Your roof is the part of your home that usually is taken for granted the most. Things you see, like your yard, living areas, and bathrooms, are quite frequently the first places to be renovated when you are ready to make home improvements, and the problems that occur in these areas are quickly noticed since they are visible.
Roofs, however, may be neglected and forgotten about until minor damages that went unnoticed become major problems that can’t be ignored. By the time roofing problems are visible, they have caused a bevy of other issues than the signs that you see.
No matter how durable your roof was when it was installed, years of constantly being worn away by nature will eventually cause it to degrade. Damage to shingles and water stains in your ceiling are easily observed signs of roof problems, but by the time you notice them it may be too late for an easy fix.
Here are 8 of the most common roofing problems our customers in and around Salt Lake City call us about and the easy – and not-so-easy – solutions to them.
In general, the typical roof will end up with at least one of these 8 problems. Knowing what to look for and how to prevent the problems in the first place can help you to also avoid expensive repairs and significant headache.
1. Interior home water spots. Once you start seeing water spots in your ceiling, it is already time to call in a roofing expert. It does not necessarily mean you are looking at a hefty repair bill, but a water spot in your ceiling means that if you do have a leak, it has advanced far enough from the roof that it’s hitting the interior of your home. Water damage does not have to just be in the ceiling, either – it’s common for leaks to be noticed along the wall, as well.
The reason you need a roofer is because these leaky spots can be deceiving. You may not be able to climb into your attic or on your roof and find the cause of the leak. Just because you have a water spot in your kitchen does not necessarily mean that is where the leak originated. Water travels from the roof, along the roof panels, and then into your insulation, which leaves spots on your ceiling randomly.
To avoid this problem, be sure to have your roof regularly inspected with a professional for routine roof maintenance. During periods of more extreme weather, you should have your roof inspected more often.
2. Missing or broken shingles. If parts of shingles are randomly showing up in your yard or you have noticed dark areas on your roof where a shingle used to be, it is an easy problem to fix if you catch it early.
Missing shingles are usually due to the sealant that keeps the underside attached to your roof wearing off. When the sealant strip becomes damaged, either by a force of nature such as rodents or weather, or simply normal wear and tear and old age, your shingles will start to peel off. They may break in parts that you’ll find dispersed in your yard, or they may come off completely in one piece.
Most roof shingles are easy to replace with extras that are closely matched to the ones you currently have. Some companies or individuals store a box or two of extra shingles just for this purpose when they install the roof so if you know what you are doing, you can fix this yourself.
3. Granules clogging downspouts on your roof. When your roof is new and you have granules in your gutter, there is no need to be alarmed. Most likely, they are simply granules that were loose and fell off when your roof was being installed.
Old roofs with granule problems are another story. If you are seeing granules in your gutters, your shingles are probably weakening and need to be replaced.
Granules are important because they are what protects your shingles from being damaged by the sun’s UV rays. When they fall off over time, your shingles will begin to crack. One of the first signs of this if you are not up on your roof is that you will notice clogging in your gutters. That messed up flow is likely due to granules and debris like leaves and twigs blocking your gutters.
4. Pooling and stagnant water. When gutters are clogged or piles of debris catch puddles of water, this moisture collects and forms pooling water that sits on top of your roof and causes problems. The standing moisture can turn into mold and mildew and it can eat away at the roofing material, causing leaks.
If your roof is flat or you are concerned about pooling water, create a tapered area over the surface of your roof to let the water run off, and be sure to have your roof inspected regularly to avoid long-term water damage.
5. Freezing weather damage. Houses that live in climates where they are exposed to snow and ice often, like here in Salt Lake City, have reduced roof life expectancies. This is because when ice and snow melt, they become water at a rate that can’t run off fast enough. This water eventually gets underneath your shingles.
Water under shingles in the best of circumstances will cause problems, but when it does get under there in cold weather, it may become frozen again. Water that freezes expands, and the now frozen ice will push up against your shingles or flashing, leaving an opening that invites more water and snow into it in an endless cycle until the warm weather comes again.
While there is no way to avoid this besides living somewhere where it doesn’t snow, the best solution is to regularly inspect and maintain your roof in the spring and fall. Roof inspections in the spring help to catch damage that may have been done with the extreme cold weather, and fall inspections will keep you from being surprised during the next cold season if there was a leak or issue that didn’t get caught and has now become a huge problem.
6. Poorly installed roofs. Yes, installing a new roof can be one of the most expensive home renovations you will ever have to do – but there is a reason for this. When it’s done right, your roof will last you anywhere between twenty and fifty years or more, depending on the material you choose.
Cutting corners to reduce the price reduces the quality of the material you are using and the quality of the roofer that you are paying to install your roof. Poorly installed roofs often lead to bigger expenses down the road when complications arise that would not have happened, or may have been warrantied, had you used an expert professional roofing company like Patriot Roofing & Construction.
7. Damage from trees. No roof is fully protected from nature, and one of the most common forms of damage comes from tree branches. This does not have to be a huge branch falling on your roof. Damage from tree branches often comes from small or medium branches that regularly rub against your roof and slowly erode away the top layer.
To prevent this from happening, keep your tree branches trimmed and remove or, if possible, replant trees that may be a serious danger, especially if you live in an area where severe storms are common.
8. Damaged roofing material. Roof material means more than just the shingles. Sealant that stops working, nails that are pulled out due to shrinking shingles, and other types of damage can be done that causes a host of other problems.
Nature is one of the biggest causes of deteriorating roofs. There is not much you can do about exposure to the sun and elements of weather, but when damage of that type occurs, you need to catch it fast.
Holes in your roof can cause moisture to seep in and create severe damage. Shrinking roof materials cause your shingles to deteriorate and crack. Your flashing may even be pulled apart.
Inspecting your roof for damage can be dangerous if you do it yourself, and if you are not an experienced roofer you may overlook hidden signs of damage that could be the cause of trouble down the line. It is always best to have a professional roofing company inspect and maintain your roof. The minor upfront cost now will save thousands in materials and labor later.
More than being a pound of cure, regular roof maintenance and learning basic roof knowledge are both methods of prevention that can save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses.
When you are ready to begin regular roof maintenance, or for any of your roofing and construction needs, call the experts at Patriot Roofing and Construction. We offer 24/7 emergency service and 5-star quality work in the area of Salt Lake City and Draper.