A Guide to Detecting Subtle and Serious Roof Damage Before It's Too Late
Updated: Jul 31
Severe weather can easily ruin anyone’s day, or home. All roofing systems have a limited lifespan, but storms can speed up the aging process. Weather extremes can leave severe damage on your roof and the rest of your property. After a storm hits your area, you must get a professional inspection. Property damage is not always apparent to untrained homeowners, so it is best to contact a local professional to schedule an inspection. Since the roof protects your home, it is important to get an inspection as soon as possible. Insurance companies only cover costs up to six months after a storm, and you do not want to risk the damage getting any worse.
Here are some common signs and forms of roof damage that any homeowner can look out for to take care of their home.
Wind can create weak areas in your roof by putting pressure on the shingles. After a storm, these weak areas will accelerate the deterioration of your roof. This type of damage is especially hard to identify as it happens gradually over time.
Shingles are your roof’s first line of defense. Wind can cause shingle edges to become raised until they are loose enough to peel off. Depending on the material, shingles can also shatter. This leads to water damage as it can seep underneath the shingles and into your home.
Wind also often brings debris. If you experience strong winds, make sure to check your roof for stray debris as it can easily damage your shingles. If you are inexperienced, or uncomfortable, cleaning your roof then call your local expert roofing company for an inspection.
Don’t assume your roof does not have wind damage just because there has not been a storm, though. Wind is a gradual accelerator of roof deterioration, and once roof shingles are already weakened, it is easier for the wind to cause more impactful damage. Although wind damage is among the most difficult to spot early, if you ever see a shingle in your yard, that is a good indication of damage to your roof.
Hail damage can have devastating consequences. Shingles are easily damaged by larger sized hailstones, but even smaller ones can affect your roof. If hail dents the flashing, or the material protecting the leak-prone areas of your roof, then you may experience leaks.
Asphalt shingles may develop blisters from hail, and if these blisters pop, then your roof is left exposed to the elements. Asphalt shingles use stone granules for durability and protection. When these granules are damaged, the asphalt is left exposed. Without protection, these shingles will crack and leave your roof unprotected.
Damage can also occur to the fiberglass mat beneath the asphalt in the shingle. When large hail impacts your shingles, it creates a break or fracture in the fiberglass mat. Hundreds of these breaks occur on your roof with hail damage. This will allow water to eventually leak through the roof and cause massive damage to your home.
Sometimes hail damage will be present inside. Keep an eye out for leaks or holes in your ceiling.
Significant granule loss is not something you should take lightly. Granules protect your shingles, and your roof, against the harmful effects of the sun. Without them, your roof will not only look unappealing, but it can start to fail early. Curling, lifted and loose shingles all indicate storm damage and require professional attention since these all lead to water damage.
In some cases, it is possible to replace just a few shingles; in others, larger sections need to be replaced. The only way to determine the extent of the damage is to get in touch with an expert roof inspector. Always be careful of the contractors you hire for your roof repair after a storm as ghosting is not uncommon. To be safe, it is always best to work with a local and reputable roofing company.
Aging is one of the most forgotten causes of roof damage. Time can take a massive toll on your roof over time, and all roofing materials are only built to last a finite number of years. You can prepare for a roof replacement by keeping an eye on your roof’s lifespan and keeping track of all receipts and inspection reports.
Sagging is a common sign of a roof failing from age. Your roofline should appear flat from the end of your driveway. When a roof sags, the wood that is supposed to hold it in place is not doing its job properly. This could be because the load may be uneven, which can cause the wood underneath to crack or splinter. If that happens, your entire roof could collapse. The sag may be gradual, but schedule an inspection to be safe.
Loss of granules is another sign of an aging roof. Bald spots may appear on your shingles, which is both harmful to your roof and unappealing to the eye. Granules may be found in your gutters, so it is important to clean those out as well.
Leaking is another sign to look out for. With the loss of granules, and shingles, the wood in your roof can become damaged and sag, but it can also lead to mold growth. When caught early enough, mold growth can be dealt with by just replacing a few shingles. However, the longer it lives in your roof the worse it will be and eventually the only remedy will be a complete roof replacement.
DAMAGE UNDER THE ROOF
Structural damage occurs if your roof has been compromised. Aging, water infiltration, and pests, such as termites that enter through holes in a roof, all contribute to the damage underneath your roof. This type of damage is also not always easy to see right away. An inspector will be able to identify if there is any structural damage to your roof. It is crucial to address structural damage as soon as possible. Otherwise, important parts of your house could just collapse, which causes a safety risk to you and your home. This is especially true if you are installing heavier types of roofing, such as ceramics. When installing ceramic roofs, it is very likely that your home will need to be reinforced to hold the weight.
