Spot Problems With Your Shingles Before Your Furniture Gets Wet

Roofing problems are a scary thing. While they take a while to develop, this can also make them easy to miss. Rather than doing the repairs when it would be quick and easy, forgetting to inspect your roof regularly can put you into a position where leaks start damaging the interior of your home.

Dark Patches

There are a couple of reasons that dark patches could appear on your roof, and they should both be cause for concern. First, these patches can be caused by certain types of algae. The specific variety will depend on where you live, but it is always damaging if allowed to grow unchecked. These organisms feed on moisture, and if left to grow, they will eventually compromise the integrity of the shingles. Products do exists to kill the bacteria, and it is possible to do the application yourself. However, because the chemicals need to be spread evenly over the entire area to be effective, it is generally best to hand the project over to a professional.

The second reason is more difficult to fix. If your shingles are only showing dark patches after it rains, then you probably have a dip in your roof deck that is allowing water to pool instead of running off completely. While shingles are designed to repel water, they aren't designed to sit and soak for days at a time. The standing water can work its way under the shingles and become a breeding ground for mold. Repair will likely entail pulling up that section of roofing, repairing the underlying issue, and then replacing the shingles.

Shingles Are Damaged And Missing

Asphalt shingles are generally good for about 20 years. While that may seem like a long time when they are new, it may come sooner than you think. You probably aren't going to pay for roof replacement just because the clock is running out-- you are going to wait until the old shingles are actually failing before making that investment. There are a couple of things you can watch for to determine when it is time for a new roof.

  1. Shingles are missing on a regular basis. It is normal to lose a couple in a major storm, but as they break down you will start losing more and more every time it gets windy.
  2. The edges of the shingles are starting to crack and curl. The main reason shingles fail is that the tar that holds them together breaks down. This will be most apparent at the edges where the shingles will start to literally fall apart.
  3. There is quite a bit of gravel in your gutter. In the same vein as curling, old shingles will start to shed the gravel that makes up the surface of the shingles. It will wash off the roof and start collecting in your gutters.

Flashing Failures

Sheets of metal called flashing are used in corners and around chimneys to create a water tight barrier on the edges where shingles can't reach. This flashing often has a shorter lifespan than the shingles themselves. This failure is often invisible from the outside, but you can see it by going in your attic and looking for moisture around those seams. This is another case where DIY repair is certainly possible, but a pro will be able to complete the job with a minimum of damage to the surrounding shingles.

Keeping your home safe means inspecting your roof at least once a year. If you are unable or uncomfortable with climbing up there to look, you may wish to ask a trusted friend or family member for assistance. You may also be able to contract with a roofer, who will give you a discount on the repair work, in exchange for a regular maintenance contract.