Common Roofing Problems

Watching for the 10 most common roof problems can save you significant money. Catching damage early and repairing it can save you the cost of a complete roof replacement.

Here are the 10 most common problems to be on the lookout for…

Poor or Faulty Installation
A faulty installation of your roofing material can dramatically increase the likelihood of problems and reduces a roof system’s life expectancy. You need to hire a professional to tell you if your roof has been installed correctly.

Leaks and Moisture
Wind, rain, hail, snow, ice, and debris … all of these and more can lead to moisture getting under the layers of roof and causing everything from leaks to mold and rot.

Improperly Installed Flashing
Flashing is what seals the areas where your roof has been penetrated (like vent pipes, sky lights, chimneys and heating and cooling systems. When flashing is poorly attached, it can cause open seams and laps and ultimately cause tiles to blow-off. Improperly installed flashing can also reduced puncture resistance in your roof.

Critters
Small animals, birds and insect can cause a surprising amount of damage. It’s best to evict them before they get a foothold.

Ponding Water
Water that ponds or stands on your roof is a sure sign of a problem. Common cause range from debris buildup to improper drainage of HVAC units and gutters.

Punctures and Penetrations
Wind and hail damage can cause punctures in roofing material. The sealant and flashing around penetrations (such as vents for household appliances and HVAC) added after the roofing was completed need to be looked at regularly.

Trees
Overhanging tree limbs can rub on a roof, abrading the surface of the shingles and wearing away the protective top layer. Branches can also fall on the roof creating even more serious damage. Tree limbs should be trimmed back away from the roof as much as possible and if a tree is close enough to pose a threat to your home, it should be removed.

Something as simple as walking on your roof can cause damage. Many roofers install walkways with a double layer of roofing materials to allow access to HVAC or other areas in order to prevent damage.

Ventilation
Roof and attic ventilation is an integral part of making a roof last, and occurs naturally when vents are placed at the base of the roof (at the eaves or in the soffits) and near the top of the roof (the ridge) so that warm air can leave through the top, and cool air can be drawn through the bottom. Since warm air naturally rises, no mechanical process is necessary to create this air movement. Adequate ventilation regulates temperature and moisture levels in the attic. Left unchecked, heat and moisture can build up causing damage to rafters, sheathing, shingles, insulation, and raising energy costs, any may also lead to some ugly mold and mildew problems.

Shrinkage and Blistering
Shrinkage is caused when the roof membrane (the stuff under the tiles or shingles) shrinks, most often causing cracks or crazing in the upper layer. Blistering, ridging, splitting, and surface erosion of shingles can eventually lead to bigger problems.

Improper or Lack of Maintenance
Lack of roof maintenance is probably a roof’s worst enemy. Many problems start out as minor, such as the need to remove overhanging tree limbs or cleaning backed up gutters. But when not corrected these problems can create serious damage. Routine inspection and maintenance can extend the life of your roof and that can save you a lot of money.

6 Questions To Ask A Roofer

 

Be sure your roofer can answer questions about their location, insurance and more.

Before hiring a roofing company, there are certain questions you should ask. A poor job can mean costly roof repairs and leaks in the future, which means more time and money spent. Ask a roofer the following questions before making a hiring decision:

1. What is your full company name and physical address?

Ask for the roofing company’s full name and address. If they use a Post Office box, ask for the physical location. A roofing company that doesn’t have a physical location is a cause for concern, and you should move on. Check Angie’s List to find a reliable roof repair or roof replacement company in your area.

RELATED: Hiring a Roofer: It’s not an Estimate, It’s an Interview

2. Do you have insurance?

Roofing contractors should have workmans’ compensation and liability insurance to protect the homeowner in the event of an accident. Workers’ compensation protects the homeowner if a roofing company’s employee gets injured, and liability protects you from damage caused by the roofers during repair or replacement.

