No roof lasts forever. While certain roofing materials have longer lifespans, all residential roofing systems will eventually need to be replaced. However, this doesn’t mean that your roof shouldn’t last its expected average lifespan. Yet many roofs don’t, and that’s because of a variety of reasons. These are the most common reasons why residential roofs fail.
Poor Ventilation and Insulation
What’s installed underneath your roof is just as important as what is installed on top of it. The best quality materials can face significant challenges if your home, particularly your attic space, is not properly insulated and ventilated. Poor insulation and ventilation in an attic space can lead to:
- Ice dams, which can damage your roof during the winter season.
- Expansion of roofing materials. When hot air cannot escape your attic, it can cause wood to expand, which can create leaks in roofing materials.
- Frosting and excess moisture, which can lead to rust and mold.
When was the last time you checked on the insulation of your attic? Have a you had a qualified roofing contractor ensure that the space is properly ventilated? Doing so can help you extend the life of your roof.
Improperly Installed or Bad Flashing
Roofing flashing consists of small strips of metal (usually made of steel) that are used to direct water away from certain areas of your roof. Flashing is generally placed around your chimney, vents, skylights, etc. This protects your home from leaking water and helps prolong the life of your roof. However, flashing that is old or improperly installed can become loose over time, allowing water to seep into unwanted areas. Checking your flashing is a part of regular roofing maintenance. If you get up on your roof once a year, make sure to ensure that all flashing is still attached securely.
Lack of Maintenance
Keeping your roof healthy can require some work throughout the year. In the spring, summer and fall, it’s essential to keep organic debris (leaves, branches, etc.) off of the roof. It’s also important to check for moss and other plant life that may have cultivated on roofing shingles.
Over the winter, make sure to clear out ice dams and keep snow off your roof. A single cubic foot of snow can weigh up to 20 pounds, which puts a lot of pressure on your roof, making snow and ice removal an essential part of any regular roofing maintenance schedule.
Heavy wind and hail can cause substantial damage to a roofing system and failing to replace the roof after a severe storm can result in bad news for a homeowner. Signs of storm damage include missing, loose, or damaged shingles, excessive roofing shingle granules in gutters or in the yard, and dents on shakes or metal roofing. If you have recently had a major storm in your area, make sure to have your roof inspected once the weather clears.