Roofs are tasked with the all-important role of protecting your home, and they do the job quite well, withstanding the elements and various other threats to ensure that you and your family are kept safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, not all roofs are created equal, with some failing sooner than others. Is your roof in need of attention? Here are some tips on spotting some of the most common problems roofs face.
Flashing refers to thin pieces of material, typically metal, installed at the joints of your roof, under vents, and under shingles to prevent water from entering at the seams and causing damage.
What to look for: You want to look for missing pieces or breaks in the flashing, and for cracks in the exposed flashing. You’ll also want to check the caulking around the flashing for shrinkage due to drying out. If you spot rust, that’s also a sign that flashing must be replaced.
Damaged and missing shingles are typically caused by exposure to the elements, storm winds sometimes blowing hard enough to loosen and tear shingles off your roof.
What to look for: Look for bare patches on your roof where shingles have been blown off by the wind; loose shingles on your lawn are also a clear sign. Indicators of shingle damage include cracking, curling, discoloration, and blistering. Large amounts of shingle granules in your gutters indicate that your shingles are aging and likely need to be replaced.
If your roof’s drainage system is not functioning properly, water can back up into the eaves. Aside from causing leaks, this can also lead to rotting.
What to look for: Visible debris in your gutters are a clear sign that your gutters are clogged. Other things to look for are sagging gutters and water pooling on the roof. If your downspouts are suspiciously dry after it rains, then that means water is going somewhere else you wouldn’t want it to.
Your roof’s soffit – the area under the roof overhang – and fascia – the board running behind the gutter or along the roof line – are both at risk of water damage after being exposed to the elements over time. Water damage brings with it the possibility of rot, as well as a weakness in the material that small animals can exploit.
What to look for: Cracks, holes, rotting material, and other weakened areas that insects and small animals can use to enter. If you have woodpeckers in your area, they may be drilling away looking for insects. Birds and small animals can also end up enlarging holes in the fascia to make way for creating their homes on top of your home.
Caused by poor ventilation and insulation in a home, ice dams form when escaping heat melts snow higher up the roof, which drips down to accumulate at the eaves and freezes. The process repeats until enough ice builds up to cause damage. Sometimes, the repeated accumulation of water becomes a problem as it can cause leaks that lead to moisture-related damage. Ice is also heavy so a build up is problematic as it can cause a roof to collapse.
What to look for: Look for a ridge of ice forming at the edge of the roof, and areas where water is pooling on the roof.
Bob Baker is the owner of Hinkle Roofing. Hinkle Roofing has served the Birmingham, Alabama and surrounding area for more than 100 years helping both commercial and residential customers sleep a little easier at night knowing that they have a quality roof over their head. The Hinkle Roofing name is synonymous with quality and value.
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