You suspect that your roof has water damage, but are not sure. What are some steps you can take to make an informed decision? Water damage demands immediate action, not calculated guesses. In addition, finding a roof leak can be problematic because the signs may indicate one location when the actual leak is in another location. Not only can roof leaks cause structural damage to your home, un-repaired leaks can lead to mold and mildew which, in turn, can cause health problems.
Indoor & Outdoor Inspection
An outdoor and indoor inspection can help you find problem areas before they become leaks. Check the fascia and exterior walls, usually at the seams. Missing or damaged shingles which may be curled, cracked or torn, can be repaired if it covers less than 30% of the entire roof. Look for curling, loss of granulation, mold or decay. Learning the basics about your roofing material can help you spot damage.
During the indoor inspection, look for:
According to dryhome.com, 90% of all leaks happen at flashings. Flashings are easily repaired or replaced, so check around chimneys, vents, skylights, wall/roof junctions, antennas and satellite dishes. Chimney flashings settle independently from the house which causes tearing. These should be checked regularly during a roof inspection and gutter cleaning.
Decay or rust on gutters, leaky seams, bent or sagging or missing sections of gutter or downspout can cause inadequate drainage. Clogged gutters can freeze shut in winter which causes excessive weight on fasteners and ice dam conditions.
Proper ventilation is essential for long roof life. Blocked ventilation can cause heat and moisture to build up in an attic, causing rafters and sheathing to rot, shingles to buckle and insulation to be ineffective. The NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) recommends a minimum of 1 square foot of free vent area for each 150 square feet of attic floor, with vents placed proportionately at the eaves and at or near the ridge.
Water stains are always an indication that there is a roof leak. Finding the exact location of the leak may be difficult due to the fact that water can enter the roof at one point but then runs down to the location of the leak. Or the leak is higher up but the water soaks into the ceiling at another point farther down the roof. In addition, some stains may be difficult to see because they occur in hidden or dark corners. Upon finding a discoloration or water stain on the ceiling or walls, investigate further for mold or mildew.
Drips also indicate a roof leak, even if it goes away. Ice dams are caused by freezing and thawing of melted snow and ice which has moved under the shingles and then freezes again. This blocks proper drainage into the gutters. Gutters and downspouts which are not keep free of debris will cause water to back up under the roof shingles.
Trees & Bushes
Trees and bushes can cause moss and algae to grown on shingles and shakes, causing rot and deterioration. They can also scratch and/or gouge the roof, and falling branches can damage or puncture shingles or other roofing material. Trimming trees and bushes away from the home will lessen dampness and keep debris from the roof and gutters.
Finding roof damage before a leak appears is always a homeowners first choice. A professional roof inspection can save homeowners thousands of dollars by spotting minor damage. Keeping the roof in good condition by regular inspections and replacing missing or torn shingles and replacing torn flashing is a priority. Repairing a roof without water damage will save the homeowner time and money. In addition, a trained roofing professional has the tools and techniques to check your roof safely.
According to Angie's List, there are six signs which indicate it's time to call in a professional:
Suspected roof leaks should not be ignored. Delaying action on a roof leak can cause extensive damage to your entire home, including the ceiling, walls, and even the foundation. Because water damage can manifest itself in many different ways and locations, it is important to know where and what to look for when it comes to identifying water damage.
Harper Roofing offers a free roof inspection in the Charleston area. We will inspect your roof and give you an honest assessment of what is needed.We are a preferred contractor with The Better Business Bureau, carrying an A+ rating. We have a long history of satisfied customers, including a 5 star rating on Houzz.
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Harper Roofing specializes in re-roofing residential homes in Charleston, South Carolina. Follow our blog for info on maintaining your home and protecting your family.