As South Florida residents, we are very aware of the constant abuse our roofs take with the constant sunshine, sporadic weather, high humidity and of course hurricanes. These types of extremes are not felt in most places but as summer approaches, so does the daily heavy doses that come from our rainy season.
Every year, from May to October, Florida has a typical schedule of very sudden heavy downpours that can eventually cause roof issues that occur over the course of time. In this article we will discuss the typical signs that may suggest either having your roof repaired, sealed or even replaced to prevent roof leaks.
- Ceiling Stains or noticeable mold/condensation buildup. The first, easiest to spot is obviously an actual roof leak that you find dripping through your ceiling at some point in the house. If you should notice this, it is probably a good idea to immediately call the professionals to find out exactly where the leak is coming from. We suggest this not because it is what we do professionally, but because typically leaks can start many feet from where the water ends up and is best to stop water from the source instead of just trying to seal where the water is coming in. These areas can obviously be anywhere but over the course of time a stain or mold will become noticeable no matter the paint color.
- Discoloring of roof or heavy mold/algae buildup. This is more of an outside look and noticing if there is a significant change in coloring over the rooftop. If there is then there might be a future issue as this typically is caused by a breakdown of the shingle and moisture is able to stay attached. Algae and moss prefer moist locations. If you start to notice excessive moss / algae growth after a dry period (during an abundance of wet weather if may be natural if the humidity is high for long period of time) then there is a chance that it is soaking in under the roof material and possible starting to cause roof rot or roof leaks. You can have us look at the mold and determine if it is the beginning of water retention or where the issue is that is causing mold to grow and not only can we clean it but depending on the situation if caught early enough it may save you from having to purchase a new roof for years to come.
- Shingles missing, curled or granular erosion. As the weather wears on rooftops, there are some typical signs that your roof may be getting ready to give up. As this is more about shingles as tile and metal roofs have longer lifetime and typically do not have breakdowns like shingles, this section is solely for the asphalt based roof. As you look up on your roof from the ground and you can see random shingles “out of place” or lifted in any way, this is a sign that the shingle has lost some of its strength and is becoming brittle and worn. At this phase they most likely have already started to lose granules and these would be filling your gutters (if you have gutters) or spread on the ground around house base. With shingles in this condition it is usually a good idea to replace if they are isolated because they no longer will be stopping back flowing water. The same plan is in place if your shingles have already broken off and blown away, the first step is to identify as soon as possible and repair before it becomes to large of an issue.
- Flashing around chimney, vents and edging. It is actually a common misconception that roof leaks are from the shingles, tile or metal seams, when in fact approximately 90 percent of leaks occur from the sealing around flashing. Flashing is the metal that is placed around vents, skylights, chimneys and edge of house. When this seal (tar) dries up and cracks, the result is pealing and bending of the flashing which leaves large gaps for water to flow in to. Having the roof checked annually by a LOCAL ROOFING COMPANY can be a very wise investment to catch this before it becomes an issue. The other option that can be done, and just so happens to be our specialty, is a unique process called WATERPROOFING. This is a great way to not only help prevent future leaks, but also maintain your roofs lifetime as well.
- Proper ventilation from attic. Most commonly overlooked as a potential source of wear on the roof stems from improper airflow ventilation under the roof. This is when the soffit becomes blocked on the edge and the main roof vent is blocked to the point where the heat or cold has no place to go so it does not allow for equal distribution of temperature. In St. Lucie County, the roof temps easily can go into the 120-130 degree temp and if the attic below is not venting, then it does not allow the shingles to cool properly. The other issue with this is if your AC duct work or air handler is in the attic, it will severely shorten your AC life expectancy as well.
- Keeping the roof clear from debris and branches. This will be something most insurance companies will require as they do yearly inspections, but if not your typical chore, it might be a good idea to make it one. The tree that has branches scraping the roof can do major damage in short order as the wind blows. The other side is branches and debris that have already fallen and are sitting on your roof distorting the natural flow of water. As they remain for any period of time, this causes the water to find new paths and when this happens it can cause excessive wear on specific areas of your roof, eventually deteriorating the roofing material at an accelerated rate. The last part of this is keeping your gutters clear as much as possible. The gutters that can’t keep up with the draining water will give way to flooding waters at the edge of the roof and it will eventually start a trail back up the roof which can cause a roof leaking potential in very little time. If we were not talking about South Florida rainy season, it would not be too much to be concerned about, however, when 5 inches of rain can fall in under an hour, water has to go somewhere.
- Condition of the attic. This all will depend on how much attic space you can see and if it is safe to go up there. Generally speaking, if you can see that there is a heavy mildew smell in the attic then there may be leaking that is starting to soak into the insulation. The other part of this is mold on the actual insulation. If you notice this then it is definitely time to call your local roofer to inspect cause (whether is be ventilation or leaking). There are definitely some different fixes that do not always require completely re-roofing and some might be as simple as putting in roofing ventilation fans that help balance heat and airflow. With some types of fans you can actually see a break on your AC usage as it does not have to work as hard.
These are just some of the main conditions that J B Roofing sees on a daily basis when diagnosing roofing issues and roof leaks. There are many other factors that can play a role in the roofing world: Age of roof, layers of shingles that have been placed, location of property (near water, in wooded area, or direct sunlight) and style of roof (flat / hip). With our services we always try to suggest the best alternative for the owner to fit budget and long term goals.
In closing, your roof takes quite a beating from all sorts of natural and unnatural forces. In our area we tend to see more issues that could be prevented from just having a professional roofing company take a few moments each year to do a thorough roof maintenance of possible issues and apply some preventative steps to elongate the life of your roof. If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, then the main keys to keep on top of are the following:
- Do a perimeter check of your property to make sure no trees/branches are close or touching the roof in any place.
- If safe, check your attic to see if you notice any mold on insulation or if you can see daylight thru your roof vents (ensuring air flow).
- Check out the shingle conditions by looking straight up the roof from ground level to see if you notice any variance between shingle/tile location
- If you have gutters, and can safely reach them, make sure they are clean at all times. During this check, if you have asphalt shingles check the gutter trough for large quantities of granules which might indicate wear on the shingles.
- Depending upon your roof types, make sure you check out parts of the roof that have valleys where debris and water can collect.
Your roof is your protection for your home and family, make sure you take the time to keep a keen eye on what is happening around it. A few small fixes can make your roof last many years longer than one that is just left to fend for itself. As we begin another heavy rainy season, we can definitely help ensure your roof is up to code and made to last. There are some significant values to waterproofing your roof, if you would like to have a free estimate while getting ready for the season, give us a call today: 772-834-ROOF.