Roofs are one of the most important structures on any home. Yet as strong and solid as a good roof is, there are many ways for it to be damaged, requiring a roof repair. Homeowners looking to provide the best maintenance to their roofs should be aware of the most common types of damage to look for, and schedule repairs at the first sign of trouble. The following list can be used when checking roofs for damage, and understanding when it's time to call for a professional roof repair.
Wind and Hail Damage
Storms that bring heavy winds and hail can be very damaging to roofs. Wind can find any areas of weakness where shingles or roof panels are not properly attached, and lift them up, peeling them up and off the roof. Hail hitting the roof will cause the protective granules to come off shingles, and dent both shingled and metal roofs, leaving widespread damage. Hail damage shortens the life of roofing material, making roof replacement necessary much sooner.
Flashing is a very important part of a roof, protecting the corners, angles, and valleys from moisture. It is common for flashing to loosen or come off after a while; and when it does, a homeowner should quickly call experienced roofers to make repairs to prevent water damage in those areas. Flashing that is not replaced leaves the roof open to leaks, and much more substantial damage once the underlayment and decking under those seams becomes wet.
Trees and Other Debris
Homes with nearby trees not only end up with a lot of sticks and leaves on the roof and in the gutters, but they are more susceptible to serious damage caused by heavier branches. A thick enough branch blown by heavy wind could penetrate the roof, creating an immediate need for roof repairs. Larger limbs, and even entire trees can fall on a house, severely damaging roofs. This is also a common problem with other debris that becomes airborne during storms when there are high winds.
Damaged or Malfunctioning Gutters
When gutters are damaged so they do not divert water away the roof and foundation, or they are clogged and water backs up, roof damage occurs. Roof edges become submerged and water can soak into the underlayment and decking. In the winter, clogged gutters may cause ice damming, which can lift shingles off the roof, allowing moisture to penetrate. For these reasons, it is essential that homeowners pay attention to their gutters, keep them clean, and have them repaired if they are damaged.
Bird, Rodent and Animal Damage
Small animals and birds love roofs. Whether they are nesting, burrowing, or even tapping for mates the way woodpeckers do, critters of all sorts can cause significant damage to roofs, usually without the homeowners even realizing it. It is important to frequently check roofs for signs of holes, pecking damage, and other evidence that animals or birds have made a home under the roof, in the soffit or fascia, or have gained access to the interior of the roof or caused some other kind of damage.
Ice and Snow Damage
Besides ice damming due to gutter problems, snow and ice buildup can cause damming in other ways, as well. Poorly ventilated attics can cause snow to melt and create layers of ice, increasing the chance that water will get under the shingles and re-freeze, pushing the shingles upward. Also, heavy or repeated snowfall can weigh roofs down, causing structural damage that requires immediate roof repair or more serious damage could result.
To keep roofs in their best condition, homeowners should provide essential maintenance based on the type of roof they have, and watch for any potential damage. The things referenced above are some of the most common type of damages that occur to roofs, and something observant homeowners should carefully watch for to avoid more expensive roof repairs down the road!