Budget time has come and gone, the area has had rain and snow, your maintenance budget has already been exhausted due to roof leaks. What do you do? You scramble to get quotes for roof replacements, have an association meeting to try to explain to the community why you need to do a special assessment or secure a loan for a capital improvement project. In the end, you hope that the project and financing are approved.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you should know how to identify the signs that your roofs are either failing or nearing the end of their life expectancy. Here are the danger signs that you can look for:
• Current leaks. These leaks are most likely due to inadequate or missing underlayment, deteriorated and/or missing flashing or poor overall workmanship by the original roofing contractor. Many apparent roof leaks are actually flashing leaks. Without good, tight flashings around chimneys, vents, skylights and wall/roof junctions, water can enter a home or building and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems. Flashings should be checked as part of a biannual roof inspection and gutter cleaning.
• The appearance of water stains on interior ceilings and walls over the winter months. The most likely cause of these stains is an ice dam. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that usually forms either at the eave of the roof or where a side wall meets a roof edge. Once an ice dam forms, it prevents water from draining off of the roof and into the gutter. The ice creates a dam and the water backs up and gets under and behind the roof shingles and/or the flashing. This water can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, floors, etc. Properly insulating your attic and crawl spaces will help prevent ice dams from forming and also help stop precious $$$ from going out through your roof.
• Roof shingle, sheathing and siding decay. This is usually caused by poor attic ventilation. Proper ventilation is one of the most critical factors in a roof system’s durability. An ideal attic ventilation system includes an exhaust vent at the ridge of the roof (ridge vents) and an intake vent at the eaves (soffit vents). When ridge vents and soffit vents are not an option then gable vents and other venting options should be employed. Without it, heat and moisture build up in an attic area and combine to cause rafters and sheathing to rot, shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness.