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Top 10 Roofing Problems and How to Fix Them

Learn how the most common roof issues impact homes and what can be done to reduce risk and damage

Even the proudest homeowners can end up with multiple roof problems. They’re so common because your roof suffers from the “out of sight, out of mind” position, effectively being a blind spot unless someone pulls out a ladder and inspects it or the problem forces you to pay attention.

Today’s article isn’t a countdown. There’s no single roof issue that’s less damaging than another. They can all pose a serious risk to your home and health in the short or long-term. Let’s start by listing problems you could step outside (or inside) and see.

1. Nature can be a nuisance

Trees are lovely around a home but can damage your roof if they get too close. Overhanging branches slowly scratch at the roof and wear down or loosen protective elements. Trees cause debris like leaves and twigs to become stuck in roofs, forcing open cracks or blocking gutters. Worse, an entire tree limb may become detached by time or hard weather and land on your roof.

Your roof can also attract wildlife like birds, insects and other small creatures which may begin to tear at roofing materials to insulate their own little homes, destroying or occupying yours in the process. Trimming back nearby tree branches helps solve two problems at once because some animals depend on them to reach your roof.

Always consult professionals before attempting any nature management solutions. I also recommend a roof inspection following severe weather including very hot or cold spells. Mother Nature never does a roof any favors so check yours after extreme events to catch issues early.

2. Gutters ready to give out

Gutters are designed to steer free-flowing water into a downspout. They’re problematic when blocked by debris or forced to bear the weight of an ice dam (when roof heat melts the underside of snow covering which becomes solid again at the roof’s edge). Ice dams typically come with visible icicles and obvious gutter sagging. I don’t recommend attempting to address these without professional help; you could detach your gutter or rip holes in your roof.

Other debris like leaves, twigs and small stones can be addressed by installing foam or mesh gutter guards. They’re affordable and efficient but may become overwhelmed in heavier weather. Personal maintenance can be performed with some basic equipment but must be done safely and responsibly.

I recommend two things: Ask a roofer about any gutter issues you have and check out my earlier article for a deeper look at gutters and gutter maintenance.

3. Look out for leaks

Beyond obvious dripping in the attic, dampness or discoloration on walls or ceilings can be signs of a roof leak. Water spots may also be seen on the exterior of your home just under the roofline or around the gutter. Leaks have several causes and therefore several solutions; the right one will depend on the roof’s materials and construction.

Homeowners can inspect the upper interior of their homes by checking skylights, vents and other spots where the outside world meets the roof. These are classic leak locations and sometimes it’s even more obvious than that. Caulking or patching yourself can be a quick fix, but only temporarily until a qualified roofer can assess the damage.

When it comes to your roof’s exterior, you’ll read many articles saying homeowners can fix leaks and other roofing problems without professional help. While I don’t doubt that many people could, my concern is that this choice contributes to the next roofing problem on our list.

4. DIY overconfidence

Many homeowners take the initiative in looking after their properties, but DIY attitudes can be costly. These good intentions often make a problem worse, create new ones or endanger the homeowner’s immediate safety. Millions of Americans are injured by DIY falls every year, sometimes fatally.

You can avoid this problem by contacting a roofer who can assess the problem professionally and offer solutions. Blue Nail offers a free consultation where you can share any questions or concerns about your roof and we’ll give you an expert reply. You’ll save money, time, and possibly prevent harm to you and your property caused by tackling issues alone. You can also download our free insider’s guide for tips and insight that every homeowner can use.

5. Poor ventilation

The importance of quality roof ventilation can’t be overstated. When it’s substandard, homeowners can find themselves too hot, too cold, or dealing with allergies and ill health. Vents let your roof and home breathe and keep multiple dangers at bay. If heat can’t escape, homeowners will quickly find their AC bills rising in the summer as they try to stay cool. And in colder months, when indoor heaters work harder, that extra warmth rises to the roof and gets trapped there as moisture.

Vents should be installed and regularly maintained around roof edges, gables and ridges. This helps keep attic areas cool and dry by removing warm air before it becomes moist. They’re a great money saver when it comes to utility bills and, unlike other home devices, vents cost nothing to run once they’re installed.

