Roof Problems: Warning Signs

The roof is a strategic component in a building's envelope.

A roof’s longevity and its ability to remain waterproof will be increased if it is properly maintained. The following checklist can help evaluate the condition of a roof in order to increase the service life of your roof system.

Condition of the roof: Measure and inspect the surface to make a list of required minor repairs. It may be necessary to add some repair compound around any openings such as the chimney. Repair or replace aged or damaged shingles, remove debris from the roof area, clean out the gutters, etc.

The following will help you identify the potential for roof failure. If your roof is more than 15 years old and shows any of these warning signs, you may already have a problem.

 

Bare Spots
barespotsThe protective granular surface of shingles wears off as the asphalt, into which the granules are embedded, begins to harden over time. Bare spots are often accompanied by fine fissures on the shingles’ surface and by the accumulation of granules in the gutters.

Curling
curlingThe upward curling of shingle tabs makes them highly susceptible to wind and ice damage. This is a problem on older roofs where moisture build-up in the attic affects the underside of the shingle. Rotting is caused by absorption of moisture by the mat. It is a common problem with organic-based shingles.

Broken Shingles
brokenDamage can be caused by extreme wind conditions and snow removal. Since shingles are supposed to shed water, broken, torn or missing tabs become obvious entry points for water, especially on low slope roofs where run-off is slower and at the peaks of the roof where shingles are the most vulnerable to high winds.

Clawing
clawingThis is the curling under of the shingle tab’s bottom edge and is part of the normal aging process of shingles. The bulge created is susceptible to substantial damage by wind action, hail and ice.

Buckling
bucklingBuckling is a visible distortion or waviness in the horizontal lines of shingles, and usually runs in a straight line up the roof slope. Shingle tabs become exposed to wind and can be torn off. Very often, the problem is warping in the roof deck caused by poor attic ventilation. The use of thinner-than-recommended plywood and other non-plywood materials adds to the problem.

Flashing
flashingMany problems occur at the flashings around vents, plumbing stacks, chimneys and vertical wall joints. Is the flashing cracked? Is the caulking around the flashing dried out? Are the shingles that lie over the flashing in good shape?

If you are experiencing any of the following problems, please contact Able Roofing for a FREE ESTIMATE »

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Top Summer Roofing Tips

There are many things you can do yourself to ensure your roof is properly protecting your home.

Now that the weather has warmed up here is a list of the top eight things you can do to protect your investment:

  1. Check all roof drains and clear Spring blossom debris.
  2. After heavy storms, check to see if the drains continue to flow properly.
  3. After intense wind storms with reported wind over 40 mph, think about your roof. It is possible for localized intense wind or microburst to occur and not be noticed. It is possible for a ballast to shift or scour during high winds and even more seriously, small areas of roof to lift due to the wind uplift characteristics.
  4. Check gutters and downspouts for free flow.
  5. Look for signs of hail damage.
  6. On some buildings, inappropriate access occurs during the nice weather. Remove any lounge chairs or debris.
  7. On warehouse buildings, having overhead doors open during high winds or thunderstorms can actually increase the wind uplift on the roof. Close the doors when inclement weather is likely.
  8. As always, consider all safety and fall protection needs while accessing the roof areas of your building.

If you’re not comfortable making these inspections, contact the Able Roofing Contractors Ltd. service department at (250) 828-0652 in Kamloops or at (250) 256-0651 for Lillooet or (250) 315-5868 for Merritt.

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Do you need a new roof or a repair?

Unless you know or trust your roofing contractor, it is a good idea to get the advice of an independent roofing inspector. Not a home inspector, but someone who specializes in roof inspections. With this roofing inspection, you may find you only need to spend a few hundred dollars in repairs now and the expensive re-roof project can be safely put off for a few years.

Roofs usually start leaking around the areas where there are details (ridges, valleys, vents, chimneys, flashing, etc.). These areas may only need inexpensive repairs which could give you several more years to put money aside to put in a whole new roof.

