A roof system’s performance is affected by a lot of different factors. These are the most common problematic areas and factors:
Missing or Torn Shingles
The key to a roof system’s effectiveness is complete protection. When shingles are missing or torn off, a roof structure and home or building interior are vulnerable to water damage and rot. The problem is likely to spread-nearby shingles also are ripped easily or blown away. Missing or torn shingles should be replaced as soon as possible.
Many apparent roof leaks really are 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.
When shingles are old and worn out, they curl, split and lose their waterproofing effectiveness. Weakened shingles easily are blown off, torn or lifted by wind gusts. The end result is structural rot and interior damage. A deteriorated roof system only gets worse with time-it should be replaced as soon as possible.
Condensation can result from the buildup of warm, moist air. Moisture in a poorly ventilated attic promotes decay of wood sheathing and rafters, possibly destroying a roof structure from within. Sufficient attic ventilation can be achieved by installing larger or additional vents and will help alleviate problems because the attic air temperature will be closer to the outside air temperature.
When water or moisture gets underneath shingles, shakes or other roofing materials, it can work its way to the roof deck and cause the entire roof structure to rot. The moisture encourages mildew and rot in other parts of the house, including walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems.
Extreme temperatures and ultraviolet rays cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time. Deterioration will occur faster on the sides facing west or south.
Strong winds can lift shingles’ edges or other roofing materials and force water and debris underneath them. Extremely high winds can cause extensive damage.
Snow may be very rare in Texas, but ice can still cause problems during winters. Melting snow and ice often refreezes at a roof’s overhang where the surface is cooler, forming an ice dam. This blocks proper drainage into the gutter. Water backs up under the shingles or other roofing materials and seeps into the interior. During the early melt stages, gutters and downspouts can be the first to fill with ice and be damaged beyond repair or even torn off a house or building.
Moss and Algae
Moss can grow on moist wood shingles and shakes. Once it grows, moss holds even more moisture to a roof system’s surface, causing it to rot. In addition, moss roots also can work their way into a wood deck and structure. Algae also grows in damp, shaded areas on wood or asphalt shingle roof systems. Besides creating a black-green stain, algae can retain moisture, causing rot and deterioration. Therefore, trees and bushes should be trimmed away from homes and buildings to eliminate damp, shaded areas, and gutters should be kept clean to ensure good drainage at all times.
Trees and Leaves
Tree branches touching a roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials when the branches are blown by the wind. Falling branches from overhanging trees can damage, or even puncture, shingles and other roofing materials. Leaves on a roof system’s surface retain moisture and cause rot, and leaves in the gutters block drainage.