Some sources of damage are as plain as day, while others can sneak up on us without any warning—slowly causing harm over long periods of time. It’s important to know what types of things can impair our roofs so we can fix the problem—large or small—as soon as it presents itself.
Moisture is at the root of most roofing problems. If you experience any of the other issues in this post, it’s important to deal with them promptly to avoid moisture from seeping into your roof and damaging your home’s structure. Moisture can lead to mold and mildew problems, poor indoor air quality, water spots on ceilings and walls, rot, deterioration, and damaged materials (insulation, drywall, carpet, etc.).
2. Strong Winds
Wind is one of the most common culprits of roof damage. If winds are strong enough, they can lift up the edges of your shingles, leaving your roof exposed to the elements. After a storm or day with high winds, scan your yard for singles. If you see any, call a professional contractor to inspect your roof for damage.
When you think of a tree damaging your roof, you probably imagine the whole tree or a large branch falling on your home and smashing anything in its path. Trees have less obvious ways of causing destruction, however, that you should be aware of.
If you have overhanging branches above your home, algae and moss could potentially transfer from the tree to your roof and begin growing there. While algae typically won’t harm your roof, it’s a parasite that can make your roof look bad if left to flourish. Moss, on the other hand, can cause harm by covering your roof in damp patches that can cause deterioration.
Debris that falls from trees—such as pine needles, leaves, and twigs—may seem harmless, but if it builds up on your roof and in your gutters, it can harbor moisture. Keep your gutters and downspouts clear and your roof clean to avoid this problem.
Bugs and animals (like birds, mice, and squirrels) can harm your roof by chewing into materials and building nests in your roof or the walls of your home. They can also spread disease, so if you find you have an infestation, call a pest control company to advise you on the best course of action, and then call your roofer to repair any damage done.
Hail damage can be difficult to spot, so it’s wise to call a contractor to inspect your roof for you after a storm. Sometimes you’ll notice granules on the ground around your home and in your gutters or large dents and cracks in roofing structures. Other times, however, damage could be much less noticeable, such as bruising or hairline cracks in shingles.
If enough snow piles on top of your roof in the winter, the weight could place stress on your home. While it’s unlikely that heavy snow would result in a cave-in, it can happen, especially in older homes. It’s more likely that snow will damage your home in another way, however—by forming ice dams.
When ice or snow melts on your roof, the water starts flowing downward. When it reaches the eaves, it’s common for this water to refreeze, forming ice dams. This blockage builds up and prevents water from flowing off the edge of the roof and into the gutters as it’s meant to. When water pools behind the dam, it has the potential to seep into your home and cause water damage. Water also expands as it freezes, which can cause materials to lift out of place and break off.
Snow and ice storms aren’t the only harmful winter elements. Cold temperatures can affect your roofing materials as well, making them brittle and more susceptible to breaking.
10. Heat & Ultraviolet Rays
Most people don’t realize the damage the sun can cause, particularly in areas that are already damaged and exposed, such as where shingles or granules are missing. Heat and UV rays can lead to fading on some roofs and cause shingles to dry out and crack; this typically happens on older roofs that are reaching the end of their lifespans.