Can you tell if you need a new roof by looking at the attic?


Hi everyone, I’m new here and so thankful I found this forum.

We are first time homeowners and bought our house as a short sale. We had a guy look at the roof when we moved in in August of 2015 and he said a few patches should be made which we paid him to do. This morning it was raining and I hear dripping on the ceiling right under our the peak of our hipped roof (where he repaired) so I peeked into the attic to investigate and noticed some darker areas on the decking and what looked to be a little bit of mold on the underside of the decking but nothing appeared wet or rotting (not that we want to wait until that point). I guess my questions are can anyone tell me anything about the condition of our roofing by looking at the pics of our attic? How to we decipher old vs new damage? Also we got a bid for $8.5k to redo our roof with out them even going up there. They just surveyed our roof area and calculated the price to redo everything. We were told it would be 2x more expensive to do metal which I found excessive. Bonus points if someone can tell me why there are fans up there :slight_smile:️ Thank you in advance!



To really know if you need a new roof you have to inspect it from the outside, on the roof. If you have water running into the attic, you have a leak (duh!). Looking at your sheathing, you must have an older house which makes me think the home may have several roofs on it. Darkness on the sheathing could mean a leak and mold, but it could also mean you have some moisture drive from inside your house that condensates on the sheathing. If you have roof vents, they were installed to help stop the moisture or condensation by allowing moist air to flow out of the attic.
Depending upon what kind of shingles they were quoting, metal could easily be twice as expensive or more. I’m guessing that they did a satellite survey of the roof before they gave you a quote.


Yes! Roof immediately!
It is leaking all over the place😥.

The reason you dont see it pouring in is because
You have tounge and groove decking.
Very fortunate!
If not, it would be pouring in everywhere.

Make sure price of roof includes ALL underlayment removed.
Because There is a lot of wood to replace.
I would try to get the woodwork included in price too
And if i could i would watch them like a hawk.

Where there is 8x4 whole areas to be replaced,
I would do it with some 3/4 sheeting or even some
Thick grade 5/8.
It would be cheaper that replacing that tounge and groove foot for foot.


I think those black stains are more likely caused by condensation rather than needing your full roof replaced. Most likely causes of condensation are poor ventilation or a bathroom or kitchen vent leaking moisture up into your attic. Your whole roof may need replaced but would have to see pics from the outside to offer my opinion.


I’m with DonL on this one. Ask a roofer to come out and look it over.


No. Just no. Why be so alarmist when none of us has seen the outside?


Because i can identify what im looking at.
When all the roofing gets removed
(Including the underlayment)
The decking from the top side will look horrible.
At least that bottom 10 feet.

Tongue and groove decking hides leaks from the interior for a long time.
That roof has been leaking for many years.
I’m betting you can smell it also!


Top side of that decking will look fine. The mold is from high humidity in the attic.


When standard 1x6 decking leaks,
It stays isolated to that one 1x6 and maybe the one below it.
When tounge and groove leaks
It ruins all the 1x6 below it.


Chances are by the time water stained that much decking…its damaged. Have a roofer inspect the condition of your roof. Do you know its age?


When we bought the house in 2015 the building inspection said the roof was approximately 20 years old. One of the bathrooms doesn’t have a vent but we do crack the window, I’m not sure of the condition of the other ventilation system as that bathroom is currently gutted. We can’t find any way to turn on the fan system in the attic in the summer. Do we call an electrician to chase wire? There is no significant odor in the attic. I had a roofer out and he just wanted to lay right on top of the current shingles because we only have one layer. I will say the insulation in the floor is minimal to none in most spots. What else can we do to help the high humidity in the attic? We installed all new ventilated soffit this past summer. The house only had plywood soffit with aluminum vents every 10’ or so.


Blow in insulation will help. If your roof is 20 yrs old it is likely a 25 yr or less shingle. Due to the decking I definitely would strip it to the decking and see condition. From there you can address all issues.


Thank you so much for your help! Do you think a ridge vent would help us any?


In conjunction with soffit/intake vents, ridge vents are the most critical part of minimizing attic moisture. I know Certainteed certified roofers can help you with making sure your ventilation is adequate. Talk to a insulation company about properly preventing the warm air in your home from escaping to your attic. Remember…warm air is generally moist air​:shower::shower::shower:


If you already have box vents, there isn’t any real advantage to ridge. Assuming you have enough of them.


Whatever form of “ridge vent” is best to utilize. “A” ridge" venting and soffit/intake are critical and “required” for shingle warranties.