Roofing Tips for Realtors: 5 Signs That It’s Might Be Time for a New Roof

By Brian LePire

Brian LePire Alpha Roofing
Brian Lepire and his grandson Tyson.

As a realtor, you know that the condition of a roof can make or break your sale.  Knowing what’s going on with the roof ahead of time can help you to avoid those roof surprises and turn you into a real estate superhero for your client.

Here are a few tips from Brian LePire, co-owner of Boise roofing contractor Alpha Roofing & Construction, on how to tell if it’s time for a new roof.

  1. The roof is 20 years old or more. 

Most roofs have been sold with what’s been called 30-year shingles.  In our professional experience, many of the roofs with 30-year shingles are nearing the end of their lifecycles after just 20 years.

There are various reasons for the shortened lifespan. Sometimes it’s because there wasn’t proper ventilation in the roof, sometimes it’s because the roof hasn’t been taken care of, and sometimes it’s because the roof was exposed to extreme weather conditions such as brutal sun, wind storms, hail or ice, or excessive snow.  Age alone isn’t the only indicator that the roof needs replaced.  You will see other signs such as extreme granule loss, cracked shingles and more.  Read on to find out other indicators that it’s time for a new roof.

  1. The shingles are balding or have dark spots where the granules have fallen off.

Shingles are covered with ceramic granules which protect the roof from UV rays, reflect the sunlight, and increase the shingle’s fire resistance.  Sometimes you will notice a bunch of shingle granules on the ground or in the gutters.

Granules can fall off due to wind, rain, hail or snow. They also wear out with age as the bond between the granules and shingles deteriorates over time.  Once the shingles have lost granules they are no longer protecting your roof and are allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate the shingles which will eventually crack, curl, or otherwise deteriorate.  Any area where the shingles are bald is a potential for water intrusion and leakage.

  1. The roof is leaking, has water damage, or there is mold.

Unfortunately, if the roof is leaking that means there is an area of the roof that has been compromised.  If the leaking roof is less than 10 -15 years old, a repair might take care of things. But if the roof is 15 years or older, it’s most likely in need of replacement.

In addition, there might not be any outward signs of water intrusion, but if you look inside the attic and you see moldy trusses, decking, or any kind of water damage, then it might be time to get a new roof. A professional roofing company can perform a roof inspection and let you know what your options are.

  1. The shingles are slipping or sliding off the roof.

Sometimes we got out to inspect roofs and the shingles are just sliding off the side of the house. Unfortunately, a lot of times this is due to improper installation.  Depending on the age of the roof and the amount of shingles sliding off, it might be possible to just repair the areas of concern. But if there are any other issues or if the sliding is wide spread, then it’s probably time for a new roof.

  1. The roof is made from wood shakes and is over 20 years old.

Here’s the scoop on wood shake roofs; they were meant to be periodically treated and maintained to maintain their fire resistance.  Unfortunately, many homeowners have neglected taking care of their wood shake roofs.

You can tell when a wood shake roof is at the end of its lifecycle.  The shakes are dry, curling and cracked. The edges of the wood shakes might be frayed or rotted.  The shakes might be covered in algae or moss. In addition, if there are areas where the underlying dry sheet is exposed, that’s an indicator that the roof has about had it.

Here’s a tip for you about wood shake roofs:  Most insurance companies will “rate” a homeowner’s insurance policy if they have a shake roof or an older roof. So, when you replace that old shake roof, call your insurance company and let them know. Most likely they will reduce the rate on your coverage. Ask your agent for their policy on shake roofs.

  1. The roof has more than two layers.

You want to save your client money on a new roof, so you suggest that it just be overlaid with new shingles instead of torn off.  Here’s what you need to know.

In Boise, it is against building code to have more than two layers on a roof. In addition, it’s just bad roofing practice. The problem with overlaying a roof is that you can’t see what’s going on with the decking underneath the shingles.  If there are any areas of water intrusion or mold, adding another layer on top of that will create a living, growing petri dish where the mold or water damage can exponentially increase because of the heat that is created by the layers.

There are also criteria that a roof must meet before it can be covered over with shingles instead of being torn off.  The shingles must be 3-tab shingles, not architectural because the shingles will not lay flat on architectural shingles.

Also, if the shingles on the first layer are wavy or curled, the roof would not be a good candidate for an overlay.

If you need a professional roof inspection, roof certification or roof replacement estimate, just give us a call at Alpha Roofing.  We cover the entire Treasure Valley including Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Middleton, Nampa, Caldwell, Emmett and more.  We will send an experienced roofer out to inspect your roof for repair or replacement and give you an honest evaluation.   Give us a call at 208-327-7663 or contact us at  We provide free repair or replacement estimates.


About Brian LePire

Brian has been in the roofing industry for more than 30 years. He has worked for suppliers, manufacturer’s and installation companies and is known as a roofing expert in Boise, Idaho. Brian is also a partner in Alpha Roofing, a Boise, Idaho, roofing company that has been providing roof replacement and repair for close to 15 years.