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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Six

Avoiding Premature Roof Failure

Roofs fail for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s improper installation or inadequate ventilation, poor roof maintenance or storm damage, sometimes roofs don’t last as long as they are promised to last. As a homeowner, this causes frustration as it can drain your wallet.

Failure Reason #1: Improper Installation

When a roofing contractor cuts corners, it can cause issues on your roof and throughout your home. Whether the contractor doesn’t care about quality, doesn’t know what he’s doing or is just plain lazy, it can lead to premature roof failure.

Just as in every area of life—you get what you pay for. If you look for the cheapest roofing contractor, they are probably the cheapest for a reason.

Reputable roofing companies pride themselves on their quality of workmanship. They will make sure that any mistake that does happen is rectified quickly, and they will almost always cover installation defects under warranty.

Failure Reason #2: Inadequate Ventilation

The ventilation system in your attic allows your home and roof to breathe. It lets hot air out when it’s hot outside, and it keeps hot air in when it should be warm inside. Improper attic ventilation can also hurt your energy bill, because your air conditioner and furnace to have to work extra hard. When hot or cold air is trapped in your attic, it can cause unnecessary damage to your roof.

In the summer, when hot air is in your attic, improper ventilation can cause your roof to “bake” from the inside and outside from the built-up heat. The decking adhesive deteriorates from the inside, and this can cause your shingles to crack, curl and peel away from the decking.

In the winter, the heat and moisture inside the home causes condensation to form that travels up to the attic. This condensation can get trapped and lead to your roof decking swelling, causing the roof to no longer be able to hold roofing nails or bear weight. In addition, when moisture is trapped in the decking, it can cause mold and mildew to form.

Failure Reason #3: Little or No Roof Maintenance

If you neglect your roof, it will fail prematurely. Your roof should be inspected annually, as well as after major storms in your area. Sometimes a tiny issue—if rectified quickly—can save you tons of money in the long run.

If shingles are broken, damaged or missing, it can sometimes go undetected by a homeowner. This can become a larger issue, as the damaged or missing shingles can allow water to penetrate the roof, seeping into the underlayment and reaching the decking. Without fixing these small issues quickly, it can easily turn into a much larger issue—causing water damage to the decking, as well as potentially reaching the attic and structure of the home.

Debris on your roof can also damage shingles and cause unnecessary pressure on your roof. Leaves, tree branches and such can also stay wet—especially at the bottom of the pile, which is right up against the shingles. This can cause shingles to be wet for longer than they should, potentially causing water damage. It could cause rot, as well as mold and mildew. In addition, a clean roof will reflect the sun off your roof instead of absorb the heat. Debris on the roof prevents this from happening. The heat from the sun will be absorbed into the debris and the spots of the roof where the debris is, causing the attic temperature to rise. Debris needs to be cleaned off roofs regularly.

Gutters also need regular maintenance to help with the longevity of your roof. Gutters can get backed up and clogged, causing drainage issues. Gutters need to be maintained and cleared regularly, as well.

Failure Reason #4: Storm Damage

Wind and hail are the primary culprits of storm damage causing premature failing of a roof. Unfortunately, there’s nothing a homeowner can do about this, as Mother Nature will have her way. Hail larger than one inch in diameter can damage asphalt shingles by removing the granules in the shingle itself. These protective granules are necessary to protect your roof from water.

Wind damage is more obvious, as it rips shingles or sections off the roof. When the shingles are torn off, the decking and underlayment are exposed to the elements, which can cause water damage to the decking, the attic, as well as the structural integrity of the home itself.

Homeowners insurance will generally pay for a roof replacement in the case of storm damage. Most policies will cover wind and hail damage, as well as tornadoes and snow. They will also usually cover damage from trees or other flying/falling debris caused by the storm. It is important that you understand your homeowner policy and what exactly it will cover. At Evoke, we will walk you through the entire insurance claims process to help you understand your policy and your rights.

So How do I Keep My Roof From Failing?

You can’t stop Mother Nature and her storms. So premature roof failure due to storm damage is really out of your control. Calling a roofing contractor immediately after major storms in your area is vital. If there’s obvious damage, call Evoke for your complimentary inspection. If there’s no visible damage from the ground, but you’ve had hail in your area larger than 1” or straight-line winds above 60 mph, give us a call. It’s important to get an inspection early after potential storm damage.

Outside of Mother Nature, you can take just a couple steps to protect your home and your roof. Firstly, hiring the right roofing contractor will absolutely save you money in the long run. Making sure that your contractor won’t cut corners and will only use high quality products is paramount in ensuring the longevity of your roof. This includes replacing and adding proper ventilation if necessary. Any reputable roofing company will talk to you about your ventilation options and possibly upgrading your current ventilation system.

Regular maintenance is the next step. Visually inspect your roof from the ground and make sure your roof is clear of debris often. If you notice something out of place or leaves and branches collecting, give us a call. You’ll also want a roof inspection once a year from a qualified roofing inspector. Once you are a customer at Evoke, you are always a customer. So maintenance is as easy as giving your sales rep a call once a year to have us come out and inspect your roof for storm damage or debris. Depending on what we find, we can sometimes fix it the same day or within a week.

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