What You Need To Know About Environmental Threats To Your Roof
Whether it’s the risk of icy roads or a flooded basement, there are many environmental factors that can damage homes and property. But with the right responses, most significant damage to your home can be avoided – and the roof is no exception! Most environmental threats present themselves in the form of common weather patterns that slowly degrade a roof over time. Knowing the common signs of damage will help you identify problems earlier on and keep your roof in great condition.
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. When rain is heaviest, it’s important to get the water off the roof as quickly and efficiently as possible. If a proper functioning drainage system isn’t 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 is to ensure that your roofing and gutter systems are free of clogs and debris in order to function properly. If you find debris or clogs, we recommend cleaning them as soon as possible to allow water to flow off of your roof correctly. Cleaning your gutters should be a regular maintenance task in the early spring and fall to help you keep them in top shape.
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, causing 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 at minimum, it can cause severe denting. Hail is unpredictable and the damage is unpreventable, 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, exposing the fiberglass mat to UV damage. If your roof has been punctured, it opens up the roofing system to water intrusion and leaks, so make sure 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 and your attic ventilation is poor it greatly raises the likelihood of ice dams forming on the eaves. Ice dams are a danger to your roof because they prevent snow melt from running off 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, preventing 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. 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 because 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.
Moss is an environmental threat to your roof because plant growth on a roof can contribute to degradation and premature roof aging. When moss takes root on a roof, it quickly begins to spread across the entire surface. It digs its roots into the roof and eventually causes the shingles to loosen and lift. Additionally, the presence of moss coverage on a roof invites mold and mildew 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. However, if the removal process becomes difficult, call a professional to make sure the job is done well and your roof is restored.
If your roof has been damaged by harsh weather conditions and is in need of repair or replacement, we can help! As central Virginia’s leading roofing company, we have years of experience repairing roof damage of all kinds. Schedule your free estimate today to get started.
Hannah Brown is the Content Manager at Cenvar Roofing, and the main author of our company blog. Her primary focus is to create and produce content for all mediums that explains the complexities of the roofing industry in simple, straightforward language. Hannah has degrees in Strategic Communication and English from Liberty University, and her work has been featured in multiple print and online publications.