My shingle roof is 21 years old. However, it still looks good. My roof has aged well. Should I play it safe and just arbitrarily replace the roof based on time? Or, is it safe to hold off a few more years? I live in Massachusetts (NOT on the coast) and I've heard estimations for asphalt shingle roofs to be around 20-25 years.
Assuming a shingle roof. When to replace:
- It is leaking and can't be easily repaired.
- It looks bad. You don't like the looks, or the city is threatening to fine you for code violations.
- You want a better roof. Better hurricane resistance in my case.
- An unbiased expert says it should be replaced.
The climate affects the expected life--heat is hard on shingle roofs. Are you comparing the lifespan to other shingle roofs in your area? That is a better indication than opinions from people around the world.
I would suggest actively saving/setting aside money specifically to replace it, perhaps in 4 years if it appears to be in good shape now. 25 years is a pretty typical rated life, and your costs for replacement go up a great deal if small leaks you don't notice inside the house cause the roof decking to rot before you replace the roof.
As my long time (multiple home purchases and sells) realtor told me, if it's not leaking, why bother. My situation was a ~20 year old shingle roof over my attached garage, but a newer roof on the main house. It was great advice in my case, as a hailstorm came thru about a year later and I got an entirely free new shingle roof from my insurance company.
I am in Southern Ontario, Canada. Our weather is probably more severe than yours, so this may not apply to you. Anyway, we can't normally expect to get the "rated" life out of an asphalt shingle roof. A 25-year rated shingle will probably need replacing before it's 20 years old. The things to look for are missing shingles, broken shingles (bits missing from the corners/edges), curling, and also if granules have worn off (the granules protect the underlying asphalt from the Sun; once they are gone, UV from the Sun will begin to break down the asphalt). One risk you take with leaving it too long is the possibility of moisture damage to the roof decking. Long before you see drips in your attic, water could already be getting under the shingles and rotting out the roof decking, or possibly other roof structure. That can add to the eventual cost.