Recap: “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 second in a two-part blog discussing the most common roof issues – and how to avoid them! In it, we will cover the outside influences (like animals, trees, and weather) that affect your roof, and how you can minimize the damage they cause.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of outside influences that affect your roof that cannot be controlled. The sun will shine UV rays that damage shingles and high winds will blow them off, no matter how much we don’t want it to. Even living in an industrial atmosphere can cause a roof to age prematurely. For this kind of situation, it is best to practice prompt reaction and regular inspections. If there is a major wind or hail storm, call a roofer to come inspect your home for damage. Most will give you an estimate for free. For things like sun damage and animals nesting in roof vents, it is best to establish a regular inspection schedule. This means setting aside time to examine your roof on your own, and calling an expert roofer like Lone-Star Roof Systems to inspect anything that looks suspicious. Odds are, if it looks odd to you, there is something out of place. Check for holes in the soffit vent screens, or bird nests under your eaves. Also look for missing shingles on the parts of your roof you can see from the ground (or if you are comfortable, use a ladder to get onto the roof itself to inspect it. Be sure you know what you are doing, or you could damage the roof trying to check it!)
Something that can happen in the winter is a phenomenon called ice damming. When snow accumulates on your roof, the bottom layer can melt from the warmth of the house, and refreeze causing a block of ice with snow above it. When the sun melts the top snow, it can drip down and run up under shingles causing a pseudo-leak that dampens decking and insulation in your attic. This, again, is something caused by weather that cannot be controlled. If you encounter this problem, it is best to dry out your attic as quickly and well as you can and watch for warping in your decking.
This problem can also occur if your gutters become clogged with leaves and allow water to slip in under your shingles. Warped decking can occur any time your decking is damp for a period of time, and should be something you look for in your regular inspections. When decking becomes warped it pulls on shingles causing them to become loose or damaged and can cause pooling water to run up under the shingles just like an ice dam or clogged gutter can. This can cause multiple leaks and other issues with the roof that can be costly to repair. Fortunately, homeowner’s insurance covers most of these uncontrollable issues (which are not covered under a regular roof warranty because they are extreme-weather-related). For your gutters, it is best to keep them properly maintained and free of debris, since neglect is not covered by any warranty or insurance.
Another thing that can damage your roof is just walking on it wrong. In our last blog we talked about the improper installation of rooftop equipment, but this is not the only way an inexperienced satellite installation guy can hurt your roof – walking on any type of roofing material can cause what is known as mechanical damage. For shingles it can loosen the granules that help protect your shingles from the sun, greatly reducing the life of your shingle roof. For tile, it can cause the tiles to break under the strain of a 200 pound man and fall from the roof, leaving an exposed hole in your roof. For metal the effects are less damaging and more cosmetic – unattractive dents. However, these dents can cause water to run up the roof instead of down, or cause pooling that will damage the metal. Generally, it is a bad idea to walk on a roof unless you know how your roof should be walked on. Make sure your satellite or AC installation person knows how to walk on your roof material without damaging it.
One final point we would like to discuss in this blog is tree maintenance: It is important to make sure your trees do not overhang your roof material for several reasons. First, an overhanging limb can easily become a fallen limb during a storm, causing massive roof damage. This type of problem is not always covered under insurance. Also, an overhanging limb can cause a pile of leaves to collect on your roof or in your gutters much more quickly than if there are no overhanging limbs. These limbs give squirrels and birds easy access to your roof leading to a higher probability that these creatures will nest in your vents or other roof-related materials. Trees can also scratch along shingles or other roofing materials causing mechanical-type damage. It is best to have all tree limbs cut back about six feet from your roof to maximize the life of your roof materials and minimize the cost of repairs in the long run.
It may seem overwhelming to consider all of these aspects of outside influences on your roof, but if you begin with one at a time, you will have them all well in hand in no time! Write your regular inspection on your calendar (quarterly is usually often enough) and call “Texas’ Premier Roofer” for a free estimate whenever you notice a problem! We are an expert roofing contractor serving the Brazos Valley, Dallas/Ft Worth, and Houston and surrounding areas. No matter what kind of roof problem you have, we can help!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mimbrava/3263240252/ – funny squirrel pictures!
http://www.gotimberline.com/IceDams.html – Ice dam diagram
http://www.nachi.org/asphalt-comp-shingles-part37-91.htm – Mechanical damage
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