When people think of roof damage, most people picture weather-related problems. Not all roof damage looks like wind-damaged shingles or a branch through the roof, though. There are several common but lesser-known causes of roof damage that you should keep an eye on.
Did you know that sweeping leaves off your roof can prevent a variety of problems? If you’ve ever seen a wet pile of leaves on the ground, you know just how much water they can hold. Now imagine that sitting against your roof. Piles of leaves on your roof not only look untidy, but they can also collect behind chimneys and in valleys, retaining moisture and blocking the flow of water off the roof. This can cause a buildup of standing water, leading to damage to the roof and leaks.
Cleaning can cause damage, too? Didn’t you just say leaves need to be cleaned off the roof? It’s true, leaves and twigs should regularly be swept off the roof with a soft brush, and gutters should be cleared of all debris so water can flow freely away from the home. Make sure you stop short of using your power washer, no matter how dirty you feel your roof looks, though. Power washing your roof will damage the shingles and should never be done by anyone other than a professionally with a properly calibrated washer to clean a roof. If your roof is driving you mad and you need to have it cleaned, there are gentle cleaning solutions available for DIYers, or you can leave it to the professionals to make sure you get the clean roof you want with no damage.
Chimneys are unique in that they’re perfectly placed to collect water and debris even when they’re perfectly installed. While some chimneys have what’s called a chimney cricket installed on them to help divert these things, some do not. A buildup of debris and water around the chimney is a recipe for disaster in the form of leaks and damage. This damage will be even worse if there are any issues with the flashing installation around the chimney.
Whether you’re hopping up to retrieve a lost frisbee or attempting to inspect it for possible damage, getting on your roof isn’t a great idea. Not only can it be hazardous if you aren’t careful, walking on the roof can cause damage as well for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Older roofs will have UV and storm damage that can make them more dangerous and susceptible to damage from the weight of someone walking. Even brand-new shingles will lose granules whenever someone walks on them, so walking on the roof should be avoided whenever possible.
Although these are common causes of roof damage, many people are unaware of the harm these things can cause. Knowing these sources of damage will help you avoid them as well as recognize when and if they do happen.