“Out of sight, out of mind” is a popular saying that has been around for ages. Those who apply it to home maintenance, however, are asking for trouble. Just because you can’t see the top of your house without using a ladder doesn’t mean there isn’t something happening that could be causing a major roof problem.
Although your roof is hard to view and even harder to monitor regularly, it is essential to a happy, healthy (and dry) home. Homeowners who don’t take precautions against potential issues are quite often unpleasantly surprised by frustrating and expensive roofing problems. Here are 4 common roof dilemmas coupled with cost-effective ways to prevent them from affecting your family and wallet.
1. Lack of General Maintenance: One of the main elements causing roof damage is a lack of regular attention. It is suggested that homeowners have their roof inspected even when there is not a detected problem. Especially when considering purchasing a house or being unable to remember the last time anyone serviced the roof for any reason. Finding deterioration and correcting it in the early stages can prevent eventual larger problems. Elements such as missing or broken shingles, lower spots that attract debris and soft spots can be remedied before simple repairs spiral into disasters.
2. Natural Wear and Tear: Most roof building materials will gradually deteriorate over time due to normal exposure to everyday weather and pollutants. Hail tends to damage roof materials drastically and industrial or salt-laden atmospheres may increase the deterioration process due to harsher chemicals. There is no real way to stop the damaging effects from the environment or unpredictable occurrences such as storms and sunlight, but yearly inspections should help detect some of the issues that might be aggravated and accelerated by these natural factors.
3. Wind Damage: When high winds hit a house the roof tends to be one of the first and most damaged areas. Hurricanes and tornados up the ante even further and have a great intensity that most roofs are not designed to withstand. Damage is caused when wind blows over and around the edges of a roof while the existing air attempts to neutralize the low-pressure with a higher-pressure area. The resulting upward push can cause the roof frame to loosen and shingle adhesion to break away. To prevent this from happening the roofing and insulation should be securely attached to the roof deck and a fastened perimeter detail implemented. Ask your local roofing company about specific wind damage precautions you’re probably missing.
4. Design Flaws: Roof problems are not always due to deterioration, weather or lack of maintenance, but rather to the inadequacies of the initial design. Costly roofing flaws may require an entire roof replacement but are thankfully rare. If existing design problems are not identified and addressed during a roof inspection serious problems may result. Faulty design issues may include drainage problems; an inadequate slope; weak construction materials that cause splitting and expansion and contraction difficulties which damage the membrane. Contractors have the ability to identify some of these design issues and offer solutions that may be short of an entire replacement. To prevent design flaws, be sure you are using a qualified contractor when building or have a credible inspector handy when purchasing a new home.
The key to a trouble-free roof is obviously doing your best to repair problems as soon as soon as they arise – but even more importantly taking steps to identify potential weaknesses before they result in disaster. Be sure to consult a qualified roofing company or inspector to put your mind at ease, and never be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Regular maintenance, inspection and weather-resistant additions should keep you and yours happy, warm and dry for many years to come.