It’s all too easy to ignore the roof that covers you and your family when the sun’s shining and your possessions are clean and dry. But as soon as an unusually heavy storm with rain, ice or high winds threatens to take away shingles or allow water to pour in, it becomes your primary worry. The best way to avoid these concerns is to have your roof inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
Roof inspections may seem to be a waste of time and money, but, like almost all maintenance, they identify and fix small problems before they can become huge problems. The most common and distressing problem owners face is water leakage during rain, often when it is heavy but sometimes when it isn’t. Water is able to enter the building when shingles have become loose or the water has ponded in areas of adjoining sections of the roof. Flashing that has been incorrectly installed can also lead to water damage. Installation of skylights or satellite dishes can also allow water to seep into the building if they aren’t sealed properly.
High winds also cause problems when they loosen or tear away the shingles. Winds of tropical storm force can lift the edges of shingles that may have been improperly installed. Swirling winds seen in severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can also strip away shingles. Once the shingles are gone, water can much more easily enter the building. Loosened shingles also allow dirt and debris to collect underneath, which also leads to faster deterioration of the roofing material. The solution of shingle replacement for large sections of the roof or even replacing the entire roof is an expensive solution.
Heavy snow and ice are problems that can lead to serious roof issues. Many states and municipalities dictate the snow load, or the weight of snow, that can accumulate on a roof before it should be remove for safety reasons. Depending on the area of the country, this can range from between five and thirty pounds per square foot. Too much snow can cause damage to shingles and the underlying roof. In severe cases, the weight can cause the roof and walls to bow out. Ice damming is a particularly serious problem. When snow or ice build up in the gutters or along the roof’s ridgeline, water can’t drain off the roof and instead seeps into the house under the flashing.
Even the sun and hot weather can cause roof damage in ways you may not expect. The damage isn’t always caused by the sun beating down on the roof, but often by the heated air in the attic that doesn’t have a place to go. Very high temperatures will cause shingles to blister, crack and split, which eventually let water get in to the house. Scheduling a roof inspection at least once every three years can help you avoid most if not all of these problems.