They may not be the most interesting things to talk about, but your home is probably the biggest single investment you'll ever make. You owe it to yourself and your family to get the best roof protection you can afford. And, if that new roof just happens to look drop-dead gorgeous, you can even increase the resale value of your home.
So do your homework and shop around. We're here to help, whether you decide to do the job yourself or hire a professional roofing contractor to do it for you.
Just click on the links below to get started by learning the basics. Then we'll build from there!
Your roof is your home's first line of defense from the elements. Unfortunately, nothing can withstand Mother Nature forever. When roofs meet their end, whether natural or not, it's most often due to one of the 10 things on this list. Some, such as wind and snow, are natural elements. Other things affecting a roof's life span are human decisions, such as how the roof is installed or repaired.
Of course, water is the major element that your roof protects your home from. In normal conditions, when a roof was properly installed and is in good condition, rain damage to a roof is rare. Rain should roll right off your roof into your gutters and onto the ground. However, several problems can prevent water from properly draining off your roof. Sometimes water can collect if leaves have gathered in your roof's valleys, which is one reason it's important to clean your roof and gutters during the fall.
If water can't drain, or can't drain fast enough, it can slowly erode roofing materials, as it does the stones at the bottom of riverbeds over very long periods of time. Standing water will eventually create a problem on your roof, so it is wise to get repairs finished right away.
Large hail can be a problem for a roof. Wood shakes, slate and metal may dent and even split after hail impact. Many shingles can handle normal hail without a problem, not because they reflect hail, but because they are flexible enough to absorb the impact. Still, heavy storms that produce exceptionally large hail can create issues with many roofing materials.
When a shingle is missing from an old roof, it can be hard to tell whether wind took it off or whether something else removed it. A professional roofer should do a full roof inspection of any roof with missing shingles. They may be able to tell you if wind was the culprit or not. Either way, the missing shingles will need to be replaced. If the shingles are falling off because they are at the end of their life span, and not because of unusual wind, your roofer may suggest that you replace the whole roof.
If you live in a cold climate, you may be concerned about snow and ice damage to your roof. Typically, snow will melt off your roof without a problem. However, underlying leaks may become worse under the snow, as the snow constantly exposes your roof to moisture. During the spring melt, you could have a real mess on your hands. Get any known issues with your roof fixed before winter arrives to prevent water damage from snow on your roof.
Humid, warm summers can bring algae to your rooftop. Specifically, blue-green algae, called gloeocapsa magma, will take advantage of moist and warm conditions on your roof if it can. This roof infection has now spread across roofs in the United States.
Algae is only an aesthetic issue. It does not interfere with the function of your roof. It does leave behind black streaks that discolor your shingles and can impact the curb appeal of your property. This growth can be hard to control, especially without replacing shingles, so it's important to prevent it.
The same ultraviolet (UV) light that can fade your furniture's colors slowly degrades shingles as well. Asphalt shingles are much more resistant to UV light than fabrics, and they can tough out the effect of the radiation for extended periods. However, all shingles will eventually crack and degrade in the sun. At that point, shingles have reached the natural end of their life, and you must have them replaced. Areas with less intense UV sun and shorter days may see a slightly longer life span from their asphalt shingles.
Larger plant life can have an impact on your roof as well. While trees can be beautiful additions to your property, falling leaves and branches can pose a risk to your roof. Leaves, needles and other tree debris can clog your gutters or, if left on your roof, retain moisture and harm your roof. Overgrown branches can scrape shingles if the wind blows them against the roof's surface. Certain tree species can also release sap and resin onto your roof. These substances can soften asphalt and, in extreme cases, can cause shingles to blister. Of course, a fallen tree can damage your roof and other parts of your home.
There are many ways to protect your roof from tree damage, including regular trimming, leaf removal and health inspections from a qualified arborist. To start, get specific advice about your property's trees from an expert.
Of course, trees can also bring benefits to a property. Intensive green roofs may even support trees. However, green roofs need maintenance to function properly. Otherwise, trees may damage them as well.
Homeowners may have a menagerie of squirrels, birds, raccoons and other animals on their property. While they may be a joy to watch and feed, animals may cause problems with your roof. One of the most common problems is nesting. In spring and summer, birds may attempt to nest in your roof. In the fall, mammals may try to take shelter in your roof to avoid the cold. Animals may also choose to eat on top of your roof, leaving behind debris.
A professional roofer can help you discourage animals from spending time on your roof. Typically, they will secure the soffit and fascia which are common entry points for animals to get into the attic.
Many of the most critical decisions that determine the quality of your roof happen during installation. An improperly installed roof may not perform properly, to your expectations or the manufacturer's. For example, flashing failure is often the result of improper installation. Less experienced roofers might fail to install some flashing types where they are needed, or they might make other mistakes during flashing installation.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of subpar roofing repair advice available on the internet. It is best to avoid DIY roof repair and only choose professional roofers who are qualified, licensed (where required) and insured to work on your roof. Often, those who make unqualified roof repair jobs fail to address the root cause of the leak. The leak may reoccur or continue even after such a fix. A professional may have to undo the damage from the bad repair job as well as find and fix the cause of the leak.
Sometimes, homeowners may make decisions about their roof without realizing that it could impact their roof performance. For example, homeowners need to be careful about how they hang Christmas lights from their roof to avoid damaging their shingles or gutters. Walking on your roof without the proper footwear and knowledge can cause damage. Nailing something to your roof can cause damage as well.
Homeowners may also believe that they can put off roof work. However, there are risks to putting off roof leak repairs. The longer you leave a leak, the worse the damage may be, not just to your roof, but potentially to the ceiling and anything you store in your home also. When you make decisions about your roof, be sure to reach out to a professional roofer for guidance.