Taking care of your roof is essential for extending its lifespan and your return on investment. As a full roof replacement is costly, conducting regular maintenance and taking care of small repairs before they become big problems is the most sensible option.
Unless you’re a professional roofer, you may not know what small issues to look for. Here are some of the most common roof and attic problems to fix before they cause significant damage.
Moss growing on the roof may not seem like much of an issue. In fact, it may give your home the English countryside cottage charm you’ve always loved in the movies. While a few patches of moss are no reason to call for an emergency roofing repair visit, you’ll want to handle this issue sooner rather than later.
Moss is a resilient plant that can root anywhere, including your shingles. While the roots are shallow, they create small cracks in the shingles that could allow water to get through. If left untreated, moss will diminish your roof’s lifespan and could cause moisture damage and rot to the wood underneath.
According to Kanga roof repair Bucks County, PA, removing moss is fairly straightforward. There are eco-friendly treatment solutions to spray on the moss, then brush off after it soaks in. Professional roofing companies often offer this service as a part of a maintenance package. You can also trim back nearby branches to minimize growth.
If you live in an area prone to high winds, you’ve likely noticed a few shingles scattered around the yard after a storm. While a shingle here and there isn’t going to make or break your roof, it does create space for water to creep in. Ideally, you’ll replace any missing shingles as soon as possible.
Rather than full shingles around the yard, you might notice broken pieces. This happens if the wind catches a loose shingle the right way, but the nails hold. Broken shingles should also be replaced as soon as possible or as a part of your annual roof maintenance plan.
Note that it’s common for more shingles to come loose and fall off during storms as the roof gets older. At this point, it’s time to consider a full replacement.
The early detection of minor leaks can be difficult, which is what makes them so insidious. A small amount of water can cause significant damage over time. As the Roman poet Ovid famously quipped, “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.”
If you notice missing shingles and leave them unrepaired for some time—i.e., if you find them during the winter but can’t make the repairs until spring— you should check your attic regularly for leaks. You may also notice changes in the humidity level in your home, hear dripping sounds, or see water stains on the ceiling.
If you find signs of a leak, inspect your attic closely. The shape of your roof and the nature of water means that the source of the leak may be somewhere other than where it shows up. For example, if the leak is at the top of the gable, it may flow down along the roof and drip onto the ceiling ten feet away.
Flashing is often overlooked by homeowners doing roof inspections and maintenance— another reason why hiring a professional is so valuable. The flashing is the metal sheeting placed along potential weak points of the roof to help drive water away, such as the base of your chimney or the connecting point at the gables where the shingles don’t overlap.
If the flashing gets damaged or starts to lift, it leaves vulnerable parts of your roof exposed to the elements. In many ways, damaged flashing is more concerning than missing shingles. It’s also important to note that getting a roof replaced doesn’t necessarily mean the flashing was replaced as well. It’s common practice for roofers to make repairs if the flashing is intact, rather than pulling it up and putting new materials down. Talk to your trusted roofing contractor if you’re concerned about the existing flashing.
It’s best to hire a professional rather than a DIY approach to repairs as this part of the roof is so important and often difficult to work with.
Insufficient Attic Ventilation
Having enough attic ventilation is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it directly impacts your home’s air quality, temperature, and humidity. Secondly, it protects your roof from moisture-related damage.
Without proper ventilation, your roof will become excessively hot and humid. The summer sun will dry out the shingles and cause rapid degradation without the desired cooling effects from the attic underneath. Your shingles will start to curl and lose their shape, subsequently minimizing the protection they offer the wood underneath and dramatically shortening your roof’s lifespan. If you notice your shingles buckling or warping, this is likely why.
In the winter, insufficient ventilation will create excess moisture in your attic, which is prime for mold and mildew growth. While it’s essential to have plenty of insulation in your attic, you must ensure it’s not blocking any vents. It’s also worth checking your bathroom fan to ensure it isn’t venting directly into the attic. If you’re concerned about your attic ventilation, talk to an HVAC specialist.
Your gutters play an important role in protecting your entire house from water damage. If the gutters are clogged or damaged, water will pool against the vulnerable edges of the roof and fail to be directed away from your foundation or basement. Improper gutter maintenance can lead to roof damage, flooding, and mold growth.
Fortunately, gutter maintenance is one of the simplest roof-related maintenance tasks. Clean out the gutters in the late fall to ensure all leaves and debris are removed. Ensure that gutter aprons are installed to keep water off the roof’s fascia, and make any repairs or replacements as needed.
Call a roofing expert if you notice a dip in your roof. A sagging roof could indicate one of several serious issues, including structural damage, weight-related cracks from snow and ice, or excessive water damage caused by leaks.
Leaving a sagging roof unaddressed can cause costly damage and can even be a safety risk. Depending on the situation, your roofing expert might be able to make repairs or may recommend a full replacement.
Another issue many homeowners experience in the roof and attic is pest invasions. Birds, raccoons, mice, and other fun friends can get into the attic through damaged vent covers and gaps in the flashing. If you notice strange smells, bubbling in the ceiling, or scratching sounds, call a pest removal service ASAP.
Preventative maintenance and proactiveness are essential for extending your roof’s lifespan and minimizing your long-term housing costs. Be mindful of these common roof and attic issues to deal with them before they become a big problem.