12 Common Roof Problems
Is Your Roof Protected?
Ever wonder if your home is safe? Surprisingly, your roof has much more to do with your house’s protection than you might think.
Even though your roof is out of sight and out of mind, it is important to remember that it protects your most precious belongings: your family. In addition to your family’s health, roof maintenance is extremely important because the roof is the most costly part of a house to get replaced. In fact, lack of maintenance can cause your roof to wear out 30% faster than its life expectancy, needing it to be replaced several years sooner. Shockingly, home inspectors have even reported that over 90% of houses inspected have roof deficiencies. We urge you to use this list of the 12 most common roof problems to see if your roof is protected from normal wear-and-tear, perils of nature, or third party damage.
1. Previous repairs that were not performed correctly
A temporary fix used as a permanent fix is the most common improper repair. For example, roof mastic, roof cement, or tar is usually used to permanently repair roofing material; however, they will crack within a year. Another common example is when caulking is used to seal broken roofing material, instead of replacing the broken roofing material. Contractors will also mismatch roofing materials when repairing a roof (say, repairing a Dimensional Composition roof with 3-Tab Composition roofing materials). All of these examples are issues because they do not meet any manufacturer’s specifications to make your roof last to its life expectancy. In this case, the previous contractor aligned all of the cut-outs, significantly increasing the likelihood of wear and tear that will probably cause deterioration and water damage.
2. Deteriorated flashings
Flashings are normally made out of galvanized or copper metal and are designed to carry water away from the roofing materials mostly near penetrations and valleys. This is done in the installation process by putting the top edge of the flashing underneath the underlayment that is directly above it, and then passing the bottom edge of the flashing on top of the roofing material that is directly below it. However, if the flashing then deteriorates, then the seams, nails and joints underneath it are exposed to nature’s elements, causing an area of great leaking.
3. Cracked, missing, or deteriorated sealant around roof penetrations and flashings
Sealant generally is a silicon based caulking that keeps water from getting in. It is used when flashings are not tight enough, when there is a joint between flashings, or when flashings are fastened with nails. If sealant is cracked or deteriorated, then the penetration or flashing is especially susceptible to water getting in and causing a leak.
4. Third party damage
Third party damage can be caused by a variety of things. Typically occurances are from painters standing on the roof while trying to paint a wall on the second floor, kids climbing on the roof to play, basketballs bouncing off the roof, antenna installations, air conditioner installations, satellite dish installations, or tenting houses. Because there are so many opportunities for third party damage to happen, it occurs quite frequently. The problem with third party damage is that it can cause many of these other common roof problems, leading to a high likelihood of leakage.
5. Exposed or misplaced nails
Nails that are exposed or even misplaced have a high likelihood of letting water in, causing leaks. For each different kind of roofing material, the manufacturers have specifications about nail placement in order to decrease the potential of causing a leak. However, if nails are improperly placed or if the sealant that is covering the nail cracks, then your roof is highly susceptible to leaking.
6. Over exposure of roofing material
Over exposure is problematic because it exposes the areas of nail placement, and specifically each individual nail. It also provides less protection because of the fewer layers of roofing material covering any given area. If there is a high wind storm, water could easily be pushed underneath the roofing material because the fewer layers. Water will then travel underneath the roofing material until it finds a nail or joint to leak through.
7. Debris that blocks water-flow
Debris, especially in the valley of the roof, builds up water like a dam. When this happens, water travels sideways and goes underneath the roofing material, creating a high likelihood of leaking.
8. Cracked or broken ridge caps
Ridge caps are designed to keep water from getting underneath roofing material at the ridge. However, if the ridge cap is cracked or broken, then water will get in and travel down the roofing material until it stops at nails or joints. Once this happens, a leak is sure to be on its way.
9. Improper caps on vents
Different vents required certain types of caps. For example, there are many caps are designed to let smoke out while not allowing water to come in and travel down the vent. However, if you have the wrong cap on, then water could drip in through the loose joint of the cap and vent. Whenever water comes inside the vent and flows down to the furnace, for example, it could cause significant damage to the furnace. This also applies to water heaters, dryers, etc.
10. Improper skylight installation or cracked glass
The most common improper installations of skylights are improper flashings or none at all. If you refer back to #2, you could understand why this is a problem. If skylights have cracked glass, then at the next rainfall, it is almost guaranteed to leak.
11. Cracked, broken, or slipped roofing material
If any roofing material is cracked, broken, or slipped, then it exposes the felt underlayment that it beneath the roofing material. Continue to read onto #12 to find out why this is an important red flag.
12. Exposed or deteriorated felt underlayment
For every day that the felt underlayment is exposed due to cracked, broken, or slipped roofing material, ultraviolent rays reach it, causing the oils of the felt underlayment to dry out. When that happens, the felt cracks and when it cracks, water easily finds its way in through the roof. The felt underlayment is the only waterproof material on your roof that blocks the water from coming in. However, when it is cracked, there is nothing stopping water from getting in, and lots of it.
If you suspect your roof has any one of these red flags, then your roof is not protected from leaks. There are easy, quick and cheap remedies for each and every one of these red flags.
Be sure to call Cert-A-Roof immediately so that you can have peace-of-mind and protection!