The roof of your home is the first line of defense against the elements, and it takes a much bigger beating than your walls, windows and doors. Wind, rain, storms, and other severe weather may happen to us all year round. Even when it’s sunny and beautiful, the roof still has a job to do, shading the interior of your home and keeping it cool inside, and in the process of doing that, the roof takes a beating from the sun’s UV rays, causing further deterioration. Rain or shine, your roof is your shelter, and you need it to keep protecting you, your family, and your home from damage. With the help of quality roofing contractors, you’ll achieve that durable roof that can protect your family against natural elements.
However, while most people are aware of the importance of their roof, not everyone is aware of the signs that your roof needs repair. For many people, the purchase of a home is the biggest expense they will make in their whole lives, and a big part of protecting that investment is making sure that the roof is intact. So how do you tell if your roof is vulnerable and needing repair?
So we’ll share some tips for how can a homeowner identify the need of roof repair.
Check and Look for Molds
One of the sure signs of water damage in a home is the presence of unexplained mold. In places that have high enough humidity as it is, leading to favorable conditions for mold growth, and a moldy home is an unhealthy place for you to live, leading to respiratory illness, infection, and inflammation.
If you find mold that has a reasonable explanation for why it’s there (say, in your shower grout), you probably don’t have to assume it’s your roof, but any other mold should be a trigger to cause you to say, “Hey, I wonder if there’s a problem with my roof?” A roof that needs repair can cause mold for a number of reasons. It could be improperly ventilated, causing moisture to build up in your attic and providing ideal conditions for mold to take hold. It could be leaking slowly, introducing a slow-but-steady stream of water that invites mold to multiply.
Look for Water Damages
There are two places to look for water damage: inside and outside your home. Here’s where to look:
Walk around your home and look up at the area where your gutters are located. The vertical boards that your gutters are attached to are soffits, and the horizontal boards underneath are called fascia. Look for any sign of water damage on the soffits and fascia, such as dampness, peeling paint, wood that’s swelling, or mold. If you do see the damage there, the first culprit that may be causing water damage is probably your gutters. Take a quick look and see if they’re clogged or leaking. If everything looks fine with your gutters, however, then the problem probably lies with the roof.
A greyish, irregularly-shaped spot on the ceiling, especially if it’s expanding in size over time. Look particularly at the corners and edges of the walls, as this is where dripping water is most likely to flow and come in contact with your ceiling drywall. It may just look like discolored paint or dust, but if it’s water damage and you don’t attend to it, you could have your ceiling material caving in on you at some point.
Water runs down the indoor surface of your chimneys when it rains. The chimney is a piece of your house that extends up through the roof, and if the flashing around your chimney is damaged, water could be coming through that access point. Put your hand on the chimney brick when it’s raining and see if it feels damp. If it is, you should call a roofer right away.
Look for Loose or Missing Shingles
Loose shingles are a sure sign of needing roof repair. You can experience loose shingles after any storm or windy day, but here in Florida, where we can be subjected to hurricane-force winds from time to time, loose shingles can be a bigger problem than in other areas.
When shingles come loose, water damage to your roof is accelerated. How? Your roof is made of overlapping layers of shingles. Each sheet of shingles is attached with nails in the very top portion of the shingle. These nail holes are then covered up by the next sheet of shingles, meaning that water doesn’t have access to any of the nail holes. However, as soon as any shingle gets loose or comes off entirely, water will have access to the nail holes for the neighboring (downhill) shingle. The nail hole penetrates all the layers: the shingle, the tar paper, and the wood. Now the water has access to get through all these layers and start causing damage where it’s the most costly–the plywood that forms the structure of your whole roof. Left unrepaired, this can lead to costly renovations down the road.
Look for Sagged or Sunken Areas
Look carefully at each side of your roof from a vantage point where you can see the whole thing as well as possible. Do you see any sagging or sunken areas? If so, this is a huge problem and indicates that you should call a roofer right away to get an estimate for repairs. Sagging or sunken areas in a roof are a sign that the plywood or wood decking underneath your shingles may be rotting, and by the time that you can visually notice it sagging, the damage is probably already extensive. In other words, you won’t just need a quick new roof where they lay down new shingles on top of the old ones; you’ll need a tear-off and replacement of the plywood that forms the base of the rest of your roofing materials. The quicker you can notice and address the problem of a sagging or sunken roof, the better, as the longer this problem goes untreated, the more expensive it will probably be.
Check for Water Leaks
We’ve already covered the need to look for water damage, but if the water is actively leaking, you won’t have to look for it–you’ll already know by the puddles that appear on the floor every time it rains. It should be a no-brainer to realize that if it is raining indoors, you need roof repair. Put a bucket under each site where the water is dripping in order to catch the water and prevent the damage from ruining your flooring. Sometimes, water splashes up and out of the bucket since it’s falling from so high up, so you could also put a bath towel or two under each bucket.
Once water is leaking in your home, you’ll probably be facing the most extensive repair yet, possibly requiring replacement of even certain rafters, attic flooring material, ceiling drywall in the rooms underneath. You may also have mold that has spread much further afield than just the leak site, such as all up and down the spaces between your attic floor joists and the ceiling material for the rooms below. Even though the repair to your home will probably be expensive if you have active water leaks from your roof, the damage to your health could be even more costly, and that’s not as easy to fix as hiring a roofing contractor.