like any part of your house, such as the window frames or cladding, your roof has a limited life. This can vary a lot depending on the quality of your roof, but on average, it’s time to start looking for signs of age if your roof is more than 15 years old. So, how do you go about doing this?

First of all, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association, you should inspect your roof at least twice a year – for instance, in the spring and the fall. The best place to start is in your attic, so be prepared to dig out a flashlight and climb up a ladder to take a look. See if you can detect any signs of water damage or leaks, since these are often indicators that your roof is starting to deteriorate. Also, look for any dark spots or trails in your attic, since these can also show that your roof is letting through moisture. If your roof is seriously damaged, you may even see outside light coming in through the shingles. Finally, see if the roof deck is sagging anywhere, since this is a definite sign that your roof is in trouble.

Next, you need to check the exterior. Look for any obvious signs of damage, such as damaged, blistered or missing shingles, or buckling in the roof itself. If you live in a humid climate, such as Redmond, Washington, you should also look for any algae growth – this often appears as dark green stains. If you do see any signs of algae or any other problem, then it’s time to contact a local roofing contractor – for example, if you do live in Redmond, you can find a reputable Redmond roofing contractor using a site such as Angie’s List.

Often, a contractor will be able to make repairs to your roof rather than replacing it entirely – which, while only delaying the inevitable, is nonetheless a welcome relief. However, if your roof does have to be replaced, you will need to make a number of decisions. These include the type of roof that you install, as well as the lifetime of your new roof. For example, some new roofing systems can last for up to 50 years or more, but they are obviously more expensive than other shorter-lived options.

When it comes to choosing what type of roof you want, one very important thing to take into account is the climate. For example, if you live somewhere that is prone to brushfires, then installing asphalt or cedar shingles is not a good idea – slate or tile is much more fire resistant. On the other hand, if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, you may want to consider a metal roof, since these shed snow very easily. Also remember that some roofing materials are very heavy and, while they may look lovely, your house may not be strong enough to support all that extra weight.