On the other hand the inspection may find some very serious leaking problems that need to be addressed immediately to prevent water damage or rotting. Replacing your roof before it leaks is the best practise to avoid water damage to your house and the cost of an emergency repair.

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What do you really need? New Roof or Repair?

Unless you know or trust your roofing contractor it is a good idea to get the advice of an independent roofing inspector not a home inspector but someone who specializes in roof inspections.

You may find you need only spend a few hundred dollars in repair now and the expensive re-roof project can be safely put off for some years.

Roofs usually start leaking around the areas where there are details (ridges, valleys, vents, chimneys, flashing, etc.). These areas may only need inexpensive repairs which could give you several more trouble free years.

On the other hand the inspection may find some very serious leaking problems that need to be addressed immediately to prevent water damage or rotting. Replace your roof before it leaks to avoid water damage or the hassles of an emergency repair.

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How long will it take?

This depends on: size of roof, complexity of roof, size of installation crew.

The longer the project takes the more noise, mess, commotion and general disruption there will be around your home and greater potential for water damage through an open roof. With a smaller building with a simple roof may not be as much of a problem as a larger more complex roof. If plywood decking or rot repairs are required the project could drag on.

Doing the work properly takes a set number of man hours that you don’t want to short-cut. Will you work everyday until the project is complete?” This is what you need to know to determine how long it will take them in relation to other crews.

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Is the roofing done right?

New roofs rarely leak in the wide open spaces: it happens, almost always, in the details.

Make sure that your Roofing Contractor has an inspection process that is completed by a qualified supervisor following the installation of your new roof. Even the most conscientious tradesman may miss details and most crews benefit from the fact that their work will be inspected.

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Caution! Liability Issues Workers Compensation

Did you know that any worker on your property must be covered by WCB?

If they are not current in their account or simply are not registered, the homeowner is liable for any accidents that may occur. This can turn what seems like a great price on your project into an extremely expensive one…or worse!

Get a clearance letter or number from WCB for the company doing the work. This can be done on line at: www.worksafebc.com or by telephone: Clearance Section 604-244-6180.

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Liability Insurance

Many roofers don't have this insurance now as prices have increased and it's harder to qualify.

Check that your roofer has proper, up-to-date liability insurance that will cover water, fire or other property damage.

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Quality Counts

You have probably added up a column of figures and made a mistake at some point in the past. Most people add them up twice to verify the answer. That is a system of quality control.

Even the best roofers can and will make mistakes. Accept the fact that there will be minor deficiencies that will need to be found and corrected on your roof while it is being installed. The important thing here is that the roofing company has a standard system for finding and correcting those deficiencies.

After working hard on your roof for 8 – 10 hours in the hot sun your installer is hungry, tired, wants to finish your job and go home. I can tell you from experience that as good as he may be, unless he is the owner of the company, he is not the one you want to do the final inspection!

The point is that you need someone to inspect the roof after the installer is done. This can be someone from the same company (if it is a reputable company). They need to do a thorough inspection of everything from the last shingle on the roof ridge to the nails being picked up from the driveway.

It is worth noting that the quality of installers workmanship increases substantially when they know that all their roofs will be inspected by someone other than themselves. The best system is one that not only inspects all the roofs but also corrects the installers as problems come up. This way the quality continues to improve.

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War Zone or Work Site?

If precautions are not taken before the tear off begins, property can be damaged.

If your property is close to the neighbours, the old roofing can hit their house as it comes down, leaving black tar marks on the walls. Flower beds can get trampled, bushes and shrubs can be crushed and broken nails can be left on the lawn or driveway.

There are ways to protect your property with tarps and plywood barriers. Every property will have a different approach depending on the roof pitch, access and surroundings. If you have a flat roof and can park a disposal bin right against the house you don’t have to worry about this too much. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case.

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