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What Causes Roof Damage?

Roof Damage

Roofs take an absolute beating from the elements – rain, wind, hail, sunlight, and more. While roofs are designed to withstand a lot, there are a number of common culprits that can lead to problems over time. Let’s go over what causes roof damage, how you can help prevent it, and what to do if you notice any damage on your roof.

The biggest causes of roof damage that we see are:

Weather – Extreme weather like hail storms, high winds, and even just the constant beating of sun and rain over many years can really take a toll. Roofs are meant to protect you from the weather, but that also means they take the full brunt of it.

Fallen Branches & Debris – Trees rubbing on the roof and overhanging branches can scrape and puncture shingles or tear off flashing. Leaves and other debris building up can also trap moisture and encourage rot.

Poor Installation or Low Quality Materials – If a roof wasn’t properly installed with an adequate underlayment and quality shingles that are rated for the climate, problems are inevitable. Skilled workmanship is also key.

Age – Even the best roofs have a lifespan of 20-30 years. As roofs get older, the materials just become more brittle, shrink, and deteriorate over time.

So how can you help prevent these issues and keep your roof in tip-top shape for as long as possible?

Here are some key tips:

  • Keep Trees Trimmed – Hire an arborist to trim back any branches that are overhanging or rubbing on the roof.
  • Clean Regularly – Use a roof rake or get a professional roof cleaning annually to remove built-up leaves, branches, and debris.
  • Inspections – Have your roof professionally inspected at least once every 2-3 years to catch any minor issues before they become big problems.
  • When Re-Roofing, Use Quality Materials – Invest in top-quality underlayment, ice & water shield in critical areas, and shingles that are rated for the climate and weather extremes where you live.
  1. Get an expert assessment – Hire a reputable, experienced roofing contractor to thoroughly inspect your roof and determine the extent of damage. They’ll be able to tell you whether repairs are sufficient or if it’s time for a full reroof.
  2. Determine the scope – Once you understand if it’s a repair or reroof, the roofer can give you an accurate quote and scope of work so you know what to expect. Make sure to get multiple quotes.
  3. Schedule the work – Work with the roofing contractor to schedule the repairs or roof replacement at a time that works for you. Ask when they can start and what the full timeline will be.
  4. Oversee the project – Make sure to oversee the work and inspect everything once complete. A good roofing company will do things right, use proper safety practices, and ensure the work area is kept clean.
  5. Request documentation – Once the work is complete, make sure to get paperwork documenting the job, warranties, and any care/maintenance instructions.

Even with diligent prevention though, all roofs will eventually need to be replaced. If your roof is already damaged, here are the steps I’d recommend:

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