Without workmans’ compensation insurance, the homeowner may be responsible for medical bills and other costs associated with the injury. Your homeowners’ insurance may not cover these types of accidents, so you will be personally responsible for the costs.

workers doing roof repair on a home

Some contractors use subcontractors for roofing jobs. Make sure you get lien waivers to protect yourself if your contractor doesn’t pay them.. (Photo courtesy of Colin Kessler)

3. Do you use roofing subcontractors?

Ask whether any part of the job will be performed by a subcontractor. If so, make sure you ask these same questions of the roofing subcontractor — particularly ask whether they are insured.

MORE: What is a Contractor Lien Release or Subcontractor Lien Waiver?

4. Do you have a roofing contractor license?

Ask the roofing contractor if he or she is licensed by your city or state. Licensing requirements vary by state. Some cities and counties also require a contractor to be licensed. Verify whether a license is required in your area, and if it is, check with your local licensing offices to make sure your roofer’s license is up to date and doesn’t have any outstanding violations.

MORE: What Information Should Be in a Roofing Estimate?

A business license is not the same as a roofing contractor license. A business license is for tax purposes and identifies the company. It does not mean the person has passed a test or is qualified to work as a roofer.

5. Do you have homeowner references?

Ask for local residential job sites you can visit and check previous roofing work. You can also ask for references, but sometimes past customers do not want their personal information released or a contractor cherry picks a couple of happy customers. Follow up with the homeowners and ask whether they are happy with the roofing job completed by the contractor.

6. Do you offer a warranty for your roofing work?

Ask how long the roof repair company guarantees its work. A roof warranty typically lasts for a year, but some roofers offer longer warranties. The manufacturer usually covers the materials, and the roofer covers the work. These are two separate warranties, so ask the roofer what is covered under each warranty and the length of each.

As always, give 5 Points Roofing a call today and we’ll help walk you through the process!

workers on roof

Repair or Replace?

Eventually, all roofs wear out and need to be replaced. You don’t want to do it too soon, because you’ll waste money. But you also don’t want to wait too long, because then you’ll end up with leaks and expensive water damage. To get the timing right, you need to know how to assess the overall condition of your roof and identify early signs of roof failure.

The national average for a new asphalt shingle roof is about $21,500, according to Remodeling’s 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report, of which you’ll recoup $12,800 at resale (59.5%). For high-end materials, such as standing-seam metal, the cost jumps to as much as $38,000.

If most of your roof is still in good shape, a spot repair makes sense. But if there are signs the roof is wearing out, or if it is more than 20 years old, replacing it may be the smarter choice.

Be alert to early signs of a roof leak

If you check the condition of your roof at least once a year, you should be able to plan in advance for necessary repairs. Early signs of trouble include dark areas on ceilings, peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs, damp spots alongside fireplaces, and water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace.

From the outside, you can assess your roof’s health by viewing it through binoculars. Warning signs include cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing; shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering; and worn areas around chimneys, pipes, and skylights. If you find piles of grit from asphalt roof tiles in the gutters, that’s a bad sign, since the granules shield the roof from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath.

If you’re inspecting on your own and find worrisome signs, especially if the roof is old or there has been a storm with heavy wind or hail, get a professional assessment. Some roofing companies do this free; specialized roof inspectors, like those who work through the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association, charge about $175.

When repairs make sense

You can usually repair a leak in a roof that is otherwise sound. The cost might range from $10 if you just need to squirt some roofing mastic into a gap alongside chimney flashing to $1,000 to fix a leak in a roof valley. If something sudden and unforeseen, such as a wind storm, causes a leak to appear, yourhomeowner’s insurance will probably cover the repairs. But you’re still responsible for limiting the damage, so put out buckets and try to get a local roofer to spread a tarp while you arrange for repairs. Insurance may not cover problems that stem from a worn-out roof or lack of maintenance.

