“What goes up, must come down.” I just coined that phrase after studying the teachings of Sir Isaac Newton. It’s good right? Well yeah, it’s catchy, but for a house with a roof in disrepair, that stylish turn of phrase portends bad news. You see, the moisture at the top of a house, well, it must come down. And the duty of a roof is to make sure that when it does come down, that moisture does not come down on the wood, insulation, carpeting, stuffed animals, and other wetness averse belongings that keep us safe and happy in our homes.
Okay, roof repairs are important, but why do the need to be done immediately?
The same reason a hole in a bucket or a crack in a bathtub need to be repaired immediately. A roof issue may not seem like much at first, but in a rain shower or snowstorm, water will find it’s way through the smallest hole in the armor. When that happens, the entire house is susceptible.
Furthermore, shingles depend on each other. For instance, asphalt shingles, the type found on most single family homes, are each glued to each other with a line of tar that runs across the face of each shingle. If the wind gets under one shingle, that shingle can yank up the next one and then the next and the next until the roof looks like someone ran plow across it. Fixing a roof issue right away keeps a small problem from turning into a big one.
What does a damaged roof look like?
Roof damage does not always look dramatic. A few green patches of moss or algae growing on the roof may seem like nothing, but imagine holding a wet sponge against a piece of wood all day and expecting it not to rot. These guests love water and they love to grow. Their presence often signals that too much moisture is accumulating in one place on the roof, and damage to the wood underneath is not far behind. Check under trees. Long branches and wildlife jumping in and out of them, can put scratches and tears in a shingle.
Look for flashing that is coming loose. Roofers often lay thin metal sheets called flashing over trouble spots, as well as around skylights, sun tubes, and anything else that comes up through the roof. Because these places are a break in a roof’s consistent, flat surface, they require more skill to work on. When done poorly, these places can be exposed to more weathering and cause problems over time.
Gutters can cause roof leaks. A gutter full of debris can be just as damaging to your roof as a shingle coming loose. Clean them out a couple times a year.
What should I do if I notice damage to my roof?
If you have a guarantee from the roofing contractor who installed your roof, call them. Whatever you do, don’t try to fix it yourself. The places that need fixing on a roof are also where it’s most likely the wood is rotting through and unable to support your weight. Besides, will you know how to assess whether the damage is limited to the shingles or if it is affecting the underlayment and wood paneling as well? The roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, keep it, and yourself safe by calling a professional.