Before your roof is replaced, structural damage needs to be fixed, or it can cause damage to your brand-new roof. Like sagging, if there is not enough support, the roof can start to bow in and break, which can be hazardous.
Once your shingles are damaged, water damage poses a huge threat. Without fixing your roof, you risk mold growth, blisters, and leaks within your home. This is why repairing roof damage is imperative. Contact a local expert inspector if you suspect you might have roof damage. A contractor will be able to help cover your roof with a tarp until the repair can take place in order to minimize any damages in the meantime. The longer you wait to schedule a roof inspection and repair, the worse the damage will get. Sometimes time makes all the difference between a roof repair and a complete roof replacement.
Flashing is the material used to seal out water around the places that easily let water in. It is typically found around things like the chimney, skylights, and vents, as well as other things that stick out from your roof. Flashing can curl, crack, or corrode, and when this is damaged or broken, it cannot block out water the way it is supposed to. This is a problem you need to address immediately, because even a small leak can turn into a huge problem very quickly. If you notice a leak, make sure to check the flashing as well as the shingles on your roof.
When something is amiss with your roof, your home’s ventilation will take an immediate hit. One sign that indicates you may have poor roof ventilation is energy bills that seem much higher than usual. If air is getting trapped in your attic, your HVAC system has to work harder to heat or cool down your home.
Trapped air in your attic can lead to moisture buildup. You should check for mold growth, condensation, and damaged insulation. Mold and fungi growth can cause excessive dirty spots to accumulate on your roof, as well. This poses both a safety risk and looks unsightly. Your roof may also exhibit signs of rust, or the paint and wallpaper in your home may even be peeling. Check your gutter for rust as well, as this can cause leaks.
Gutters are another essential part of your home that help protect your roof. Your gutters are responsible for carrying water away from your home, so it does not seep into your foundation. As mentioned above, gutters can be damaged by hair, wind, debris, and rust. Although gutters naturally accumulate foreign objects, it should never become blocked. A gutter blockage will prevent any water needing to run down from moving, which will greatly harm your shingles. This can put your whole foundation at risk. Wintertime is especially problematic for your gutter system. In the winter, keep an eye out for icicles forming on your gutters, as this is a sign of an ice dam. If your gutters are damaged in a storm, there’s a good chance that your roof has at least some damage as well. When having your gutters replaced, contractors will take extra safety measures to make sure your siding and windows are not damaged. They may also check your gutter system again to ensure there are no underlying issues such as rotting wood.
Fascia are the boards that face outward beneath your roofline. If the paint on these boards is blistering or peeling away, your fascia may be suffering from water damage. When gutters become damaged and cannot drain properly, it can result in water being held against your home for extended periods of time. Water is never good news for roofing materials, so if you see that the paint on your fascia appears to be blistering or peeling, you need to have your local expert inspector check out your roof for water damage as soon as possible.
Surprisingly, summer weather can be one of the toughest seasons for your roof to deal with. The constantly changing weather conditions threaten your roof with extreme heat, rain, moisture leakage, and other types of shingle damage. These can all lead to mold, mildew, and devastating roof damage. It is not uncommon to experience leaks from your roof caused by cracks from hot weather on the pitched roof-lines, and other potential rotting flashing, and sheathing cracks. Summer weather and other seasonal elements can be brutal on any building’s outer structure. This and time are the biggest impactors to the integrity of your roof.
Your roof is only so strong. It will only withstand so much before it’s shield cracks.
Your roof shingles are your home’s first line of defense against the elements. If they are damaged, they cannot perform properly. For your safety, if any of your shingles are missing, cracked, or outright broken, you need to have them repaired or replaced immediately. Inspectors can spot damage that is not easily seen from the ground. Do not wait to schedule a roof inspection because insurance companies only cover up to six months after a storm. Make sure to take photos or videos of any roof damage you see to help bolster your insurance claim. And just because the damage is not visible at the moment does not mean it is not there.
Conducting regular roof cleaning and roof inspections, staying on top of drainage issues, and making an investment in protecting your roof will pay off immensely because you will prolong the lifespan of your home’s first line of defense against the elements. Contact Lifetime Quality Roofing to schedule your free inspection today!