The cost of re-roofing

Stripping off old roofing and starting over typically costs about $3 a square foot for basic composition shingles. You may be able to leave an existing single layer and add a second layer on top of it for about $2 a square foot. If you plan to stay in the house for only a few years, this might seem like a smart way to save. But unless you’re so pressed for cash that your only other option is to risk leaks, it’s false economy. The second layer won’t last as long—only about 15 years rather than the standard 20—and you won’t get new flashing or underlayment or the opportunity to upgrade to features that make a roof stronger. Plus, when you go to sell, your re-covered roof will look a little lumpy, and potential buyers may interpret the two layers as a sign that other home improvements were also done on the cheap.

Make sure to factor in hidden costs

When you evaluate bids, don’t just look at the total. A bare-bones estimate might include a single layer of 15-pound building paper under the roofing, while a better but more expensive bid includes 30-pound paper plus self-stick rubbery material along eaves to protect against damage from ice dams. Bids might also differ in whether they include the cost of disposing of the old roofing, on hourly rates for structural repairs, and on costs related to gutters.

Once you settle on a contractor, check to make sure the company is licensed and insured. Also discuss how the crew will minimize damage to landscaping, and who will pay for any that occurs. Schedule the roof work during dry weather, if possible, so your lawn doesn’t take as much of a beating. You’ll sleep better, too, if you’re not worrying about rain coming in when the roof is half-done.

Roofing When It’s Cold

We know how the temperatures here in Nashville and Middle TN fluctuate so much during the winter. One day it’s ice cold outside while the next day it can be 70 degrees. Most people opt to have a new roof installed in the spring and summer months. Others looking to replace their roof decide to install during the fall. But what happens to the roofs that are installed in the cold winter months?

Often customers ask us if it is okay to install a new shingle roof when the temperatures are extremely cold. This is especially concerning for those who do not have a choice in the matter and must replace their roof immediately.

There are no specific industry guidelines for temperature and roof installation for asphalt shingles, however, various manufacturers do make recommendations. Five Points Roofing installs roofs all year round, although, we do pay careful attention to the weather and elect to hold off for warmer days for certain types of applications.

Although asphalt shingles do become brittle as the temperature drops, steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate breakage. If shingles are stored in a warm place and loaded just before installation, problems can be minimized.

A concern we often hear from homeowners is whether or not the self-sealing strips will bond properly without a warm day to promote a good seal. The sun is very helpful in warming a newly installed roof and aiding in a good seal, but in areas prone to high winds, hand-tabbing, (or adding adhesive to the underside of shingles during the application), can sometimes be recommended. This measure assists with keeping the shingles in place, when needed, until warmer weather allows the seal to set as it should.

Whenever you decide to replace your roof, our staff is available to provide guidance and assistance in the process to achieve the best result possible. Call us today if you have any more questions.

Ensuring Proper Ventilation

It is very important to ensure proper ventilation in your attic so that your home is comfortable during all seasons. The free flow of fresh air through the roof is essential for the maintenance of the right temperature in your home. Proper roof ventilation ensures that your home is warm in the cold seasons, saving you many expenses. If you want to make sure your attic is well ventilated through the roof read this article to learn why and how to do it properly.

A roof that is well ventilated will last longer than improperly or non-ventilated roof and attic. The lack of ventilation or the improper one can lead to mildew and mould, which are created by the humidity and warm air. Moisture can   weaken your roof decking, making your roof more fragile. When moisture and heat get stuck under your roof this may lead to cracked slates and progressively worsening of the roof condition. The lack of ventilation or the improper one can create forming of ice dams as well. This happens when warm air gathered in your attic melts away the snow on your roof. When the weather becomes colder, the melted snow freezes again. This process of melting and freezing again is repeated over and over, thus creating ice dams. They keep the water stuck at the eaves which leads to a lot of roof damage.

