As a homeowner, it is in your best interest to protect your home and property, including your roof, from damage. Roofs are susceptible to all sorts of wear and tear, and because they are outdoors and exposed to a number of environmental threats. Here at Cenvar Roofing, we believe that one of the best ways to help central Virginia homeowners is to provide some education about common roofing issues. Environmental threats are one of these important topics. It is important for homeowners to be informed and aware when it comes to environmental threats to their roof, because they can wreak havoc very quickly if damage isn’t recognized and repaired as soon as possible.
Most environmental threats present themselves in the form of common weather patterns. Rain storms, hail or high winds are something central Virginians are used to dealing with throughout the year, and snow isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the winter. Over time, these elements can slowly degrade a roof until significant damage occurs. It is important to keep an eye out for any signs of damage and make the necessary repairs in order to keep your roof in great condition, despite these elements.
Rain is one of the most common threats to central Virginia roofs. During seasons of heavy rainstorms, roofs are subject to steady streams of water beating down day after day, and when rain is heaviest, it is important to get the water off the roof as quickly and efficiently as possible. If a proper functioning drainage system is not installed to help route water off of your roof, or that system becomes clogged or damaged, leaks and water intrusion can occur at the eaves and foundation.
The best way to prevent damage from rain, especially during weeks of consistent heavy rain, is to ensure that your roofing and gutter systems are free of clogs and debris and are functioning properly. If you find debris on your roof, or clogs or debris in your gutters, we recommend cleaning them as soon as possible to allow water to flow off of your roof correctly. If you’ve never cleaned your gutters before, check out this helpful article full of DIY gutter cleaning tips
Wind is another environmental threat that most roofs are susceptible to throughout the year. High winds can cause extensive damage to roofs. The corners, edges and ridge line of the roof are particularly vulnerable to wind damage. When the wind blows across the roof, it can “catch” on a corner or a small piece of shingle and cause it to lift or curl, or even rip it off completely. Lifted, curled, or ripped shingles leave your roof more exposed to the elements, and leave it susceptible to leaks and water damage that will increase in severity over time.
Hail is a less frequent, but very dangerous, environmental threat to your roof. The extent of damage can vary, depending on which roofing material you choose, but regardless, it can cause at minimum, severe denting. Hail is unpredictable, and the damage is not able to be prevented, but if it does occur, the best thing to do is to inspect your roof for signs of punctures or indentations. Hail is especially damaging to asphalt shingles because it knocks the protective granules off and exposes the fiberglass mat to UV damage. If your roof has been punctured, it opens up the roofing system to water intrusion and leaks, so it is important to get it professionally inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
Snow storms aren’t frequent threats throughout the year, but they can cause extensive damage to central Virginia roofs in the winter season. If snow and ice begins to accumulate on your roof, it greatly raises the likelihood of ice forming dams, which are a great danger to your roof.
Ice dams form because accumulated snow acts as insulation, and causes heat to become trapped in your attic. When this happens, the bottom layer of snow on top of the roof deck gets warm and melts. The melted snow will then run down the slope of your roof. However, once it gets down to the eaves, it is not over top of the warm attic any more and the melted snow will sometimes refreeze in below-freezing temperatures. As more and more water runs down and freezes, a large ice dam will form. This barrier prevents any further snowmelt from running off of the roof and into the gutters. The resulting accumulation of water behind the ice dam will back up under the shingles causing severe leaks along exterior walls.
The best way to prevent ice dams from forming and causing damage to your roof is to ensure that your roof and attic have adequate ventilation. Ventilation circulates cool air from the outside into the attic space and rafters, below the roof deck. This keeps the surface of the roof below freezing, and doesn’t allow the snow to melt and prevents the ice dams from forming.
Similar to ice dams, hot temperatures pose a threat to roofs when there is inadequate ventilation in the attic and roof of the home. Ventilation creates an airflow throughout the roofing system, and helps to remove heat and moisture from the attic. When there is a lack of proper ventilation, the roof becomes susceptible to superheating. This happens when excessive heat and moisture become trapped in the roofing system and cause the roof to overheat.
This can have a devastating effect on the shingles – the extreme temperatures can cause pockets of moisture trapped within the asphalt shingles to expand and blister. As these blisters bubble up, they cause the granules on the outer layer of the shingle to pop off, exposing the underlying material to UV rays and direct sunlight. Over time, these blisters will continue to expand, and begin to impact the effectiveness of the shingles, leading to a shortened lifespan of the roof, as well as leaks and weather damage.
Finally, moss is an environmental factor that can threaten your roof. Plant growth on a roof can be a contributing factor to degradation, and premature roof aging. When moss takes root on a roof, it quickly begins to spread across the entire surface, digging its roots into the roof and eventually causing the shingles to loosen and lift. Additionally, the presence of moss coverage on a roof invites mold and mildew as well, because it will begin to trap moisture.
If moss is present on your roof, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. In some cases, moss can be removed by gently scrubbing and soaking the affected areas with water or a bleach solution, but if the removal process becomes difficult, it is important to call a professional to make sure the job is done well and your roof is restored.
If your roof has been damaged by any of these environmental threats it is important to understand the impact those damages can have on your roof and home. If you would like to schedule a further conversation or estimate with a professional roofing company, our sales representatives here at Cenvar Roofing will be more than happy to inspect your roof and answer any question you may have. Visit our website to find the location nearest you and schedule an appointment.