When it comes to protecting the structure of your house, proactive roof inspections and maintenance should be high on your priority list. Nobody likes having to place drip buckets around the house every time it rains. This isn’t just extremely annoying, but it also indicates a larger issue that’s threatening the investment you and your family have made in your home.
Your roof will spend its entire working life outdoors, where it’s subject to a variety of weather conditions, pests, and the damage they can create as well as plain ol’ aging. There are no invincible roof shingles, although some seem to be pretty close. Sooner or later, you will have to make some repairs and replacements if you want your roof to keep doing the job it was designed to do. No matter if your roof is two years old or twenty, it helps to know the main causes of damage.
One of the most common reasons why you may be having trouble with your roof is that it’s simply past its prime. After years of exposure to the elements, your shingles will begin to lose their protective granules, which leads to further decay. They become entry points for water.
Check your roof regularly for curling and clawing shingles. This is a sign of an aging roof and damage from heat. The shingles will become rigid, can easily break, and they’re susceptible to wind uplift. Buckling shingles, which look like waved distortions running vertically up the roof slope, can also be easily torn off by the wind and are vulnerable to ice damage. The most common causes of buckling shingles are roof age and improperly installed underlayment, which brings us to our next point.
Many homeowners feel like they can take care of their roof repairs by themselves. They think it’s not that complicated, and they’re perfectly capable of climbing up there and hammering down some missing shingles or patching up a small leak.
One of the most common mistakes with DIY repairs is failing to properly fasten the shingles, which makes them more likely to fly off the roof even when the wind isn’t that strong. Another frequent one is not securing the gutters correctly, which causes them to sag so they can longer provide adequate drainage.
It’s very important to have professional roofers do a full inspection because you might be missing issues that will cause significant damage further down the line.
The Flashing Has Cracked
Flashing refers to the thin pieces of metal placed under the shingles and on the joints of the roof to keep water from seeping in. The flashing can be concealed or exposed. Exposed flashing looks like long runs of sheet metal, while concealed flashing will have a rubberized coating. To seal the flashing together, roofers will usually use tar, which can corrode with time causing cracks.
To fix cracked flashing, they will lift any shingles out of the way, pry up the nails that secure it, and remove that segment. After this, they will replace it with a new segment following the pattern of the previous one, fasten it with nails and apply roofing sealant to the nails heads.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Sun exposure, high humidity, heavy rain, snow, and ice can gradually damage your roof. Let’s take thunderstorms as a first example since they can happen almost anywhere. The wind and rain from a thunderstorm will have a one-two punch effect on your roof. The wind will damage and lift the shingles, letting the rain go through. The best defense, in this case, is to keep up with roof maintenance and to check for any damage after every storm.
In the winter months, we also have to deal with snow and ice. Make sure you clean your gutters of any leaves or twigs at the end of autumn, so the snow has somewhere to go and doesn’t just sit on your roof. Otherwise, it will start to melt, and water will seep under the shingles and leak into the house. You also want to watch out for ice dams that can weigh thousands of pounds and can damage or collapse your roof. Moreover, ice dams can slide down the roof and crash into anything below it, such as your car.
If you live in a coastal area, you may have to deal with hurricanes that can cause a lot of destruction to your roof. The strong wind can rip off the shingles, and the rainwater will make your home more vulnerable to leaks, mold, or rot.
Most roofs are designed to handle years of wear and tear, but it’s often these small pests that make their way inside, which cause the most damage. Especially during the winter months, they will look for shelter in warm places, so they’ll find or create weak spots in your roof.
Ants and termites can go pretty much anywhere they want. Termites will target moldy areas or rotting wood and start developing their colonies while they are slowly weakening the structure of your roof. Carpenter ants, much like termites, will damage the wood structure while fire ants are known to chew through your insulation and electrical wiring.
Critters like mice and rats will squeeze through any crevices that will allow them to get into your attic, and they’ll chew through the substances that hold the roof together, chew through the wood, through your plumbing and electrical wires. Those adorable little squirrels are excellent climbers and leapers with very strong claws and teeth that they’ll use to make holes through your shingles and then have their way with your vent pipes and cables.
We can’t finish this list without mentioning those pesky birds. Birds can cause extensive damage to virtually any type of roof. They have very acidic dropping that will deteriorate roofing materials, especially if they’re sealed with tar. In fact, the life expectancy of your roof can be cut in half just from these bird droppings.
And if that wasn’t enough, our feathered friends like to build their nests in gutters and drains, which clogs the drainage system causing water to seep under the roof and into the walls.