There are a few types of roof ventilation you can provide – from installation of basic static vents to more modern power vents. The most effective exhaust ventilation is provided by ridge vents. Their name comes form the place where they are installed – along the ridges of the roof. To provide intake ventilation you can install soffit vents. These vents can be installed along the underside of the overhang of your roof or along the eaves. You can choose gable vents which are installed at the gables and work together with a fan for better results. You have the option of installing roof vents instead of gable or ridge vents. Their location is higher on the surface of your roof.

Installation of vents is a good decision you can make for your home which will save you a lot of roof damage and expenses. It has to be done properly by professionals. Here are some recommendations for the proper vent installation. If the half of your vent openings are located along the soffits, while the other half of them are situated along the ridges, 1 foot of exhaust and intake ventilation is enough for every 300 sq ft. If you have installed soffit vents, 1 foot of ventilation is enough for every 150 square feet of your attic floor area. It is advisable that you leave minimum an inch space between the the roof sheathing, the soffit vents and the insulation.

You should definitely consult with a licensed roofing company such as 5 points roofing to ensure that your roof and attic ventilation is in line with the local regulations. Depending on your climate zone there are different codes and requirements for the ventilation in your roof and attic. During the summer the high temperature in the atmosphere outside heats up your home. Proper roof vents release some of the hot air to regulate the temperature in your home. They also provide a conduit for the cool air to get in your house. During the winter, daily activities create moisture in your home. Cool outdoor air and the heated air in your attic create ice dam formation. Proper vents provide cooler air to get in your attic through the conduit. The hot and moist air is released through the vent so that the temperature in your home is regulated. This is how proper ventilation works and maintains the comfortable temperature in your home.

Listen To Your Roof

We hope this message finds you warm and well. As temperatures dip and drop, we encourage you to, from a position of safety and warmth, “listen” to your roof. If you tell the neighbors that you want to “hear what your roof is telling you” this winter, they may be convinced you’re suffering from a bad case of cabin-fever! However, there is much you can learn by paying attention to your roof during cold, harsh weather. In this issue of our newsletter, we take a look at how you can understand what your winter roof is “saying” about your home.

SNOW ON THE ROOF?

If you end up with snow on your roof, pay close attention to how it melts. Ideally, it will melt evenly over your entire roof surface as the outside temperature warms up. If though, you see it melting in just certain areas, that indicates “hot spots” in your attic which are the result of warm air from the living space leaking into the attic. This is not only inefficient from an energy standpoint, but is also the chief cause of potentially damaging and dangerous ice dams and icicles along the bottom edge of your roof. Melted snow from high up on the roof drains down the roof until it hits the cold overhangs where it re-freezes, forming ice.

Melted patches on the roof also indicate inadequate attic ventilation. A properly vented attic will be similar temperature-wise to the outside ambient temperature, preventing snowmelt on the roof until outside temperatures are above freezing.

Sealing off your living space heat from the attic and increasing your attic ventilation will help the snow to stay on your roof until it melts naturally. Natural melting of the snow due to temperatures being above freezing means that the melted water can fully exit the roof as well as your gutters and downspouts. This avoids any issues with ice dams.

FROST IN THE ATTIC?

Next, take a look in your attic on a cold day. Frost on the bottom side of your roof deck or on nails protruding through the deck tells you that you have an unhealthy accumulation of moisture in your attic. High moisture levels in the attic can lead to dangerous mold growth. Your attic insulation is also less effective when it is damp.

To decrease the moisture in your attic, ventilation is normally the key. Sometimes, it may be possible to add a vapor barrier behind your home’s ceiling to help keep moisture form migrating into the attic.

SCHEDULE A SPRING CHECK UP?

Finally, if you have a traditional asphalt or fiberglass shingle roof, take a close look at it in the spring. Cold winter temperatures can make aging shingles crack and even break. If you see more damage to your roof after the winter than what it had before, it will indicate that your roof is getting close to needing to be replaced. Also in the spring, look closely inside your attic, especially at the bottom of valleys, for any indication of roof leaks due to ice dams.

