Understanding the overall health of your roof can be done by paying attention to some signs.
Despite the important role that the roof plays, it is often the most overlooked part of the house. In fact, many homeowners assume that when the roof is doing its job, it is in good condition and they would avoid doing inspections. It is only when the roof actually fails and rain starts trickling inside the house that this area is given attention.
The truth, however, is that no matter how sturdy a roof looks, it will give out signs when it is not doing well. So before the worse happens to your home’s cover, it is a good idea to pay attention to some of the signs that your roof is telling you and understand what they indicate about the health of this part of your house.
Ceiling and exterior walls filled with water spots
Water spots are a common occurrence on ceilings and exterior walls, but many homeowners simply choose to ignore them. However, these stains may actually be indicative that your roof has leaks and the bad part about this is that the leaks’ position can be difficult to figure out, especially if they are tiny.
Such difficulty can be attributed to the fact that the water dripping from the leaks does not head straight to the ceiling. More often than not, it will travel first to other parts of the roof before it gets on the insulation where it does not dry up easily and then leaves behind an unsightly yellow stain on the ceiling. In the case of the exterior walls, a damaged, rusted or loose flashing is usually pointed out as the culprit. Unless you have the time to find where the leaks are, a roofing contractor is your best bet to figure out the exact position of the leaks and patch them up before they cause further damage
It should be pointed out, however, that a water stained ceiling and exterior walls do not automatically mean you have a leaky roof. The stains could also be the result of condensation, plumbing leaks and damaged windows. However, if the stains only appear or grow in size after the rain, then a leaky roof is the most likely cause.
Washed out granules and cracks on shingles
Notice cracks on your shingles as well as granules collecting on your gutters and flowing out of your downspouts? These are clear signs that your roof’s shingles are nearing the end of their service life.
While the granules of shingles are there to protect them against the weather, frequent exposure to the sun’s UV rays make them brittle. Eventually, they fall out and flow into gutters and downspouts every time it rains. With the shingles completely exposed to the sun, they become more vulnerable to cracks, which when left unattended could lead to more serious problems such as leaks. As such, when you see these problems, it is about time to replace your roof’s aging shingles with new ones.
Roof shingles that are curled on the corners or are looking curvy is an indication that they are aging. An attic that is not properly vented may also contribute to the problem. Whenever the attic gets too hot, especially during summer, it heats up the entire roof, including the underside of the shingles. When that happens, the shingles age easily and its corners turn up. If left as is, the curled shingles will provide entry for wind-blown rain, resulting to leaks on the roof. In such case, the only possible solutions are to reshingle your roof and at the same time correct how the attic is vented.
Missing or dislodged shingles
High winds are not the primary cause for missing or loose shingles. It is more likely the result of an unwanted critter getting on your roof or a damaged sealant strip, which attaches the shingles to the membrane.
When critters get on your roof, they have the tendency to scratch the shingles to gain entry. As a result the shingles could get dislodged, allowing the critter to get inside your home. Another reason is that the sealant on the underside that helps keep the shingles in place may have already worn out or are already brittle due to frequent sun. Consequently, the shingle may get knocked off by severe winds.
The best fix for this is to immediately replace the missing or loose shingles. When applying the new shingles, be sure to follow the overlapping pattern to keep water at bay. If the missing shingle or even the newly applied one interrupts the pattern, water will eventually find its way inside your house.
Roof leaks as temperature runs between warm and cold
This is a definite indication of an ice dam, which is the result of freeze-thaw cycles that allow ice to form on the roof, blocking melting snow from draining. Over time, the water from the snow that has melted as the temperature becomes warm can get under the shingles and find its way inside.
Your best defense against ice dams is to ensure that your attic is properly insulated. This will help prevent ice dams from forming on your roof as the insulation helps stops warm air from escaping into the attic, which in turn would melt the snow. You should also beef up the attic’s ventilation to keep the space cooler and prevent ice dams from affecting your roof.