Cold weather can be tough on a home, and perhaps no part of a home is more vulnerable to harsh winter weather than its roof.
Fallen snow can equate to several pounds of pressure placed on a residential roof. Roofs do not often collapse under heavy snowfall. But adverse winter weather conditions can compromise roofs in other ways. Water leakage and damage to the roof’s interior are just two of the potentially problematic issues that can arise when roofs are battered by cold, blustery weather.
Many homeowners can conduct their own cursory roof inspections, but they may not know exactly what to look for. The National Roofing Contractors Association says that there are certain key areas to inspect that may reveal some telltale signs of roof damage.
• Curled, cracked or missing shingles may prove troublesome. Inclement weather can test the strength of even the most durable roofs. Even though many roofs are designed to last up to 30 years, some may need to be replaced early, particularly when they have been exposed to harsh weather over a period of years. Individual shingles can be replaced as spot treatments, but if the damage is widespread, a new roof may be necessary.
• Attic leaks or water elsewhere might signal issues with the roof. Figure out if water inside the home is coming from the roof. Water stains do not always indicate problems with the roofing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
• Look for protective granules wearing off. If gutters are filled with the sandy granular material that coats roofing shingles, that may be a sign of an aging or damaged roof.
• Inspect flashing. Professional roofers can recognize properly installed flashing, the material that connects the roof to other parts of the house that adjoin the roof, like skylights or a chimneys. Poorly installed flashing can cause leaks. Stains that appear below chimneys or near attic windows may indicate new flashing, and not new shingles, is needed.
• Gutters and downspouts should be in good condition. A roof is the sum of its parts, and that includes downspouts and gutters. If the gutters are clogged or damaged, they cannot direct water away from the house properly. Snow, leaves and other debris needs to be cleared from gutters to help them function at optimal capacity.
• Animals and insects can cause damage, too. It’s not just poor weather that homeowners need to consider with regard to roof damage. Boring insects and animals may cause problems with roofs as well. A roof inspection may shed light on potential pest problems. Holes or nesting materials may indicate that an animal or animals are using the attic as a shelter from the elements.
Get to the root of issues with your home’s roof before they become bigger problems once winter arrives. A thorough inspection can reveal problems that may prove costly if ignored.
CAPTION: Inspect a roof each fall to get an idea of the potential damage and any necessary repairs that may be needed before nasty weather sets in.