We Roof Philly Blog: Common Roof Issues
Updated: Apr 27
We all know a leaky roof is a roof with some problems, but what about the other issues your roof might fall victim to over the years? Do you know what causes them, how to spot them, and what to do about them?
Here, we'll outline some of the biggest roof issues you're likely to face so you can better assess the state of your current or future property's roof and know when it's time to get roofers involved.
The first thing most people think about when they think of roof issues is leaks. It's obvious when water is pouring into your home that you've got a problem, but sometimes stains spreading on the ceiling or paint peeling away from the wall may start small and only slowly, gradually get worse, which often leads to these issues going unnoticed--or simply ignored--for longer. However, it's important to address even small problems as soon as possible before more damage is done.
Not every errant drop of water inside your home is necessarily from the roof, though. You might get leaking from old or damaged window capping or from interior issues like cracked or broken pipes.
If you suspect a leaky roof, even a minor one, it's a good idea to have roofers you trust, like We Roof Philly, come out and do a simple leak test that can help them find the path through which water is getting into your home and take care of the problem quickly and efficiently before it gets out of hand.
Age and Sun Damage
Any roof will have a natural life span based on the materials used in the roof system. (More about roof systems in a previous post.) With age comes cracks, warping, and loss of weatherproofing and insulating efficiency, as seen in the picture on the left. A way to avoid this is to keep on top of maintenance and be proactive about replacing your roof system when it's getting to the end of its life.
Another big issue with roofs as they age is UV damage, as seen in the right picture. Trees can leave debris on your roof or even damage it during strong winds or inclement weather, but their branches and leaves can also protect your roof from the sun's harsh rays. A roof exposed to the sun that hasn't been properly maintained will eventually have UV damage, which breaks down the materials and puts the integrity of your roof system at risk.
There are many ways the structure of your roof can be damaged. Sometimes it happens quickly, like in catastrophic weather events, but often structural issues stem from ill-maintained roof systems.
On the left, you can see where structural issues have forced the roofers to go all the way down to the decking and rafters (more information about the components of a roof can be found in this post, and here is where you can find more information about roof tear-offs). This is obviously a time-consuming and expensive repair job, but sometimes it's all you can do to ensure the integrity of the structure if you purchase a property with a roof that hasn't been maintained.
In the photo on the right, you can see how structural damage will prevent water from draining and allow it to pool and eventually degrade your roof and leak into your home. Getting roofers on your roof to assess its structural integrity is ideal before issues become this pronounced. Addressing problems with regular monitoring and maintenance is the best way to avoid extremely damaging and expensive issues like pictured above.
Vulnerability to Rodents
In our post "What Makes a Roof a Roof?" we discussed the fact that what goes between your rafters and the exterior materials of your home is generally just wood or plywood. Unsurprisingly, when this wood is exposed, it can be a way in for many things you'd like to keep out--perhaps the most worrisome of which is rodents.
In the picture on the left and the top right picture, you can see where homes have some exposed wood that, in addition to not looking as clean and polished as the preferred exterior materials would, gives vulnerability to the home, as rodents can easily burrow through this comparatively softer and less resistant material. (The bottom right picture shows the home after We Roof Philly capped the wood, which provides the home with both improved aesthetics and an extra layer of defense.)
Any area on your home with exposed wood is a potential gateway for rodents to enter your ceiling, walls, and living space, so this is an issue to address quickly before it gets out of hand.
A black roof will heat your house from the top down. In this before (left) and after (right), you can see how We Roof Philly outfitted this customer’s roof with white modified bitumen, which—in addition to providing waterproofing—helps keep your home cooler in the summer sun. (We discuss this particular roofing system more in another post.)
Even if the roof on your home or future property isn't yet overly aged or damaged, it might be worth it to consider an alternative roof system if you find your home difficult to cool and want to keep your utility bills down.
Finally, particularly if you have a shingle roof, you may find that, while your roof still has some life in it and is doing its job weatherproofing and insulating your home, it simply doesn't look good anymore.
We discuss in another post how some roof systems are prone to mold and mildew, and this can give your home an unmaintained and unattractive look. It can also be something you'll want to address before putting your property on the market.
Sometimes these issues can be fixed with some simple cleaning or power washing, but it's important to leave such endeavors to professionals, as amateurly damaging even a shingle or two can lead to issues, headaches, and expensive fixes down the road.
While leaking may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of roofing issues, it's certainly not the only thing that needs to be considered when addressing the health and efficiency of your current home's roof or what will need to be attended to on your future home or investment property.
Remember that having trusted roofers like those from We Roof Philly assess your property with a free estimate is the best and most proactive way to get ahead of issues and avoid costlier repairs down the road.