Sometimes obvious but often unforeseen, roof problems can cause great expense if they aren’t found and fixed early on. In this article, we take a look at the 5 most common roof problems experienced by homeowners across the UK, how they’re caused and how they can be avoided.
Any roof that has a leak, has a problem. A leak in the roof could be caused by several things:
- Incorrect installation
- Improper moisture barrier
- Worn rubber or metal flashings (material that covers joints around chimneys, skylights etc)
- Water accumulation in and around the chimney
- Soffit and fascia damage (boards that run beneath the roof’s overhang and behind the gutter).
- Debris accumulation in the gutters and on the roof
- Broken, cracked or missing roof shingles
If small cracks are found early on then the leak can usually be patched up but if problems are left over a long period of time, they can worsen and require a larger scale fix.
Ponding is the pooling of water on flat roofs due to insufficient draining facilities. Whereas most flat roofs are designed with a slight pitch, if the internal drainage system is blocked or fails for another reason then this can cause a pool of water in that area. If this problem is left then water will build up over time and its weight could affect the roof’s structural system. This allows an even larger puddle to form and as the problem continues, the roof becomes even more susceptible to failure.
Ventilation of the attic and area directly beneath the roof is vitally important for the lifetime of a roof. When vents are placed in the soffits at the base of the roof and at the top in the ridge, warm air can disperse naturally and cool air can enter. If roof ventilation is left unchecked and the vents are insufficient then heat and moisture could build up in the roof, causing damage to rafters, shingles insulation and sheathing. In the most severe cases, improper ventilation can even lead to mould and mildew in the home.
Blistering is a common problem with asphalt roofing where shingles become eroded and split. This can be cause by trapped moisture during manufacture or poor roof ventilation. Essentially, if the shingles become too hot, the sun’s heat causes them to crack. If blisters are only small and the shingles still have their granules then there is often no need to address them. However, all blisters will reach a point where they pop, causing the shingle granules to dislodge and exposing asphalt to the sun’s UV rays.
From this point, the roof is prone to lose more granules and with time and weathering, this problem could eventually lead to leaks and further roof damage. It’s advisable to keep an eye on the condition of roof blisters and replace any that have been there for a while or have already popped.
Improper Previous Repairs
The use of improper materials for a temporary fix will nine times out of ten cause more damage to the roof and this could be permanent. This is the quickest way to make a small problem worse.
The use of roof cement, mastic or tar is often used to repair roofing material but this is likely to crack within a year. Sealing rather than replacing broken material and mismatching roofing material are also examples of improper repair that can cause issues. If roof repairs do not stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines then the roof will not meet its life expectancy and is likely to become more susceptible to wear and tear, water damage and deterioration.
Gutters that stretch across the edges of a roof can easily become clogged with leaves and other debris. This can then lead to leaking off the edge of the roof, flooding at the foot of walls, eroded brickwork and in worst cases, damp inside the home. These problems can easily be avoided with regular maintenance of gutters to remove any blockages.
Damage to the roof could be caused by a number of third-party reasons. Painters that stand on the roof while painting, children who climb the roof to play, balls bouncing off the roof, critters visiting the roof, trees scratching across the roof in the wind and aerial installations can all cause weight and stress on the roof shingles and structure.
Usually, third party damage is only the cause of further roof problems such as structural damage, shingle damage and leaks.
This article was written by Daniel Jones, a roofing specialist at Mac Home Improvements. Visit roofing Cardiff for more information about roofing problems, soffits, fascias and guttering.