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The roof is undoubtedly an important component of any home or building. After all, it keeps you dry and warm and protected from the discomforts and dangers that external factors and nature can bring. As important as the roof is, few home problems are as dangerous, costly and damaging as a roof collapse. Indeed, replacing a roof typically requires a significant investment, but putting off this crucial project can do more harm than good.
Preventing roof collapse is definitely easier and cheaper than recovering from one. So, it’s important that you know how to recognize the signs that tell you your roof is in danger. You also need to know how to tell the difference between a roof that’s simply worn out and one that’s calling out for replacement. So, read through this post to know what things you should check for.
What to Check For: Signs That Your Roof Is Failing
Your roof itself can actually send signals to tell you that it is in bad shape and needs immediate attention; it’s on you to notice the signs and decide what to do about them. Here are just some of the basic signs that tell you your roof is starting to fail.
- Roof age – If your home or the roof currently installed on it is already around 20 years old and has not been professionally inspected, or no roofing maintenance has been done on it since its installation, it is highly possible that the roof is already harboring damage and is nearing its end. This is especially true for asphalt roofs, which have a maximum lifespan of about 25 years.
- Roof leaks during temperature fluctuations – If your roof leaks when the temperature fluctuates between warm and freezing, ice dams could form on your roof – and this is bad news. Ice dams, which are often caused by inadequate attic insulation, can wreak havoc on a roof. If ice dams have been forming on your roof for several winters now, it is possible that they have already caused major damage.
- Blistering or peeling paint – When paint in different parts of your home starts to peel off, it probably means that moisture is trapped within the house and its walls. This is due to uncontrolled humidity and temperatures, which can often be linked to poor ventilation, a leading cause of roof damage.
- Excessive energy costs – If you have been noticing that your energy costs have been abnormally high than your typical consumption, it could be caused by two things both related to your roofing: insufficient attic ventilation and compromised roofing materials. Both of these could point to a roofing system that could already be hiding serious damage.
A ROOF’S ENEMY. Ice dams can wreak havoc on a roof, causing damage and leaks over time.
What to Check for: Inside the Home
Aside from the general symptoms mentioned above, you can also begin your own inspection inside your home. Grab a flashlight, bring your phone or a camera, and ideally, take notes while you look for:
- Signs of water damage and leaks – These typically manifest through water stains and trails, which can be found on the walls and ceilings.
- Sagging roof deck parts – If you can access your attic, see if there are parts of the roof deck that appear to be sagging or damaged in some way.
- Sunlight shining through the roof – If outside light is able to penetrate through the roof, then no doubt, the damage is so severe that it has managed to affect all the layers of the roof.
SEVERE ROOF DAMAGE. Rotten roof deck, sunlight penetrating through a roof hole and inadequate insulation – these are just some of the ingredients of severe roof damage.
What to Check for: Outside the Home
After checking inside your home next up is the exterior. You need to pay attention to things like missing, curling, buckling and blistering shingles as well as damaged flashing, among other roof components. Below are some tips for checking your roof for damage.
- From the ground, see if you can spot missing shingles. You should also check for cracked or torn shingles, and bald patches on the roof .
- See if there are dark and dirty looking areas on the roof. This could mean algae, mold, fungi and vegetation growth that can affect the health of your roofing materials.
- Scan the roof for damaged or loose material around chimneys and vents as well as other penetrations, such as pipes.
- If you can access the gutters, check for an excessive amount of shingle granules. These look like big grains of sand and point to advanced shingle wear.
- Look out for signs of moisture, including rot and mold. Take note that wet spots inside the home are typically not always under the faulty part of the roof as water can travel down to the lowest spot before it drips.
- See if the gutters and downspouts are sagging, detached or damaged in any way. Check also if they are clogged. If they are, and have been like that for quite a time now, it is highly likely that they have contributed to the roof damage.
You’ve Seen the Signs. What Do You Do Next?
If most or all of the signs above are present, you must act immediately. First, get a professional roof inspection done. A trusted roofer in your area can perform a thorough inspection and evaluation of your roof to determine its exact condition. They can also check your home’s overall structural integrity and see if the roof damage has already affected significant aspects of your home.
Your roofer will discuss your roof’s condition with you and recommend the best solution and course of action. If your roof has suffered significant damage, a roof replacement could be the most sensible and practical next step. Getting a brand new roof ensures that it’ll be a while before you face any issues; just be sure to put a regular maintenance plan in place as well.
Bob Dresback is the owner of Garlock-French Corporation. Bob is a professional roofer based in Minneapolis who is very passionate about what he does and loves to share his experiences to other people. Read more about him by liking his Facebook page and checking out their company blog.