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Top Causes Of Roof Damage And How To Combat Them

Roofs may seem simple, but they are actually entire, complex, interrelated systems. From ridge vents to field shingles to soffit vents and more, a roof has many connected parts. If even one part fails, your whole roof can suffer. Even if you are doing preventative maintenance, your roof will still get damaged. Here are the 10 most common causes of roof damage, along with ideas on combatting them through maintenance, repair, or replacement. 

#1: Improper installation

Roofs age gracefully only if they have been installed well. When improper or shoddy installation gives your roof a poor start in life, no amount of TLC will make up for it. Misaligned shingle courses or even creased underlayment can cause problems months or years after installation. 

Other features of a roof, if not installed well by professionals, can add to issues in the field (the large, open expanse of your roof):

  • Ridge vents
  • Gutters
  • Flashing

#2: Broken or Torn Shingles

Shingles are the single most popular residential roofing material in North America. Yet they easily rank among the top 5 causes of roof damage. They are meant to lie down, flat and stuck to their surrounding shingles. They sometimes do not do what you want them to do:

  • Wind uplift can pull shingles off your roof
  • Aging can cause cupping and keystoning
  • Hail and ice can damage the granule surface

No shingle is waterproof. It is water-resistant, meaning it ushers water down and off your roof before the water can soak in. Break up the granules and you lose water resistance. 

#3: Damaged Flashing

The thin metal covering joints between, say, chimney and roof or in the valleys of your roof is flashing. This metal is impervious to water but can be damaged by pests or falling tree branches. Damaged, corroded or pitted flashing allows water to leak into seams.  

#4: Rotten or Damaged Fascia

Behind every great gutter is a great fascia. That is not as poetic as the whole “great man/great woman” adage, but it is still true. The fascia molding that protects the exposed ends of your roof’s rafters helps prevent water from infiltrating into your walls. 

When fascia rots from clogged gutters (see #5, below), water can seep back behind the roof edge, into your home’s walls, leading to mold and mildew. 

#5: Bad, Old, Clogged Gutter System

Dilapidated, bent, damaged or clogged gutters prevent water from moving off and away from your roof. You may never notice the results until your foundation walls are weakened or you smell mildew inside your home. 

Gutters are among the top 5 causes of roof damage! Get a dependable roofer to repair or replace your gutters safely. Stay off your roof and avoid the extension ladders!

#6: Ventilation

Roof ridge ventilation allows fresh air to flow in the soffits and exit the ridge, allowing humidity levels and air temperatures to match the exterior air. Your home “breathes” through proper ventilation. 

Poor ventilation has the opposite effect: stuffy, humid air; loss of energy efficiency; conditions ripe for mold and mildew. A professional roofer can assess your home’s ridge and gable ventilation to ensure maximum airflow. 

#7: Snow and Ice Damage

Snow weight can pull rafters away from the ridge board, depress sheathing, and ruin shingles. Ice damage can cause water to flow uphill, behind shingles and into your attic. 

In the depths of winter, a slippery, snow-covered roof is no place for you. Get a professional roofer to do biannual inspections (before and after winter) to protect your home. 

#8: Punctures and Holes

A single 1/8th-inch hole (from a missing roofing nail, for example) can allow gallons of water into your home during a storm. Shingle punctures, underlayment holes, or gaps in your sheathing can all ruin your roof. 

#9: Critters and Pests

Some may be small, some may be cute to look at, but many critters and pests can do a lot of roof damage. From insects boring into wood to squirrels nibbling away at underlayment, invasive animals and damaging insects can wreak havoc with a roof. 

Prevention and diligent maintenance can stop squirrels, raccoons, and wasps. Work with an exterminator and your local roofer to keep the critters at bay. 

#10: Tree Damage

A single falling branch can ruin row upon row of shingles. A toppled treetop in a storm can destroy your whole roof. Even just leaf litter, clogging gutters, can cause damage. The right repair, from the right roofer, can triumph over tree damage

#11: Poor Maintenance

One of the “bonus” causes of roof damage is all too common — ignoring your roof is inviting trouble. The sure cure for poor maintenance is a program of biannual inspection and repair from local, highly trained professionals. 

No matter the length of the list of roofing problems your roof may have, the professionals of Yellowhammer Roofing are ready to help. Contact us today!

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