Picture this: A person arrives home everyday to a warm, secure building that protects everything they love and everything they own. They sit down to dinner, watch a little television and maybe head to bed early. In the middle of the night they wake up to find the roof of their home has vanished! How would this affect that person’s life?
Many people do not recognize the importance of the roof to the safety and health of their home, property, and family. The roof is your first line of defense against the elements, your best protection from costly damage that can cause health issues as well as expensive repairs. So my question is this: How often do you notice your roof? For most people the answer is, sadly, only when it is malfunctioning. But you can avoid many roof, attic, and structural issues if you make it part of your seasonal routine to inspect your roof for any problems or potential problems. This will be the first in a two-part blog discussing the most common roof issues – and how to avoid them!
In this first portion I would like to discuss the roof problems that can be caused by poor or improper installation. You may think that the only thing that can cause a roof leak is improper roof component installation. This is an incorrect assumption. We will cover those issues, but let’s begin with non-roof components that can cause roof issues (or what may appear as a leak).
One of the most common leaks that we encounter that is not caused by roofing components is a plumbing ventilation pipe that is improperly installed. These pipes are necessary to vent certain gases and unwanted moisture from plumbing components in the home. However, if the pipe is not the appropriate length, or becomes damaged at any point during its life, it will instead vent into the attic causing damage to anything from insulation to roof decking to the ceilings and rooms below. One way to avoid the damage this problem may cause is to inspect your attic and the underside of your roof a few times a year (particularly after a big storm or when someone has been working near these pipes). Usually this type of problem is visible from the attic and can be solved inexpensively before major issues arise.
Another common issue we encounter is improper installation of rooftop equipment. This can be anything from a rooftop air conditioning unit to a new satellite dish. Most of the time these companies know what they are doing and can install these components without incident. However, occasionally a problem will arise surrounding this type of installation. Sometimes the installation is not properly attached to the roof supports, but is only attached to the roof decking or even just the uppermost roof component. This is evidence that the installer did not know at all what he should have done in relation to the roof and the installation needs to be redone. However, we most often find that the installer did not properly seal the penetrations around the installation, and this leads to major leaks that may not reveal themselves until the next major storm. Again, the best solution is to inspect the roof yourself via the attic (or, if you feel comfortable enough, from the roof itself using a ladder and other safety equipment). If you see daylight in the attic around the installation you have a BIG problem. Contact the installing company and let them know. Usually they are happy to deal with the issue right away! If you do not see light, but you still want to be sure there is no problem with the installation, call your local roofing company and have them send out someone to do an inspection. Make sure you voice your particular concern and notify the inspector of the new installation. Some companies will even do this for free in hopes that next time you need roof work they will be your first call. Some may charge a fee, but the $150 or so dollars will be a lot cheaper than the $1500 repair work you will need if there is a leak. Just be sure to ask for the cost of the inspection before you have them come out. Lone-Star Roof Systems is happy to perform this function for any area around Bryan/College Station, Houston, or Dallas/Ft. Worth. Each case is different, so make sure to give us a call if you are concerned about any rooftop installation on your home!
Another common problem we encounter with roofs that have leak issues is poor ventilation. Usually, it is caused by blocked vents in the attic, but poor ventilation can also be the result of a poor reroof or badly planned construction. This one problem can cause so many others! Improper ventilation can cause moisture to build up in your attic, meaning that your decking may begin to buckle or warp, which can then damage the roof material attached to it, causing leaks that lead to more moisture and more damage! The best way to solve the issue of blocked vents is to ensure that attic vents are not blocked by any items stored in the attic (which also means clearing the path of airflow). You must ensure that there is plenty of room for air to circulate or you will continue to have roof issues. The more difficult problem to solve is the lack of proper vents. In this situation it is best to call in the experts. Any certified roofing contractor can fix these issues, but it may require a significant financial investment – so make sure you are working with a great roofing contractor! Your hard-earned dollars need to go to a quality investment, which may mean that you will want to avoid the lowest bid and go for the one that really seems enthusiastic about protecting your investment in your home. See our blog on choosing the right roofing contractor for more tips on this process.
The last issue covered in this blog is the improper installation of ANY roofing component. You may not know this, but a roof is made of a system of several components working together to protect your home. From the flashing keeping water out of roof penetrations, to the waterproof deck protection to the shingles or tile on top, your roof cannot function properly if any of these components are not installed properly. The best solution for this problem is always to prevent it! Research your roofer or builder and make sure they have no complaints or issues on record with the BBB or your favorite review site (Google, Yahoo, Angie’s List and Yellow Pages are some good ones to check). Also, be sure to ask your roofer or contractor for some references before you sign any contract and CHECK THE REFERENCES! Often, you will be able to tell if there is an issue with the roofer by the way the references respond to your call.
Check out our next blog for Most Common Causes of Roof Issues – and How to Avoid Them! Part 2: Outside Influences. This blog will cover the outside influences (like animals, trees, and weather) that affect your roof, and how you can minimize the damage they cause.
Remember, contact Lone-Star Roof Systems for all your roofing needs!
1511 South Texas Avenue, #172
College Station, TX 77840
College Station Office
722 Peach Creek Cut Off, Ste. 100
College Station, TX 77845
5040 Grisham Dr., Suite 103
Rowlett, TX 75088
15219 Stuebner Airline
Houston, TX 77069