The Common Causes of Roof Damage and How to Avoid them
A beautifully crafted home perfect in design and other pertinent components will be all for naught if its roof is damaged or has leaks. There is nothing more irritating than the pools of water on interior floors or water marks on the ceiling. Roof damage can occur due to various reasons and a leaky roof is one result of a damaged roof. Don't panic when you see tell-tale signs of roof damages or leaks. It is best to find any damage and leaks before major repairs are called for.
Roof Damage: Big Problem
A damaged roof is definitely a big problem. Water can enter through any minor leaks and it can ruin your ceilings and walls and even the columns and posts of your house. The mould and mildew that could thrive in wet nooks and crannies can even cause health problems and present an unhealthy environment in your home.
Roof damage is not an unusual occurrence as it could happen to any house for various reasons. In other words, no matter what kind of roofing material you use, damages to some extent are bound to happen. The important thing is for you to locate the damage while it is still small and manageable.
The Major Causes of Roof Damage
Some of the major causes of roof damages are:
- Weather - Extremes in weather condition i.e. hot, cold, wet and dry can cause some roofing materials to blister, buckle, split or crack. When this happens, water seepage is possible and that could lead to leaks that could damage the interior.
- Corrosion - Some roofing materials are prone to corrode especially in parts where there are roof flashings, valleys and projections like vents and chimneys. When corrosion happens, there is bound to be roof damage.
- Wind - Extreme gusts of winds, especially during storms or hurricanes can lift roofing materials off from their anchors.
- Wear and Tear - Roof damage can happen due to normal wear and tear. Falling objects from trees or those blown by gusts of wind and roof "traffic" by birds and small animals can cause early signs of deterioration of roofing materials.
The end of it all is that you have to do a routine maintenance of your roof if you want it to last longer that its usual lifespan. Asphalt roofing can last up to 15 years. Roofs made of slate, clay or cement tile can last a lifetime only if well-maintained. If you are one of those house owners who do not inspect their roofs, start now. Here are some pointers when inspecting your roof for damages.
- If there are trees near any part of the roof, check that no low lying branch is on the roof. Branches can puncture your roofing. Check that no leaves have accumulated in the gutter. If there are, clean the gutters out. It's actually imperative that you clean out roof gutters on a regular basis.
- If you see any black or green streaks on the roofing material, these show that there are algae, fungi and moulds on the roof. Trim trees around the roof area to increase air circulation and install zinc strips on the roof. These strips form zinc oxide when wet with rainwater thereby releasing a protective coating to prevent the growth of fungus and mould.
- Normal wear and tear is expected. When you find a roofing part that is weak or damaged (even slightly) take it out and replace it with new parts.
Minor roof repairs are easy enough for a regular DIY-er. However, if upon assessment you find that you would cause more damage than good, call a professional roof repair man for the job.
Common Areas for Roof Leakage
There are areas in the roofing structure of a house that is more susceptible to leaks. For shingle roofing, the most common areas where leaks occur are at:
- Chimneys - Leaks are common here usually because of inadequate flashing or caulking.
- Vent pipes- any object that protrudes from the roof is almost always an area where leak could occur. Insufficient flashing could also be the culprit as flashings have the tendency to deteriorate faster than other roof parts.
- Valleys in between roof slopes are also susceptible to rot as the areas are prone to dirt or leaves accumulation.
- Drip-edge that is improperly installed can cause seepage. The leaks here are not as visible as drip-edge are hidden behind fascias or sidings.
These leaks are quite easy to fix. Try removing the old caulking and apply a fresh coat. This "fix" is cheap and quite easy to do. You can also try bending a strip of aluminium and placing the strips strategically to divert rainwater away from the affected area and then sealing it with caulk. If you can't do this job, call for a professional for the installation.
There are roof leakages that have nothing to do with damaged or leaky roofs. An example is an ice dam leaks. This happens when gutters and downspouts are blocked by too much snow. The natural flow of water in the roof is blocked and when this happens water backs up under flashings, tar paper, shingles, and cement tiles.
Water condensation from the loft could also cause leaks in the ceiling. High humidity can cause condensation and leave water marks on your ceilings.
The best time to check for roof damages and roof leakages is during summer and fall before the onset of winter and spring. Look for dents and cracks. Repair small damages before they become big and become costly to repair.
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