Your roof is your home’s most important defense against mother nature, and any damage can quickly turn into a disaster. Many factors can contribute to roof damage, and it’s important to deal with all roofing issues as soon as possible to prevent further harm to your home. To spot problems early, look out for these threats to your roof’s integrity.Wind
Strong winds can lift up edges of shingles and sometimes blow them off the roof, leaving exposed areas. Inspecting your roof and yard after a storm is a good practice. Keep an eye out for any shingles or pieces of shingles that may be lying around your property. Look for missing, curling, or damaged shingles from the ground. Most damage can be identified without climbing onto your roof, which you should always avoid after a storm. If you notice any of these signs, have a professional come out to do a thorough inspection of your roof and make any necessary repairs.
Damage from trees can occur in a few different ways. Most notably, limbs can be broken or weighed down due to strong winds, heavy snow, or ice until they become too heavy and snap. Sometimes, branches break because a tree is sick with disease. To prevent damage, trim back trees that have large branches that hang over the top of, or very near, your house. Trees can also transfer algae or moss to the top of your roof, which can cause moisture problems if not promptly addressed.
Branches, twigs, pine needles, and leaves tend to accumulate on rooftops and in gutters. Left to accumulate, fallen debris can cause problems for your roof. Buildup in the gutters can lead to water damage and ice dams in winter. When debris piles up, the area underneath remains moist, which is never good for your home. This moisture can cause shingles to deteriorate and components of your roofing structure to rot.
Malfunctioning Gutters & Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts catch rainwater that flows down the roof and channel it onto the ground, away from the home. When they aren’t functioning properly, the water can no longer flow freely to its destination. This can damage the gutters and allow water to pool and seep into the roof, where it can cause rot and other serious problems.
A pest infestation can be dangerous for your roof. Birds, squirrels, mice, bats, and raccoons can all cause serious roofing issues. Woodpeckers, for instance, often search for insects to eat by poking into shingles. Raccoons may damage vent covers and shingles by lifting and pulling them off the roof. Bats can cause all kinds of problems, particularly if they make their way into your attic. They can chew into walls and damage insulation and wiring. They also let off strong odors over time as well as transmit diseases. You can perform a quick inspection of your attic to check for signs of pests or holes that might allow them in.
Hail damage can often be difficult to diagnose on a roof. It can be hard to spot until it worsens and begins to cause major problems for your roofing system. Hail sometimes produces large, clearly visible punctures, while other times it creates only small, hairline cracks that are very difficult to detect. In roofs with asphalt shingles, small cracks in the roof's surface will allow water to flow into the roofing system and knock out granules from shingles, gradually deterioration over time. Hail can also damage the coating on shingles, leaving bare spots that expose the roof to the elements of nature. Ultimately, if no action is taken to repair areas that are vulnerable to UV rays and moisture, this will shorten a roof’s lifespan. If your roof has endured a hail-producing storm, it may be wise to call in a professional roofing contractor to carefully inspect your roof for damage.
Ice and Snow
In and around Iowa, snow and ice present yearly challenges for our roofs. When they build up on a roof, they can cause significant damage. Sometimes, the weight of the buildup compromises the roof’s structure; however, the worst issues usually occur after freezing, melting, and refreezing. When ice melts, water can seep into areas of the roof. When it refreezes, the water expands, often leading to water intrusion and leakage into the home.
Scorching summer sun can also harm a roofing system, particularly in places where the roof is already vulnerable. Exposed areas, such as places where shingles have fallen off, are where the sun can cause the most harm. On older roofs, the sun can crack or dry out shingles. When a roof starts to show signs of aging, installing a new roofing system can help ensure your shingles are up to the task of keeping your home dry, protected, and comfortable.
The flashing around structures or projections that intersect with the roof, such as chimneys, vents, or skylights, is meant to seal and protect jointed areas from water penetration. If flashing is dried up or damaged, water can seep into the roof and through the ceilings of your home. In general, good flashing should be able to sustain these areas of a roof and hold up against rain and ice, but as a roof ages and begins to deteriorate, so does its flashing.
Moisture is at the root of most roof damage. This means that when other problems arise, it is very important to address them as soon as possible to prevent the serious issues that are sure to follow when vulnerable areas of the roof are exposed to water.
If your roof requires immediate attention, contact a professional as soon as possible to repair your roof and prevent further damage. Your safety is the top priority; roof repairs should not be attempted without a professional. For more roofing tips, subscribe to our blog!