The top ten most common problems with residential roofs
Owning a home requires a lot of work. It’s easy to miss things with so much that needs attention. That’s why we’re going to list out the top ten most common problems with residential roofs, so that you can identify roof problems easier.
With the extreme weather that we experience in Winnipeg, our roofs take a heck of a beating. We have hot and humid temperatures in the summer and minus-too-much in the winter, which causes a lot of stress on the roof and shingles.
If you’ve owned a home in Winnipeg for a long time, you already probably know about a lot of the problems that occur. But if you’re a relatively new homeowner, hopefully this list will help you out.
Remember that roofing is hard and dangerous work and should be carried out by professional roofing companies.
1. Leaky roof
Probably the absolute most common roofing problem is having a roof that leaks. Although common, it’s also very serious.
Leaks in your roof probably point to the protective membrane being damaged or not installed properly. Leaks could also be caused by cracks in the shingles, or badly seams in the under layers.
Common areas of roof leaks are:
- Close to the chimney
- Where flashing points meet
- Below damaged shingles
- Around skylights
- Low spots or valleys
- By the gutters
- Near vents and pipes
Keep in mind that you won’t always see the leak. Therefore, you must look for evidence of a leak. Examples could include discoloured ceilings or damp walls.
Make sure to have a professional look at it as there might be more underlying issues such as mold.
2. Ponding water
If you see water ponding on your roof, or in other words the water is pooling, this could be a very serious sign that something is wrong with:
- Improper drainage of HVAC units
- Improper gutter drainage
- Debris blocking drainage
This is a bigger problem if you have a flat roof.
3. Holes, punctures or penetrations
Here in Winnipeg, our roofs take a beating. We have extreme temperatures, high winds with the potential to cause flying debris, and lots of little critters.
Over time, all of these things, in addition to people going on your roof, can amount to a hole or puncture in your roof.
The problem is that the underlayer of wood gets exposed and that exposure could cause rotting from moisture.
After every major wind or hail storm, you should at the very least do a visual inspection of any household appliance vents and HVAC vents.
While trees are beneficial in that they can help shield our homes against harmful UV rays and high winds, they become a nuisance if the branches get too low and start rubbing against the roof.
If you have any tree limbs that are touching the shingles, you might want to have someone cut that branch off, as the shingles will lose its protective layer a lot faster than normal.
5. Improperly installed flashing
The importance of hiring a quality and reputable roofer is critical to the longevity of your roof and everything underneath it.
The flashing is the material that seals any penetrated areas of the roof, such as vent pipes, skylights, chimneys, and heating and cooling systems. If it’s not installed properly, you may get open seams and laps, which in the end will cause shingles to blow away.
Additionally, if flashing is not installed properly, it can cause leaks.
No, we’re not talking about George Costanza’s infamous shrinkage incident. Rather we’re talking about when the roof membrane, the layer under the shingles, shrinks.
A shrinking roof membrane can lead to an array of other problems, such as:
- Cracks or crazing in the upper layer
- Surface erosion of shingles
- Flashing getting pulled apart
7. Poor or improper installation
It kind of goes without saying, but it needs to be said because it keeps happening!
Either we’re trying to save a few bucks, or we don’t do our due diligence when contracting a Winnipeg roofing company, and we end up suffering with a poorly or improperly installed roof.
When you’re looking for a Winnipeg roofing contractor, check the reputation and the warranty on workmanship.
8. Clogged or blocked gutters
Before there’s a massive rainfall, and water is overflowing out of the gutters in places that it shouldn’t be, you might want to check to see if you have clogged or blocked gutters. This is a relatively easy and quick way to prevent potential rotting or mold damage in the future.
When gutter water backs up, it can leak into the eaves, which can lead to rot. Try installing gutter screens to prevent debris from clogging the drainage.
9. Snow and ice damage
Every winter, it never fails to snow in Winnipeg. And every spring, we get snow and ice that melt into water, which then seeps under the shingles. A big problem is if that water refreezes because that can cause the flashing or shingles to lift, leaving even bigger gaps for more water to get into.
A good way to avoid this is to schedule a fall checkup and a spring checkup by professional roofers who know what they’re doing and what to look for.
10. Lack of maintenance
It goes without saying that what we put into something is consequently reflected in what we get out of it.
One of the biggest issues is that we forget about our roof and small problems that are easy and cheap to fix turn into big problems that are very involved and expensive.
If you take care of the first nine items on this list, this tenth one takes care of itself. But we know that not everyone has the money to pay for regular roof maintenance. If that’s the case, educate yourself enough so that you can at least identify any evolving problems.