Have you checked on your roofing system lately? While roofing is indeed essential, it’s a component that’s often overlooked, right until the first leak springs from the ceiling, and water starts to run down the walls. Given how your roofing is your home’s strongest and most effective weather barrier, keeping it in tip-top shape should really be a no-brainer. This means making a habit of inspecting it for possible issues, especially following a major storm.
For what roofing problems should you watch out? And, how do you go about fixing them? Let this handy guide help you get started. Here are some common problems your roofing might have, plus their recommended solutions:
PROBLEM AREA: SHINGLES
Roofing shingles play an important role in keeping your roof in good shape and your home dry and damage-free. As with most exterior components, however, shingles are subject to constant weather exposure, which wears them down bit by bit. When left unattended, damaged roofing material can compromise the structure and aesthetics of both your system and home as a whole.
For what should you look? Grab a pair of binoculars, and check your roof’s surface. Watch out for shingles that are discolored, buckled or cracked. If your roof has bald patches where the shingles have either broken off or have deteriorated significantly, then that’s obviously a red flag. Damaged roofing material is bad enough, but missing shingles make it even easier for water to enter your home.
What are the possible effects? Without shingles, the underlying wood will be vulnerable to rot, holes and other types of damage. This could put additional stress on your structure, compromising your home’s protection against extreme weather conditions. As mentioned above, damaged shingles can also increase the chance of leaks.
SOLUTIONS. Should you notice damage to your roofing material, have the affected areas repaired immediately. This helps prevent leaks and other issues from occurring. When the damage is beyond repair, however, you may opt for a more permanent solution – roof replacement.
PROBLEM AREA: FLASHING
See those thin pieces of metal around your chimneys or skylights? That’s your flashing, a crucial component that helps protect the most leak-prone areas of your roofing system. Flashing is typically installed over areas with joints in your roof, such as dormers, vent pipes, chimneys, skylights and valleys. Flashing is sealed to prevent water from seeping in and causing damage – but high wind speeds may loosen them.
What are the possible effects? Loosened or damaged flashing allows water to enter your home. These leaks can leave water stains on your ceiling and streaks along your interior walls. When overlooked, this can weaken your home’s structural integrity; it can also encourage mold and mildew to form.
SOLUTIONS. After every storm, make sure to have a professional roofing contractor inspect your flashing. Catching the early warning signs of damage can make a big difference in prolonging the service life of your roof. When the flashing has suffered extensive damage, have it replaced by your roofing expert immediately to keep issues at bay.
PROBLEM AREA: GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
Your gutters and downspouts are the unsung heroes of your home. They support your roofing system by catching running water and directing it away from the home. This helps keep your home’s structure intact while preventing mold and mildew growth. Your gutters, however, are prone to congestion because of the leaves, pine needles and other loose debris that tend to settle in them.
What are the possible effects? Debris buildup may cause water to back up and overflow. This leads to water damage on your exterior because the water won’t run through the system as it should, but will flow over the lip of the gutters instead. Water may then seep into the roof deck as well, creating leaks inside your home. With clogged gutters and damaged downspouts, basement flooding, mold formation and even landscape erosion is highly possible.
SOLUTIONS. You can prevent debris accumulation inside your gutters by having tree limbs close to them trimmed. Seal small holes by caulking joints or by filling them from the inside with gutter sealant. Larger holes should be patched as needed. You can even have your gutters and downspouts upgraded to ensure 100% protection. In addition, you can invest in gutter protection systems. They allow for clog-free performance by shedding off leaves and other loose debris while allowing only water to run smoothly through the system.
PROBLEM AREA: SOFFIT AND FASCIA
Your soffit and fascia add finishing touches to your home, but that’s not the only thing for which they’re good. The fascia, for instance, serves as the last line of support for shingles on the lower edge of your roof. It’s also what your gutters are installed on, holding them up and keeping them steady during heavy rainfall. The soffit, meanwhile, helps keep a steady flow of air between your roof and the attic, improving ventilation. It also prevents water and moisture from blowing into your home. You’ll want to make sure there’s no rot or holes in these components.
What are the possible effects? Aside from curb appeal, damaged soffit and fascia can also allow moisture to enter your home. This encourages mold to form while compromising good ventilation in your attic space.
SOLUTIONS. All you need to do is consult a reliable roofing contractor in your area. They’ll conduct a thorough inspection of your soffit and fascia and then perform the necessary repair work.
When having issues with your roofing system, make sure to work only with a dependable roofing contractor. This guarantees timely and efficient work, helping restore your roofing system and its components to rights, which, in turn, extends its service life.
John Rogers is President of Rogers Roofing, a premier home improvement company serving Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. He enjoys playing baseball with his sons, and he never misses his daughter’s dance recitals. He also loves helping people, which he hopes to achieve by sharing his experiences in his blog.