Causes of Roof Damage and Preventative Measures
What is the most important part of your home? The foundations, the walls, the interior; all are important, but the roof is probably top of the list. The roof not only keeps the elements out, it protects the walls and foundations from internal water damage, so it must be kept in tiptop condition. Roofs are weaker than the walls they protect and are prone to similar causes of damage and defects. Here are a few of these causes and some helpful tips on how to prevent them.
Lack of Maintenance
Few of us venture up a ladder or climb out of a skylight to check our roof's condition. It's a specialised job, and there are good reasons to get a maintenance check carried out on a regular basis, especially when seasons of inclement weather approach. Roofing jobs can be expensive, but with periodic checks, the chance of bigger, more expensive, surprise repairs will be reduced. Try using binoculars to get a general view of the roof's condition. This is a good way to spot loose tiles or slates, gutter or flashing damage. If there is minor damage, call a professional roofing company to not only carry out repairs, but also to assess the extent of the damage. Even a small amount of damage allows in rain, which can cause serious harm to the roof's structure, and a small problem can soon turn into a major repair.
Wear and Tear
Like anything that is exposed to the elements, roofs suffer wear and tear from natural causes. Wind, rain, hail, ice, and sunlight all affect roofing materials differently. Hail is particularly damaging, acid or polluted rain can cause erosion, and houses close to industrial areas are susceptible to damage from air pollution.
Excessive heat and UV rays from sunlight can cause roofs, especially wooden, to deteriorate. Some tiles have a UV protective coating, but over time this erodes, and further UV ray exposure coupled with heat dries out and weakens the tiles. So after a spell of hot weather inspect the roof for heat damage such as curled tiles or blistering.
Different roofing materials are affected in different ways. For example, hail causes more damage to clay tiled and wooden roofs, but certain "hail resistant" materials such as concrete and metal can add better protection for longer.
Melting and freezing snow on roofs causes what is known as an "ice dam" which causes reservoirs of water which seeps under tiles leading to serious damage underneath the surface. This can be prevented by either laying a protective membrane under the roofing material or installing heating cables in the eaves.
Roofs are especially prone to wind damage. Aside from blowing off loose or broken roof components, high winds cause changes in air pressure in and around the roof, lifting off tiles, ridging and flashing. Before seasonal high winds, it's advisable to have the roof checked by a professional roofer and any weak spots repaired before minor damage becomes major damage.
Even in times of clement weather roofs can sustain damage. Falling objects from nearby buildings, birds and small animals, and falling branches from trees all can cause minor damage which often cannot be safeguarded against. Yet another reason to have your roof inspected regularly by a trustworthy professional roofer.