Your roof is one of the most important aspects of your home, protecting it from the elements and guarding against various other types of damage. If your roof has suffered damage, or if it has deteriorated over time, it’s going to be more vulnerable to common problems that can jeopardize its functionality.
Fortunately, many roofing problems can be proactively prevented – and those that are unpreventable can be identified and repaired in relatively short order.
Preventing Roofing Problems
Your best bet is to prevent roofing problems before they even occur. With a handful of proactive strategies, you’ll keep your roof sturdy and functional for many years to come.
- Hire the right contractor. Hiring the right roofing contractor can instantly make your overall roof experience better. Dependable contractors will recommend the right materials for your home, they’ll do an excellent job installing your new roof (or committing new repairs), and they’ll stand by their work if you have any further issues.
- Use the best materials you can afford. Asphalt and composite shingles are cost-efficient and reasonable choices for a roof, but if you can afford to upgrade, consider an even more durable material; for example, metal roofs typically last 50 years or longer.
- Inspect your roof (and your interior) regularly. Make it a point to inspect your roof on a regular basis – at least once a year. This will help you identify points of damage and deterioration before they grow worse or start to impact the other areas of your home. If you’re not comfortable doing the inspection yourself, hire a contractor to do the work for you.
- Review the aftermath of storms. In line with this, it’s a good idea to check your roof and the area surrounding your home in the aftermath of a storm. High winds and tumultuous exterior conditions can blow off shingles and cause massive damage to your home; this is your chance to catch it and fix it before it gets worse.
- Clean the gutters. Gutters that are clogged or broken can cause backup, eventually getting into the eaves and causing rot. That’s why it’s important to clean the gutters regularly – and install protective screens to prevent the accumulation of debris.
The Biggest Roofing Issues to Watch For
Even if you take all the precautions outlined in the previous section, it’s important to watch out for these potential roofing issues:
- Interior leaks. The most obvious problem you might face with a roof is an interior leak, usually caused by shingle damage, flashing damage, or some other external failure point. If you notice light shining in through the roof, or if you notice water or streaking on the walls, it’s a sign your roof is leaking. Water damage can be incredibly expensive, so it’s important to identify the source of the leak and close it up as soon as you can.
- Damaged or blown off shingles. Shingles provide protection to most of your roof, but when they’re damaged, broken, or missing, they’re not able to do their job. Storms can cause shingles to loosen or blow away, and most shingles will crack or break down over time. Identifying and fixing isolated shingle problems can keep the rest of your roof protected for years, but if you have many shingle issues, you may be in need of a full roof repair.
- Damaged flashing. Flashing allows your roof to accommodate other features and fixtures, like chimneys or skylights. When your flashing cracks, or when the seal is broken, it will begin to leak. Fortunately, you can usually replace flashing when it fails without needing to replace the entire roof – just make sure you’re replacing it with a more durable material.
- Damaged gutters. Remember, when you have gutters that are clogged or backed up, it can cause problems for the rest of your roof (and your entire house). If your gutters aren’t doing their job, a simple cleaning may restore them to working order – but you might also need to replace them.
- Sagging or warping. Roofs should not sag. Sagging is typically a result of water damage and/or warping, but they may also result from the roof bearing too much weight. While you may be able to fix a sagging roof by yourself, you’re better off calling a professional.
- Animal issues. Squirrels and chipmunks may look cute, but they tend to burrow, scratch, and bite – causing massive damage to your roof. Call an exterminator if rodents or other pests have taken over your roof.
Some roofing issues are simple and inexpensive to fix. Others may require a total roof replacement. No matter the situation, it’s important to act fast; roof damage can quickly snowball, leading to more serious repair needs and deterioration in other areas of your home. The sooner you correct these issues when you identify them, the better.