6. Flashing failures

Sometimes, holes in your roof are supposed to be there. I’m referring to the necessary intrusions of things like skylights, satellite dishes, vents and chimneys that need to break the roof surface in order to function. Flashing is the material used to seal around these penetrated areas to ensure the elements don’t get in. It’s also used around roof edges, seams and valleys.

Flashing is vulnerable to poor installation techniques, environmental exposure and simple age. It’s typically an easy fix for professionals but also something that can be hard to spot from ground level. This brings me to the next problem and how flashing and other gap failures can be safely solved by modern means.

7. Roof gaps that AREN’T supposed to be there

Big roofing problems start small. Once rips, gaps or holes appear, they can quickly worsen through weather beatings or rapid decay. This allows moisture to slowly creep into your home. Once the dampness gets a foothold, it’s a short step to spores and mold, which compromise the structure and your health.

You’ll be well on your way to roof integrity by following my earlier tips and keeping tree branches, debris and wildlife off your roof. If you haven’t recently checked for gaps, holes or rips, then I don’t recommend getting up on your roof with a magnifying glass; not when there’s a great modern solution.

At Blue Nail, we use drone technology to give us unbeatable roof inspecting capability. The drone can safely and thoroughly assess the entire surface with no physical risk to our team, zooming in tile by tile if necessary. That means even the smallest hole won’t escape notice, and there’s no extra foot traffic or tool work on your roof that might exacerbate the issue.

Our drone inspection is complimentary. It can even be carried out under COVID-19 lockdowns, and we’ll repair whatever we find as quickly and affordably as possible. However, there’s another cause for roof wear and tear that no roofer can permanently solve…

8. The trouble with time

Mother Nature and Father Time are a tough tag team. The passing of years is the one thing no roof can fight. Regular maintenance and repairs can considerably prolong a roof’s life, but the day will come when it’s more cost-efficient to start over. The solution is a complete roof replacement, and the good news is the quality of modern roofing materials is light years beyond past options.

Investing in a new roof can secure many more healthy years of performance compared to roofs of yesterday. For example, Blue Nail is part of the DaVinci Masterpiece contractor program, which provides some of the most beautiful and hard-wearing roofing materials available today.

Visually attractive and versatile, these options are Class A fire rated and can withstand Class 4 impacts (the toughest rating) and winds of up to 110 mph. We also carry GAF Timberline shingles; a brand we’re so confident in that we offer a no-limit wind warranty.

Homeowners can enhance the aesthetics and value of their property with Blue Nail’s options, and even Father Time will struggle to make a dent in their new roof.

9. Bad installation and shoddy repairs

These last two are the toughest roofing issues for homeowners because they could be looking right at them and not see them. I’m referring to the craftsmanship and many little details that go into a quality roof installation. These are skills customers trust roofers to possess and provide. Not every contractor does, so many homeowners are left with shoddy work without knowing the signs of a quality roofer.

The same applies to repairs. You may have had a great team install your roof, but if a problem develops later and other poor workmen “repair” it, the roof might as well have a bad installation — an issue that forces homeowners to be reactive when the damage has already been done.

10. Lack of ongoing support

Perhaps the most dangerous threat to roofs is a consistent lack of professional support. Many of the threats above are exasperated by a lack of regular maintenance and inspection. Be proactive and work with Blue Nail to make sure your roofing is done the right way from the start and receive ongoing support. We stand by our work and our customers, and we’ll be there for you in the future. We’re part of the Top 2% of roofers in America, which allows us to offer extended warranties not only on the materials we use but also on our craftsmanship for up to 25 years.

We take pride in building customer relationships and breaking the stereotype that surrounds contractors. You can count on us for an easy, transparent experience that will leave your roof and home stronger than they were before.

Working with Blue Nail Roofing means coming home to craftsmanship. From first call to final inspection, we’re with you every step of the way to ensure you benefit from our experience. For more information or a free consultation, drop by our contact page or call 973-937-8876.

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