Stay warm this winter. Curl up with a good book or a favorite movie. But when you have time, take a look at your roof and your attic. What is your roof trying to tell you?

Wind Driven Rain And Your Roof

A storm is about to blow through. High winds and heavy rains have been reported and begin to pound your neighborhood. During the storm, you notice a damp spot forming on your ceiling. Although there was a calmer rain a few days ago, this particular storm has caused a leak to appear in your ceiling. Why now?

Wind driven rain on roof)020415

Often, customers will contact our office to report leaks that have manifested themselves after a storm with wind driven, or driving, rains. We hear that an area of the roof or ceiling leaks, but not consistently with every rain.

Rain that has been propelled by wind, often blowing horizontally, can create water intrusion in ways that may not have been possible if wind was not in the equation.

Wind driven rain can make its way past not only shingles, but flashing, chimneys, skylights, siding, windows, walls, corner boards and dormers.

Having a qualified roofer such as 5 points roofing in Franklin to evaluate your roof and provide routine maintenance is the best preventive measure. If your property does sustain damage from wind driven rain, be sure to have the repairs done soon after the damage. The longer storm damage remains without repair, the greater the risk for more extensive damages caused by rotten wood, mold, and water damage. Your wallet will thank you.

Ice Dams

Do you know what an Ice Dam is? After this most recent ice storm it can cause serious damage to the interior of your home too. You can help prevent serious damage to both the roof and inside of your home by minimizing the likelihood that an ice dam will develop, and by removing one as soon as you spot it. Ice dams can form when water from melting snow re-freezes at the edge of your roofline. Without proper removal, an ice dam may grow large enough to prevent water from draining off the roof. This water can then back up underneath roof shingles and make its way into your home.

How does an ice dam form?

How to Help Prevent an Ice Dam from Forming:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every storm. To begin with, use a roof rake to clear snow or ice upwards of three to four feet immediately after each storm. In addition to helping prevent an ice dam from forming, this will lessen the stress on your home’s roof. The amount of snow and ice your roof can support will depend on a number of factors, including the roof type and the age and condition of the structure. But a good rule to keep in mind is if more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and ice has accumulated on your roof, you should have it removed.
  • Clear downspouts. An easy way to help snow and ice drain off your roof is to make sure the area around your downspouts is clear. This can help prevent standing water from collecting near the gutter downspout.

How Do You Know if You Have an Ice Dam?

  • Look carefully at the icicles around the exterior of your house. If they are confined to the gutters and there is no water trapped behind them, then an ice dam has likely not formed. Nonetheless, icicles can pose a danger to people when they fall off, so try to safely knock them down while standing on the ground, making sure not to stand directly beneath them. If you cannot safely reach them from the ground, consider calling a roofing contractor such as 5 points roofing to help.
  • Check for water stains or moisture in the attic or around the tops of exterior walls on the top floor of your house. Stains and moisture may indicate that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.

How to Remove an Ice Dam:

  • Melt the ice dam. Fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt, and place it vertically across the ice dam so that it melts a channel through the dam. If you try this, make sure you can safely position the ice melt on your roof, and make sure to use calcium chloride, not rock salt. Rock salt will damage your roof. Also, be aware that shrubbery and plants near the gutters or downspouts may be damaged.
  • Get professional help. If you cannot safely reach the roof, avoid using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions. Consider calling us to help remove the ice dam.

Long-term Tips for Preventing Ice Dams:

  • Insulate your attic. Make sure your attic is well insulated to help prevent the melting-and-freezing cycle that causes ice dams to form. Check and seal places where warm air could leak from your house to the attic, including vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches and light fixtures.
  • Install a water-repellent membrane. When replacing a roof, make sure to install a water repellent membrane underneath the shingles. This acts as an extra barrier that helps prevent water from seeping inside the building.

If you need any assistance. Call 5 points roofing @ (615) 645-2055

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