Your roof is probably the most important component of your house, at least on a technical aspect. It’s easy to forget this, given how important other things (such as your foundation and structure) also are. But, when you really think about it, it becomes somewhat obvious how critical a component it is, and how disastrous it can be if something goes wrong with it.
Your roof is basically your home’s main line of defense against loss of climate control, water damage, pests, and much more. A bad roof can be the ruination of your resale value, devastating to your curb appeal, and very bad for your insurance. If it’s severe enough, your home could even wind up condemned.
This is why we recommend a biannual roof inspection, and close attention to maintenance, even if it seems trivial and not very advanced. In the interim, though, there are also some things you can readily spot which are harbingers of bigger problems. These are very noticeable problems, ones that, themselves, are very much a call to action in and of themselves.
Today, we’re going to look at eight of these signs of trouble, the problems they pose, and the severe issues that usually are the causes. If you spot these, you should immediately get a professional to inspect and repair your roof, as the longer these persist, the more severe the problems will become, and the more costly the repairs of the roof (and the collateral damage to your home) will be.
#1 – Water Stains and Spots on Your Ceiling
Anyone who’s seen a shabbier home or building that clearly has aged and not been maintained over that time as much as is ideal, has seen a water spot or two. Many times, they’re old, from problems of the past being remedied, but without the ceiling plaster being remediated to eliminate the lasting battle scars produced.
However, if you’re seeing these beginning to appear, or existing ones not fading, but rather spreading, then you have a real problem. These are caused by water pooling on the other side of your ceiling, often saturating insulation as well.
Over time, your plaster will begin to sag and crack as well, and things like a risk of the ceiling falling, or molds cultivating, become immediate worries. Where is this water coming from?
Assuming you don’t have water lines running through your ceiling (and you mostly shouldn’t), this means moisture is getting in, in copious amounts. This could be from a number of issues, but they’re all almost certainly related to your roof. Some of the other problems we’ll discuss could be causes of this in and of themselves.
#2 – Exterior Water Spots
Similarly, if you’re seeing stains and spots appearing on exterior walls or faces of your home, it means that water is getting into places it shouldn’t, under the materials and into joints and seams where it shouldn’t be. This is usually a sign that said seals and seams are compromised – these do degrade over time, no matter how well-implemented and well-maintained they might be.
#3 – Gutters Full of Debris
Gutters are a necessary evil. Nobody likes having to clean them, and they’re prone to damage and sagging when they get properly over-loaded and gummed up. However, while getting leaves and other tree waste building up in your gutters and downspouts is not uncommon, other debris appearing can be a bad sign.
Are you getting flakes or grains of stuff showing up, very heavy and clearly not supposed to be there? That’s a sign of your roofing material beginning to decay, and if you see this, chances are, the next couple problems will also be present to some degree.
#4 – Cracking Shingles
The sun gradually destroys shingles, which causes the previous problem as well as this and the next one. Shingles are not immortal, and even though some of them are lab-tested to last a century these days, that’s just not a realistic thing in the wild.
Temperature fluctuations and intense UV will cause your granules to wear off, and your shingles to become brittle and start to crack and fade over time.
#5 – Cupping, Warping or Buckling Shingles
They don’t always crack, sometimes they’ll cup or warp or buckle in various ways. This is the result of adhesives and nails giving way, the shingles starting to come loose. This is a prime cause of the leakage and water damage we discussed in the beginning, and will lead to the next problem often enough.
#6 – Missing Shingles
Shingles can go missing from roofs. Often, this is associated with wind storms or hurricanes/tornados, but they can disappear “naturally” as well. This usually begins as cracking or warping like above, and eventually, they’ll wash away as debris in gutters.
All of these shingle issues come down to, your shingles are just too old, in relation to the harshness of your climate. They need to be remediated, plain and simple. Fortunately, shingles are designed to be easily replaced, making replacement of damaged or missing shingles trivial to do, if done soon enough, before the damage can grow so much worse.
#7 – Roof Leaks with Cold and Hot Fluctuations
Do you get leaks not when it rains, but when the temperature fluctuates a lot between warm and cold, such as late or early winter? Congratulations, you probably have ice dams. These are formed when water freezes and prevents other water from escaping through gutters and downspouts.
As snow and ice melt, they pool up, and cause water to saturate the roof, and become leaks. These exacerbate shingle problems and so on as well.
#8 – Black Stains on your Roof
If you have black stains beginning to appear, this is a sign of age creeping in, regardless of how old your roof actually is. This one is less severe than others, being mainly just an issue of aesthetics, but means you may need to start keeping an eye on it from then on.
Don’t try to pressure wash your roof, have a professional cleaner do this, and maybe use some fungicide.
These are all signs it’s time to keep a closer eye on your roof, and in many cases, commence with some fairly serious repairs. To learn more, fill out our contact form today!