The roof is a home's first line of defense from natural hazards such as wind, rain, fire, hail, ice, snow, and extreme heat. It is also the most vulnerable part of your home. Every day, your roof is exposed to weather and other elements that may contribute to decay and deterioration, increasing the risk of damage to the roof itself and the contents below it.
The International Building Code (IBC), which sets safety standards for building, requires that roofs “serve to protect the home.” Having a roof that “protects the home” starts with design, materials selection, and installation at the time a home is built or remodeled—events that occur infrequently and may be outside the scope of most homeowners ongoing activity. But it also includes a regular program of inspection, maintenance, and repair—activities that should be part of your operational planning in order to prolong the useful life of your roof and make sure it does its job in protecting your home from weather damage.
RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS OF A ROOF PROBLEM
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your roof inspected, your first priority should be to identify and fix any major problems.
Signs of serious problems may be apparent even from inside the home. Water stains on a ceiling may signal a leak, which can be caused by a crack or hole in the roof. It’s important to understand that even the smallest leak can be a sign of big trouble. Similarly, if the home has unexplained mold or odors inside, this may indicate a roof leak resulting in water penetration. While internal water damage or mold may signal trouble above, it’s also important to visually inspect the roof itself to look for problems that are likely to worsen over time.
Depending on the slope of the roof and the ease of access, inspections sometimes can be done by the homeowner, but in many cases, it makes sense to hire a contractor to make sure the job is done safely and correctly.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON THE ROOF
A leak in the attic.
After a strong storm or wind-driven rain, take a look in the attic for signs of leaking. Ice damming can also cause water to enter the house if you don’t have an adequate shingle underlayment or if the flashing (the aluminum or steel used over roof joints, like chimneys and pipes) has deteriorated.
Blistering or peeling interior or exterior paint.
When paint starts to peel off, the cause is likely trapped moisture in the house due to excessive temperature or high humidity from poor attic ventilation. The air in the attic needs to flow freely from the soffit to the ridge to reduce humidity. Make sure there is a vent in areas such as the kitchen or bathroom. Dryers should vent outside.
Stains on interior ceilings and walls; mold or mildew growth.
If you see stains or, even worse, mold growth inside your home, it may be caused by inadequate or faulty shingle underlayment that is allowing water to seep into the house. Inadequate ventilation could also be the culprit, which causes excessive moisture— conditions in which mold and mildew thrive.
Missing, cracked, or curled shingles.
If you see that your shingles are dry or practically break when touched, that means they have reached the end of their useful life and it’s time to invest in a new roof. In some cases if only a few shingles are affected a repair can be done.
Dark, “dirty-looking” areas on your roof.
This could mean your roof has vegetation, fungus, mold, or algae growth, or that the shingles’ protective granules have been lost. This doesn’t mean you need to replace your roof, but these stains can reduce curb appeal. Cleaning the shingles is an option, but that could shorten their life.
Excessive energy costs.
A possible cause of higher cooling costs could be insufficient attic ventilation, requiring the cooling system to run excessively. In warm weather, inadequate ventilation will trap hot air in the attic, causing air-conditioning systems to work harder, or leaving your home's interior hotter and less comfortable. In both hot and cold weather, moisture in the attic can become trapped and condense on the rafters if it’s not insulated properly. This moisture can drip down onto the insulation and reduce its effectiveness, potentially increasing energy costs.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
The best way to avoid roof-related problems and strengthen weather resistance is through regular care and preventive maintenance. Proper maintenance also prolongs the life of a roof and in many instances will allow for “repair” instead of “replacement” when a problem is identified. The frequency of inspections for routine maintenance depends on several factors, including the age of the roof, recent weather events and conditions identified during previous inspections. That said, scheduling a yearly inspection is an effective way to make sure your home is always secure.
A properly maintained roof is necessary to protect your home and the contents within it. Remember that a little maintenance can result in a lot of savings, especially when compared to the cost of damage from a small, undetected leak or a catastrophic roof failure. Contact us today to schedule your roof inspection.
THE BENEFITS OF REPLACING YOUR ROOF
One of the most obvious benefits of siding is the protection that it offers your home from the elements
A new roof makes your home much easier to sell. Realtors estimate that as much as 40 percent of your home’s curb appeal is directly linked to your roof. With an average ROI of 67-70%, new roofs are one of the best home improvement projects around.
A new roof allows your HVAC system to work more efficiently, thus saving you money on your monthly energy bills.
Peace of mind
Feel confident in knowing that your first line of protection for your home is in good shape and comes with a proper warranty for many years to come.