Keeping a Roof Over Your Head: The Most Common Causes of Roof Damage

Keeping a Roof Over Your Head: The Most Common Causes of Roof Damage

How is your roof doing?

You know, that thing covering your house and keeping the elements from seeping in and causing havoc.

Do you know if it is in good enough shape to withstand the next storm season and keep you and your family safe?

When was the last time you inspected it or had it inspected by a professional?

If it hasn’t been recently, now is the time to check to see if you have roof damage.

Common Reasons for Roof Damage

There are many reasons your roof can suffer damage. Some happen over time as your house ages and some happen due to trauma. Below are some of the more common reasons.


All types of weather can damage your roof and weather is usually the cause of most roof damage. Most people think of roof damage as being something that only occurs from storm damage or wind damage. Likely, hailstorms also come to mind.

But even seemingly mild weather can break down roofing materials over time. Drizzling rain can seep into cracks between your shingles or down between the gap between your gutter and the siding of your house.

Even those who live in states that are known for exceptionally good weather, their roofs can be damaged by the sun since sunshine does its fair share of damage, too. The ultra-violet rays can cause the materials covering your roof to deteriorate and weaken.

Outside Animals and Birds

While most of us love birds and other wildlife visiting our yards, birds and some kinds of wildlife can cause damage to your roof.

Birds like to nest in cavities they find under your roof, eaves, gutters and around chimneys. Their droppings are acidic and cause havoc by eroding tar and tar paper covering your roof.

Other animals like raccoons, rats, and squirrels can compromise your roof’s structures by breaking their way into your house by pulling off shingles, tar paper, and other roofing materials. Their excrement is also harmful and causes decay.

Trees and Other Debris

Trees can cause roofing damage in several ways.

If they are too close to your house, they can get rustled by winds which causes their limbs to run abrasively over the exterior of your roof, loosening or dislodging shingles and flashing, and causing damage to your fascia boards.

Tree limbs and branches can also break off and strike your roof during wind and rain. While smaller branches and leaves may not be enough to damage your roof on their initial impact, if they are left to rot on your roof it can cause your roof to deteriorate as well. They can also clog up your gutters and downspouts, causing water to pond on your roof.

Poorly Maintained Gutters

As mentioned above, gutters need to be maintained to keep them clear from tree debris and other materials that may be blown onto your roof or have been deposited there by wildlife.

When gutters are partially or fully blocked, water does not flow properly causing water to pond and overflow into areas of your roof and fascia boards causing decay, rot, and mold. The water can also flow down into your walls causing further damage to your interior walls.

Another issue that arises with gutters is that sometimes the fasteners come loose or they were originally installed too far apart. If this happens, your gutters may sag over time. Gutters need to stay fixed tightly against the edge of your roof to direct the rain properly to your downspouts. If the gutters sag, it causes them to pull away from the edge, leaving room for water to seep in between and down along the sides of your walls.

Ventilation in Roofs/Attics

In between your house and your roof, you may have both an attic and/or space to allow air to circulate. There are vents in the bottom portion and the top portion, with the bottom pulling in cooler air and forcing the warmer air out through the top.

If this ventilation gets blocked, several things can happen. The warm air will rise in temperature, moisture may accumulate and cause mold and mildew to grow. These situations can escalate the erosion of your roofing materials, including the rafters, insulation, and sheathing.

In addition to hurting your roof, mold can also jeopardize your health. People sensitive to mold can have all sorts of issues ranging from making them wheeze, cough, have nasal stuffiness and upper respiratory tract symptoms.

Poor Maintenance

Poor maintenance is the failure to perform the checks need to keep your roof in fine working order, which includes looking for signs of the issues noted above or any other abnormality.

It is estimated that failing to keep your roof in good shape, it will lead to a loss of integrity in the structure of your roof over time, shortening your roof’s lifespan by up to 10 or 20 years.

By performing regular maintenance, such as adding caulking around your roof’s flashing to be sure they remain tightly sealed, you can keep moisture from seeping in.

Roof Repair or Replacement May Be Covered By Your Insurance

If your roof is damaged or ends up needing to be repaired or replaced, it isn’t something you should put off doing because the damage will only grow worse over time if not addressed.

However, keep in mind that depending on how your roof was damaged, and if you can show that the damage is not due to your own neglect or actions, the price for having the work done to fix or replace your roof will most likely be covered by your home owner’s insurance.

Don’t Delay Getting Your Roof Inspected (and Repaired, If Needed)

Don’t wait until the rain is pouring down through your roof into your living room, bedroom or kitchen before you get your roof inspected and, if need be, your roof damage repaired.

Plus having water rain running down your walls and onto your flooring is only going to cause additional water damage!

Have it look at now, while the weather is good, and the roofers aren’t swamped dealing with the roofing emergencies of those who made the costly mistake of waiting.

You will get your roof fixed sooner and for less money (since it is obviously much harder and more dangerous to fix a roof while it is raining/storming out).

If you would like more information or have questions or to see if your roof is damaged, please contact True Home Hawaii today.

May 9, 2019 0

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