slippery when you are up there, so be careful. If you see the grit is coming away then you should consider replacing your shingles.


If you put some pressure on the shingle does it break? Are they becoming brittle? Then replace shingles now, as it will not be long before they will no longer do their job of protecting your roof.


Does your roof look like it is doing the wave? Then you need to get a qualified roofer in there right away, as your shingles are warping, but you could also be getting warps in the plywood sheathing and some of it may need replacing.


When was the last time the shingles were replaced? Depending on where you live, you may need to be looking at replacement shingles around the 15 - 18 year mark.

Where I live in Central Ontario, Canada, it was always a standing joke, that we would install 25 year shingles and you get 18 years out of them, or 30 year shingles to get 23 years out of them. We wondered why they just don't call them 18 and 23 year shingles. But this is because we can have some pretty harsh winters and some pretty intense heat in the summer here.

Those years are just a guide. Personally I have not found much difference between the 25 and 30 year shingle. They seemed to show signs of replacing around the 18 year mark. But that is my own opinion of where I live. We have done some renovations before on a house that had 30 year shingles, and they needed replacing at 18. So I would save the money and go for the 25 year shingle.


Some people will get a second layer of shingles over the first to save money. This is not really a money saving tactic. If the first layer was not in the best of shape, then your new shingles will wear quicker as they are depending on that first layer for support. If you replace shingles before they get too bad, it is not that expensive to have them taken off and replaced. This way the roofer can inspect the plywood roof for rot, damp, mould or problems. Just adding another layer does not help any of this.

Replace shingles before their last year of life. If you sees signs now that they are wearing, don't wait another winter and then do it. If it is spring time, you could maybe budget for the roof late summer early fall, but if you have problems in the winter it will cost you big time to get a roof repair done.

We are about to replace shingles on our semi-detached rental house, and the neighbor is going to do it with us (since we are one big roof together) and although we may have got a couple more years out of this roof, (it was done 17 years ago) we decided to get it done now as it was showing signs of cracking shingles. It will cost us $1800 dollars each for our share of the new shingles. The qualified roofer that we both know, inspected the two story house and said the plywood was in good shape, he even looked in the attic for signs of problems, there were none. So, we are being pro-active.

I personally think this is a great price. This all depends on your area and type of shingles, these are the standard 25 year asphalt shingles that are being installed.

But what gets me, is that for this cost I should have a worry free roof for the next 18 years or so, and yet friends of mine will think nothing of spending $4500 dollars on a bathroom renovation, when their roof could fall in any minute!

Yes, a roof is not exciting to spend money on, but at the end of the day, if your structure is not sound, then what is the point of having a soaker tub and a ultramodern bathroom if the bones of the house are brittle! Plus the money you spend to replace shingles, is not that much if you put the cost per year. Based on the quote I received of $1800.00, that is a cost of $100.00 per year! I think this is one of the cheapest investments in your house.

Plus this is just as much a selling feature as your new soaker tub. The first question out of your insurance company will be "when was the roof done" your insurance rate may go up if your needs doing, as they are expecting problems.

A neighbor down the street from this house, was laughing that we were getting shingles replaced when they were not folding up or caving in! Her mouth dropped when she heard I was spending 1800 dollars on my roof, she thought this was such a waste. She spent over $20,000.00 dollars on a kitchen renovation only to have the back park of the roof cave into her attic and then her kitchen after a heavy snowfall last winter. Turns out the plywood had been rotting for so many years from bad shingles, that the wood collapsed under the weight of the snow.

Now she has to redo her kitchen again!

So replace shingles now before they fall off, or your roof caves in. Consider it a good investment into the bones of your house.