The condition of the roof is one of the most common concerns for current and future home owners. Unsurprisingly, roof deficiencies are some of the most common issues found during a home inspection.
Although all roofs have a finite life and will eventually require replacement, home inspections reveal that not all roofs need to be replaced immediately. Actually, it's far from it. Most roofs have minor deficiencies that can be addressed quickly and at a low cost. Nonetheless, without proper maintenance and prompt repairs easy fixes can turn into potentially large problems.
The root cause of roof problems is poor maintenance. Without proper maintenance it will lead to rust and corrosion, leaks and other damage.
Components on roofs, particularly when not maintained properly can cause negative effects. We have compiled a list of the top 5 roof issues found during home inspections:
1. Flashings - Sheet metal that surrounds the openings cut in the roof for chimneys, skylights and vents.
Flashings are the first line of defense against leaks and should be properly installed and maintained. Commonly, flashings have screws that are missing or have come undone. They are also prone to rust. Loose or missing screws, bent, broken or rusted flashings will allow water to seep through, especially in larger openings. The seals at all roof penetrations and flashings, and the water tightness of rooftop elements should be checked periodically and repaired or maintained as required.
2. Shingles - Covering of a roof top consisting of interlocking/overlapping material, commonly made of asphalt or ceramic.
Weather elements, including the sun, wind and rain slowly - but surely - have negative effects on roofing shingles. When shingles become worn they blister, dry, curl, crack and/or thin out and come loose. This leaves the underlayment exposed to elements and likely leads to leaks if not fixed. Home owners often think that replacing damaged shingles will break the bank. That's not always the case, many times, particularly early on, roofing shingles can be replaced without having to replace the underlayment of a roof. This not only protects a home from future damage, it also helps save money.
3. Vent and Exposed Pipes - Intake and exhaust vents are used in homes to allow air to enter and exit attics and ventilation spaces.
A poorly ventilated attic can also shorten the life of the roof. If it gets too hot, heat wears the shingles above. Next, because of their unavoidable contact with water and air moisture, a common problem with iron and steel vents and exposed pipes is rust and corrosion. It is important to maintain these components by applying a rust-resistant sealant to help protect from rust. A home inspection company is able to help determine if they are in need of service or beyond repair. Once they have exhausted their useful life, it is important to replace them immediately, as severely corroded vent and exposed pipes will lead to moisture intrusion in the home.
4. Gutters - Ideally, a house will have a gutter along the eave of the roof system to direct rain runoff through a downspout.
Clogged, damaged or improperly sloped gutters and downspouts can cause water to overflow and damage the building. Maintaining gutters is one of the most important things you can do to prevent damage to your home. Most gutter problems can be fixed by the home owners themselves without the need to call in a professional, yet, most home owners forgo gutter maintenance until a problem arises. If a home has no gutter at all, investing in one is a sound choice as they help protect the structural integrity of a home by channeling water away from the foundation.
5. Trees - Landscape trees, plants and bushes in close proximity to the home should be maintained, and branches in contact with the roof top should be cut.
Many homes have trees with branches in contact with the building. Not only does this serve as the perfect bridge for insects and rodents to enter a home, it can also wear and damage the roof if left unattended. A very common problem is moss. Although moss does not have an immediate direct effect on roofs, over time it can become problematic. Enough moss can cause damage to shingles and curl or lift them, allowing moisture under shingles and mold growth can occur. The good news is that moss is very easy to treat and should be taken care of before problems arise.
The roof system, including shingles, vents and skylight flashings, gutters and downspouts should be checked and maintained annually or after an extreme weather change. Home owners should also periodically check for leaks and paint peeling to make sure everything is in satisfactory condition. Most importantly, any deficiencies should be addressed timely before they become problematic. Future home owners can help protect their investment by getting a thorough inspection of the roof and fixing any issues found.
Your roof takes care of you - you should take care of it by keeping it in good shape. Consider the top 5 roof issues found during home inspections and check out your own home. Most maintenance issues can be fixed by owners themselves. If components are out of sight and out of reach, consider hiring a professional to look over your roof and the rest of your home. It is less expensive to prevent than to repair, and you'll thank yourself later.