How often have you looked at your roof? If you’re anything like the average person chances are, it’s not much at all. As the vital protection between you, your family, your personal belongings and the outside world – it pays to ensure you have a strong and reliable roof over your head.
Homeowners underestimate the importance of regular roof checks. You know your roof is there and maybe you glance at it occasionally as you back out the driveway, but it’s rare to remember those little inspections to your roof that can go a long way. On average, you should be arranging a roof inspection at least two times a year. And with the winter season well under way, your roof can now be prone to mould or moisture that if left untreated, can be detrimental to your home. Here’s a few vital warning signs your roof may need some TLC.
1. Missing, Curling or Buckling Shingles
Roof shingles consist of overlapping items that are laid across your homes’ roof and can take a beating in harsh weather conditions. Visually inspect your roof for missing, cracked, curling or buckling of shingles as these warning signs can be a good indicator of a new roof needed. In the areas your home does receive direct sunlight, check the roof specifically in these areas as this tends to be where the shingles will curl.
If any shingles are broken or missing, the system of your roof can be greatly weakened so it’s important to get onto it as soon as possible. The most common causes of damaged shingles are excessive wind, direct sunlight and physical damage. The age of your roof will play a part too.
2. Sagging Areas
From the inside of your home, you’ll be able to inspect places where the roof may be sagging. This is usually caused by dry rot, which tends to happen from poor ventilation and can make your roof very weak and unsafe if left untreated.
Roof sagging is a dangerous warning sign as it can mean it has the potential to collapse. Sagging roofs can also occur from old and deteriorating roof structures and is very easy to spot, so keep on top of this one.
3. Mould, Moisture or Rot
Especially throughout the colder and wetter months, moisture build up and mould growing can be quite common. Depending on the severity of the issue, it can be treated by mould spray in area but it’s a good idea to have a professional take a look too. Moss can be removed by scrubbing the area and treating the shingles, but if the roof already looks damaged or weakened by the growth – you may need to have a professional replace the roof.
Wet spots can appear anywhere on the roof, even if the shingles in that area are not damaged. Because water travels down the lower spot in the roof before it drips, mould and other bacteria can form pretty quickly. And whilst a little moss or plant growth may look ‘pretty’, it’s not a good sign for your roof at all.
4. Water Damage or Leaking
Any sign of water damage of leaking from your roof should raise an immediate red flag. If left untreated; mould, rot and other forms of harmful bacteria will grow – normally within 24 to 48 hours of a water related problem so acting quick is key.
Most water damage and roof leaks can be seen visibly from inside your home, so they’re easy to spot. If there’s an excessive amount of shingle granules (similar appearance to large grains of sand), this too can be a sign of advanced water damage and should be treated immediately.
5. Damaged Flashings
When it comes to your roof’s safety, flashings are essential. Flashings prevent water from entering areas in the roof that are ‘flashed’. They tend to be around walls which intersect with the roof, in vent stacks, chimneys, skylights and other areas.
The flashings around these intersections seal these areas, protecting them from rain and other harsh elements. In older homes, the flashings are usually made out of cement or tar so it can be worthwhile upgrading them to a metal system for better durability. Flashings should be checked for cracks and spaces.
6. Gutter Inspection
For a happy and healthy roof, your gutters drainage and downspouts need to be securely attached and working effectively. Clear gutters from debris, leaves and twigs so they system is clear and ensure all drains are open to allow water to exit freely.
Look for layers of granules in the gutter, as this is a very common occurrence. As shingles age they release granules and these granules need to be removed for a clear roofing system.
What’s the Roof Made of?
What your roof is made of can be an important factor in determining what you should be looking at. Concrete is very hardy and should very rarely need to be replaced. You’ll more likely need to re-coat or re-seal a concrete roof, rather than actually replacing it.
In dry climates, cedar roofs can split over time so look out for this. In moist climates, cedar roofs tend to get a large build-up of moss too. Whilst they do have a lifespan of about 20 years for a cedar roof they will need to be repaired or replaced over time.
Tiles are the most common roof materials and can last up to about 100 years, if looked after properly. Keep an eye out for broken or cracked tiles, but avoid walking on the roof to inspect. It’s best to hire a professional to check the tiles and have them replaced by a roofing expert.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who writes for Air Roofing, specialised roofing contractors in WA with over 120 years’ experience in residential, commercial and industrial re-roofing in Perth.