What are clear signs that an old roof needs replacing?

The roof of a property plays a vital part in protecting the building and contents underneath from the elements. Strong winds, rain and snow can all be detrimental to the fundamental structures of a property, with moisture and damp being easily able to deteriorate structural timber and masonry. Even in good weather, a roof gives valuable protection and shade from the sun – making it an essential facet of a property all year round.

The average roof should have a life span lasting a number of decades; however, this can vary depending on the environment and the materials used. Older and more traditional roofs have been made from materials like clay, slate and asphalt, and many of these are still very popular today. New builds often favour slate for its aesthetic value, but a number of alternatives are available that provide the protection needed. New technology has also made the process of installing new roofs much simpler, with innovations like the dry ridge system for hip roofs allowing for roofing to be installed without the need for sand and mortar. 

Those responsible for maintenance and repair of a building are often hesitant about making the investment in replacing an old roof, but what signs should you look out?


The main purpose of a roof is to exclude moisture from entering a property from above, so if this isn’t happening, then it’s really time to think about replacing an old roof. Check internal walls and ceilings, and loft spaces if you can access these. Moisture entering the building can be detrimental to structural robustness, so avoiding external moisture will protect the rest of the building from lasting damage.

Visible Light

A roof should completely block light from above (assuming you don’t have any sun tunnels or roof windows). If any rays of light are shining through your roof then this is a clear sign that the structural integrity has been damaged, and it needs replacing. If light is shining through then it is likely that water and moisture will follow.

Broken or Missing Tiles

Tiles form the first barrier of protection offered by a roof system, so if any of these tiles are missing or broken, this could be a sign that the roof is starting to deteriorate and needs replacing. Replacing or fixing individual tiles may extend the life of an existing roof, but you should always check the condition of the roof membrane or timber before simply replacing it.


Sometimes it’s better to be proactive before your roof starts to deteriorate completely and you are forced to replace it. A new roof can add kerb appeal and protect the foundations of a property for decades to come – so perhaps consider getting a roof replaced sooner rather than later.