Common Roof Problems - Prevent Serious Damage To Your Roofs
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Common Roof Problems

Published by Andrew Schmidt

Even the best-built roof will wear out and become damaged by the elements. Take a look at the following common roofing problems and know what to look for in order to prevent more serious damage.


When your roof gets old or is damaged by weather, there are common areas that tend to form leaks. Keep an eye out for these problem areas and take preventative measures to fix them before more severe damage occurs.

Leaks at joints: Joints between the roof and the chimney or between two sloped sections of the roof are highly susceptible to forming leaks.

Broken or cracked shingles: Water can seep through the roof and into your home if the roof has a shingles that are cracked or broken. Shingles tend to deteriorate on the southern side of a roof first because of the exposure to the sun, so inspect that side initially.

Leaks along flashing: Flashing is used wherever something sticks up through the roof line (chimneys, vent stacks, etc.), and over time the location of flashing may become weak, and rain can find its way under the shingles. If you catch it early enough, you can reseal small gaps. If it is left untended, it could become a major leak requiring extensive repairs.

Even small leaks can result in wood rot and mold growth. When inspecting your attic for leaks, look for dark streaks on the boards that form the underside of the roof.

Weather damage

A roof is designed to withstand forces of nature, but over time bad weather and storms can take their toll.

Summer storms: Hail storms are particularly damaging because balls of ice striking shingles can leave dents that will then become weak spots. It is wise to have your roof inspected after a severe hail storm to document any damage. Most home insurance policies cover this and may even pay for an entirely new roof if the damage is widespread.

Winter weather: It is rare for the weight of snow to collapse a roof, but a more common source of winter roof damage is ice damming. Ice dams occur when icy snow builds up low on the roof along gutters, but starts to melt higher up on the roof. The ice, acting as a dam, causes water to pool up and find its way beneath shingles. If your attic has poor insulation, chronic ice damming may occur.

Ice can also build up if your gutters weren’t cleaned well enough in the fall. When a downspout is clogged, it causes melting snow to accumulate in the gutters and refreeze. Then, more ice forms as icicles hanging from the frozen gutters. In addition to leaks, the weight of the ice can cause the gutter to sag or fall.

Soffit and fascia damage

The wood or metal panel on the underside of the roof’s overhang is known as the soffit. The fascia is the board the runs behind the gutter or along the roof line to box in the overhang. Both the soffit and the fascia are susceptible to water damage over time. If the roof drip edge, which directs water into the gutters, is missing or damaged, water will rot the fascia board before continuing destruction to the soffit. Squirrels, birds and raccoons like to nest in a soft and will take advantage of a weak spot that allows them to get inside.

Causes and prevention: The best thing you can do is clean your gutters at least twice a year; once in the spring and once in the fall after all the leaves have come down.

Making repairs: If you have the time and skills, you can repair this yourself, but if your fascia boards are rotted you would have to take down the gutters first. This usually requires at least two people on separate ladders. Call a roofer when the work becomes too much for you.

Roof inspections

Along with professional inspections, you can look for some tell-tale signs on your own.

  • Look for shingles that are curling or blistering – these need to be replaced.
  • Spot any loose material or wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations.
  • Identify excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutter – the granules give shingles extra weight and protect them from UV rays.




Courtesy of Angie’s List

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