Severe storms can leave behind significant roof damage. However, it can be hard to know whether you need roof repairs or replacement. Look for water stains on interior ceilings or walls, especially near skylights, chimneys, and vents. Water stains indicate a leaky roof, which will require repairs.
Shingles are the outermost layer of the roof. The shingles are often replaced as part of regular maintenance or repair jobs. Replacing a missing shingle is relatively easy. First, locate the spot where the shingle is missing. Then, purchase a bundle of three-tab shingles as close to a pattern match as possible. Tools needed include a hammer, flat pry bar, and utility knife with 1.25″ nails. Start by removing the course of shingles over the area where the shingle is missing, then carefully pry up one tab at a time until you get to the nail of the damaged shingle. Then, slide the pry bar under that shingle, breaking and lifting the sealant bond. Repeat as needed until the shingle is free of the roof surface.
The shingle’s mastic strip is what seals it to its neighbor shingles. When high winds cause the mastic strips to loosen, the shingles can blow off. This problem can be caused by a variety of issues, including dust, dirt, and debris that cover the mastic strips or by improper installation during roof construction.
A shingle that lifts easily without any effort is a sign of poor condition and should be replaced with a new shingle. It is also a good idea to replace any shingle that is rotten or tattered, as repairing it with roof cement may not be sufficient to hold it in place.
It is important to check the entire roof for signs of leaks. Often, there are other problems that need to be addressed, such as cracked or rotted fascia and rake boards or broken flashing around chimneys, vents, and other structures that penetrate or connect with the roof.
A regular roofing maintenance program should include annual removal of cobwebs and other debris from soffits, recaulking of joints where caulking has shrunk or cracked, painting of flashing to prevent corrosion, and replacement of damaged shingles or sections of the roof. A professional roofer can perform a full inspection and determine the best method to complete any necessary repairs. A full roof replacement is a major undertaking that requires consideration of the cost, benefits, and risks of a roof replacement versus repair.
One of the unsung heroes of roof repair is flashing, a thin sheet of waterproof material that prevents leaks where the walls meet the roof. This includes areas around chimneys, skylights, vents, and other penetrations, as well as spots where shingles meet brick walls or flat roofs.
Flashing is designed to carry water safely over any gaps and direct it to the gutters. It also blocks the cracks and crevices that would otherwise allow water to seep into these spaces, freeze and expand during temperature changes, and cause significant damage to a roof.
Most flashing is made from aluminum, but it can also be copper, steel, or lead. While metal is more durable than most other materials, it can still corrode if not regularly painted or maintained.
A skilled roofer will install flashing correctly, overlapping the ends to create a watertight seal. It will also be installed at an angle to help the water flow off the roof faster, minimizing water damage to the structure below it. In addition, a professional will install counter flashing at the top of each step of flashing, protecting the area from water damage and helping it look more aesthetically pleasing.
During roof tear-off and replacement, a good crew will remove all damaged shingle debris from the home and place it in a roll-off dumpster to avoid damaging foundation plantings or shrubbery. They may also remove and replace any damaged flashing or drip edging. After removing the old shingles, the roofer will install new flashing. If the roof is leaking, this can often be traced back to a problem with the flashing.
If the flashing is rusty, corroded, or bent, it will not be able to do its job of carrying water safely over the gap and directing it to the gutters. If it is not repaired, the homeowner will eventually notice a leak in their attic or in a corner of their house.
Homeowners can often spot a flashing issue by looking for dents or indentations in the metal or noticing that it is rusty, corroded, bent, or cracked. However, it is not uncommon for flashing to be buried under the layers of shingles, so it can be difficult to identify without a thorough roof inspection.
Gutters (also called eavestroughs) direct water off the roof into a single flow that moves away from the house. They also keep soil erosion and flooded basements from causing damage to your foundation and siding. If you don’t maintain them properly, however, they can become clogged with debris and overflow. The resulting stagnant puddles can soak the soil and rot your fascia boards, causing paint to peel and siding to deteriorate.
The gutter system consists of vertical sectionals (called downspouts) and drainage pipes that carry rainwater to a drain or the ground. It’s important to install a gutter system that’s designed for the style of your home. Otherwise, your gutters may overflow during heavy rains, which can erode the soil around the house or cause stains on the siding.
You can fix most problems with your gutters by cleaning them regularly and repairing any holes as soon as you spot them. Invest in some metal gutter patching tape, available at most home centers and building supply stores, and a tube of roofing cement to patch any damaged areas. Before you start, scrape away as much old tar or caulk as you can and wire-brush the area to ensure it’s smooth and ready to bond.
Leaks in a gutter usually occur where a seam opens or when rust eats through the metal. A quick repair is to buy some metal-repair tape and cut it to size with a utility knife. Follow the instructions on the packaging to apply it over the damaged area. For best results, use a product that’s formulated to seal gutter seams, as it will better resist rot and corrosion from sun exposure.
Gutters can also develop a hole when the drip edge isn’t installed correctly. Without it, the shingles wick water down into the gutter where they rot and stain the fascia board below. In addition, the gutter may extend beyond the eaves and allow water to seep under the shingles. A leaky gutter can rot the fascia and damage the soffit, requiring replacement. If your gutters aren’t properly sloped toward the downspouts, they can fill up with water and freeze in cold weather.
The soffit is a piece of trim that covers the underside of your roof overhang, protecting the attic and rafters from moisture and rodents. It also helps to ventilate the attic, which is important because heat can build up in the attic and cause sheathing and rafters to rot. Soffits are made of wood or wood-grain material and can be painted to match your home’s color scheme.
Although soffits are a great addition to the visual appeal of your roof, they are not immune from damage caused by water or other elements. Water damage to the soffit can lead to rotting and mold, which may be difficult to detect without a thorough inspection of your roof structure by a professional. If left untreated, a soffit can become completely saturated with moisture and begin to decay, requiring it to be replaced entirely.
A damaged soffit can be a source of leakage, which can result in mold and mildew, which are dangerous to your family’s health. It can also be a nesting place for pests, such as mice or squirrels, which will cause additional damage to your roof and attic. Soffits and fascia can also be damaged by snow or ice, which can loosen the fasteners that hold them in place.
When the soffit becomes saturated with water or moisture, it can cause wood rot, which can weaken the rafters and sheathing of your roof. If left untreated, the rot can spread to other parts of the roof structure, leading to a collapsed or fallen roof.
Another way to tell if your soffit is in need of repair is by listening to your attic. If you hear noises in your attic that weren’t there before, it could be a sign of pests or rodents invading your house, and it’s important to call a roofing company right away. In addition to the structural damage, pests invading your home can cause a wide range of problems, including electrical issues and unhealthy air quality. If you think your soffit is in need of repairs, call the trusted roofing professionals at Colony Roofers today for a free roof inspection!