Let’s face it, we all procrastinate, especially when it involves chores or spending money on home maintenance. But one area where procrastination can be costly is roof repairs. The best way to identify minor roof repairs is by scheduling a roof inspection with the Roofing Annex or doing your own visual inspection. The sooner you can take care of minor roof repairs, the fewer costly problems you’ll have later.
Give Attention to Small Roofing Problems
You may have noticed a few missing roof shingles, or one or two shingles that are loose or buckling but thought nothing of it because the rest of your roof looks fine. In actuality, those minor problems can result in some serious, major problems to your entire roof, especially during adverse weather like heavy rains and strong winds. That’s why roof repair is so important.
Roof repair is replacing, adding, or adjusting certain areas of an existing roofing system to ensure its structural integrity. Roof repairing encompasses repairing damage to parts of the roofing system, fixing roof leaks, replacing damaged shingles, caulking and reroofing.
Minor problems to roofing components that can be repaired include:
- Shingles that are not well secured;
- Damaged shingles;
- The beginnings of roof damage caused by long-standing debris in roof valleys or corners of the roof;
- Loose flashing;
- Gaps around roofing vents and other roof penetrations;
- Missing caulking or sealant where the chimney meets the roof;
- Damage to the sheathing;
- Loose finishing edges;
- Gutters and downspouts that have moved out of proper position.
Repair Now or Pay Later
Although it may seem minor, any damage to roofing materials could cause water to seep into the sheathing and underlayment. When this happens, water will begin leaking into the attic and its insulation. By that time, costly damage has occurred, but even more concerning, the water damage could eventually cause your ceiling to collapse. What would have been an affordable repair has now turned into a major roof replacement and extensive interior home repairs costing tens of thousands of dollars. Compare this cost to the few hundred dollars that most minor roof repairs cost.
Is your roof stronger than 74 mph winds or higher? Is it strong enough to sustain repeated pounding from hailstones that are six inches in diameter and weigh more than one pound each? No doubt a brand new roof has the strength to handle these situations. But for roofing material older than 10 years and roofs that already have areas that need roof repairs, the answer to both these questions is unclear.
Just like kryptonite causes Superman to lose his strength, certain environmental factors cause your roof to lose its strength. They include:
- The UV rays from the sun and its hot temperatures.
- Heavy snow, especially when it can’t melt away quickly because of snowstorms that immediately follow each other.
- Extreme temperature fluctuations, such as 100 degree days and 50 degree nights.
The type of your roofing material also is a key factor in its strength. For example, metal roofing, tile roofs, and cedar shakes and shingles are stronger than asphalt shingles or synthetic roofs.
How to Gauge the Strength of Your Roof
Unlike Superman who knows his strength has left him, you have no way of knowing your roof has lost its strength until something catastrophic has happened, like a roof collapse. However, there are five signs to look for that will help you gauge the strength of your roof:
- No sunlight in the attic. A well enclosed attic means your roof remains strong and is performing as it should. It’s a good practice to check your roofing from inside your attic from time to time. Look carefully for sunlight coming through, a sign of a damaged spot in the roof that could lead to a roof leak. It also could mean the sealant around roof penetrations, such as roof vents, chimneys, skylights, etc., has weakened. This could reduce the strength of your roof, especially during a storm with high winds and heavy rains. These attachments could blow off and damage your roofing materials, plus allow water inside your home.
- Good attic ventilation. This does wonders for preventing premature aging of your roof and other roofing damage caused by poor attic airflow. If outside air is consistently flowing through your attic, then you have proper attic ventilation.
- Roof shingles are in good condition. You can expect some aging as your roof gets older, but if the shingles are not cracked, curled, loose, or missing their protective surface granules, the strength of your roof is in good shape.
- Properly working gutters and downspouts. Blocked gutters and downspouts greatly diminish the strength of your roof because the roofing system has to handle the extra weight of standing water that is not properly draining off it. The age of your gutters is another way to determine their strength. If they are under 20 years old (50 for copper gutters), they are probably good and strong. But for older gutters, it’s time to look for signs of aging that could weaken the performance of your roof.
- Roofing ventilation is well balanced, with the correct amount of intake and outtake vents for the size of your roof installed on it. Good roof ventilation keeps your roof strong by preventing ice dams during cold weather and lowering the temperature of shingles during hot weather.
If you want an expert opinion about the strength of your roof, contact the Roofing Annex for a roof inspection. We’ll give you an immediate, on-site report on just how strong your roof actually is.