“It’s important to be proactive when it comes to roof repair so that you can ensure it’s properly protecting your home and those living inside it,” said Lance Dahl, CR, Senior Sales Representative – Exterior Products with Callen Construction in Muskego. “If problems do arise, a roof will exhibit distinct warning signs that can easily be identified and evaluated.”
A clear indication that there is an issue with a roof is when water spots or stains appear on the ceiling, as this suggests the roof is leaking. “Sometimes it can be tricky to pinpoint the source of the leak, because water doesn’t always fall directly downward. Water can occasionally divert and traverse across lumber in the attic or roof panels before falling onto insulation and producing that notorious yellow water stain,” Lance said. “In other words, the leak can be in a location other than straight above the water damage on the ceiling.” Keep in mind that water stains on the ceiling should not instantly be associated with a leaking roof. There are cases where the marks are caused by condensation, windows, or plumbing. “Although, if you notice that the spots are only visible after it rains and they continually increase in size and become darker, it is highly probable that a leaky roof is the cause,” he said.
If water spots on a home’s exterior walls are clearly apparent, it is safe to assume that the step flashing, which is where the roof comes in contact with the wall, is rusted, loose, or is suffering from another form of wear and tear. “Just like water stains on the ceiling, if the problem seems to intensify with the onset of rain, other causes can be ruled out and the flashing, in all likelihood, is to blame,” said Lance. Less common explanations include leaky windows or siding materials that form openings.
Seeing a fair number of granules traveling down gutters and downspouts is indicative of degrading shingles that are reaching the end of their lifespan. “Now it’s perfectly normal to see a relatively small quantity of granules in gutters, however, if downspouts are expelling excessive amounts of granules whenever it rains, it’s time for action,” he said. In this scenario, it’s recommended to use a ladder and survey the condition of the shingles. If they are exposed, meaning a majority of the granules are missing, then replacing them is a wise choice. “The purpose of granules is to protect against the sun’s damaging UV rays and once they deteriorate, they can no longer effectively do their job. In severe cases where the granules are completely absent, the shingles will form smooth or bald spots,” Lance said.
Missing granules and cracking shingles go hand in hand. Cracked shingles are typically the result of missing granules, which subsequently causes the shingles to become fragile. Direct sunlight will only exacerbate this process. These circumstances typically signal that the shingles are nearing the end of their warranty and shingle replacement is almost always necessary.
Sometimes, shingles will begin to cup, or the corners will turn up, producing a wavy-like appearance. An attic with poor ventilation will amplify the problem. “A hot attic will heat up the undersurface of the shingles, which speeds up the aging process and leads to cupping,” Lance said. “After a while, rain can navigate its way underneath the shingles and into a home. Keep in mind inferior attic ventilation and cupping is not necessarily a direct cause-effect relationship. More often times shingles curl due to weathering and age, but a hot attic doesn’t help matters.”
An obvious sign that warrants shingle replacement and roof repair is when there are missing shingles. Animals are capable of climbing up onto a roof and loosening or damaging shingles, so it’s important to trim tree branches that are near the roof, as this will help with deterrence. Alternatively, the sealant underneath the shingles, which firmly holds them in place, can eventually wear out, especially if the shingles are old and weak. “It’s important for shingles to be replaced in this situation because they are strategically placed in an overlapping pattern to keep water and moisture out. If shingles are missing, the pattern will be broken and water can enter the home,” said Lance.
From water spots to missing shingles, a roof can tell homeowners a lot about its condition. “It’s helpful to take note of these classic signs and symptoms of an aging or damaged roof so you can be proactive when it comes to your home,” he said. “A roof is a vital aspect of a house, as it plays a major role in the exterior envelope, which protects against weather and other elements. For safety purposes and peace of mind, you want to be confident that your roof is always in tiptop shape.” If you’re seeing the signs, contact Callen for roof repair.