When many people think of things that go bump in the night, they picture basement ghosts or closet monsters. Though fictional stories about these kinds of creatures can be fun to tell in the dark, there are many real horror stories that can happen in your home.
A house’s roof is central to its protection. The roof keeps your home dry and the temperature controlled. It also ensures debris and other hazards remain outside where they belong. Your home’s roof should be well maintained and properly cared for at all times.
Unfortunately, many people neglect their roof even when it gives clear signs that it needs repairs. Though neglecting your roof can certainly be tempting, especially when repairs are costly or extensive, it is never a good idea. As roofers, we’ve seen more than a few horrific examples of what can go wrong when you ignore your roof and its upkeep. Proceed with caution — the boogeyman has nothing on these cautionary tales.
Leaks are a major issue for roofs. Though roofs and shingles are meant to keep moisture away from the home, there can be breaks, cracks, or other issues that let water inside. This often manifests in drips or leaks of various sizes. While a small drip may not seem like a significant problem, it can eventually cause a lot of damage if it is not repaired.
When there are leaks or gaps in your roof, the entire home is at risk. If left untreated, your roof could collapse, mold and mildew could begin to grow, you may experience flooding, and much more. If you have a leak in your roof, you should address the problem right away before the worst-case scenario becomes your reality.
Unfortunately, roof problems often leave your home vulnerable to pest infestation. Through cracks and leaks in the roof, pests like mice, insects, and bats can get into your home’s attic. These animals cause significant damage to a home through chewing, urine and feces, and more. They also bring dirt and disease with them, putting your family at risk for illness.
If you do not repair your roof promptly, you may find yourself with a pest problem. Pests can get into your home through incredibly small cracks, holes, and gaps. It is very easy for a small gap to cause a significant problem. Do not leave your maintenance for another day — these issues should be handled as soon as you identify them.
Mold, rot, and mildew
Moisture breeds germs, mold, and mildew. When your roof is not properly maintained, it can allow excess moisture into the structure of your roof and potentially your attic. This added moisture often turns into mold and mildew that can start to spread around your home. The spores move through the air to cause a myriad of issues for residents of a home.
Mold and mildew can both cause allergic reactions. Many people are sensitive to mold spores, and when they are present in the air it can cause difficulty breathing, coughs, and many other health issues. If a family is exposed for a long time, they are at risk of developing serious chronic illnesses.
Mold also influences the structure of your home. When wood begins to mold and rot, it loses strength and sturdiness. Mold in your attic and on your roof means your roof is becoming weaker and is vulnerable to collapse.
Our Michigan clients understand the reality of a Midwest winter. In this climate, moisture gets in between even the smallest spaces and cracks in roofs. Then, as temperatures drop, the moisture freezes. As this process occurs, the water expands and creates ice dams. Ice dams can be strong enough to cause even larger cracks, holes, and breakages in a roof.
Maintaining your roof is the best way to prevent ice dams from happening. The more sealed your roof and shingles are, the harder it is for moisture to get into vulnerable spaces in your roof. If you cannot prevent ice dams from occurring, make sure to have them resolved right away. Do not wait for the spring thaw, or you could experience flooding or other issues.
To properly protect your roof, you may need to be proactive. There are ways that you can stop damage from happening in the first place, which saves you money and heartache. It also helps your roof to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Maintaining your trees is one way to help minimize your risk of roof damage. A professional should inspect your trees annually to make sure that they are disease-free and not vulnerable. Any weak branches should be removed so that they don’t fall or break and damage your roof.
If a tree does damage your roof, do not leave the damage for very long without repairing it. The damage can allow many of the above issues to occur in your home and cause more problems.
Missing or damaged shingles
Many people believe that a small breakage in their shingles is no cause for concern. On the contrary, a breakage in even a single shingle leaves your home vulnerable to damage. After large storms, hail, high winds, or heavy snow, shingles can break, crack, or separate from the roof. This allows moisture and debris to make their way into your roof’s foundation and your attic.
Any broken or imperfect shingles should be replaced right away. When the shingles are not intact, many of the above issues can happen in your home.
Your roof has many seams, such as at the edges of your home, the apex of the roof, around your chimney, and near any skylights. These seams should be sealed to make sure that leaks and moisture do not get into the home. If your seams are old, cracked, or breaking, you may end up with leaks and drips in your home. It is easier for pests to enter your home as well, carrying all of the risks described above.
To ward off a wide range of issues, you should make sure you get your roof inspected by a professional at least once per year. This can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and it can ensure any issues with your roof’s seams are resolved before they cause significant damage.
Gutters and downspouts
Your home’s gutter and downspout system is meant to help remove rainwater from your roof and your home’s vicinity. As gutters collect and direct rainwater, they help to make sure the water does not fall directly from the roof to the foundation. This helps to prevent basement flooding and foundation damage.
If your roof’s gutters or downspout is broken, old, or otherwise compromised, you need to fix the issue. Without these essential fixtures, water can sit on your roof and create damage or leaks. It can also fall directly toward your foundation, causing damage both there and in your basement.
You need to make sure that your gutters are not full of leaves, yard waste, and other debris, too. Clogged gutters result in slow flowing water, and the same terrifying issues that can happen with missing or damaged gutters or downspouts as can occur with clogged gutters as well.
Though roofing horror stories can be disheartening, it is important to remember that you have options. You do not have to navigate the proverbial basement of home roofing on your own. Our expert roofers are here to help you identify, diagnose, and fix any problems you may encounter.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to prevent large tragedies from occurring on your home’s roof, such as:
- Schedule regular maintenance with a trusted roofing company.
- Trim your trees and maintain your yard to keep debris from causing damage to your roof.
- Replace broken parts or areas of your roof.
- Call a professional as soon as you see or suspect an issue with your home’s roof.
- Replace your roof at appropriate intervals. Most roofs have a lifespan of about 20 years and should be closely inspected during the second half of their lifespans.
- Invest in high-quality work, materials, and maintenance.
Use a trusted professional roofing service
When you opt for an experienced, trained professional for your roofing work, you can feel confident about your roof and your home. You can be sure that your roof is safe for your family and will protect you from debris, inclement weather, and other environmental hazards. High-quality roofing services improve your quality of living and give you peace of mind as well.
When you’re looking for a roofing company, you want to choose one that has experience in your local area. They can provide you with information about the best materials that can withstand your area’s climate, as well as recommended maintenance that can help keep your roof in top shape.