It is all too easy to take an aging roof system for granted. Those that move into a home with a relatively new roof may overlook roof maintenance for years at a time. One of the tricky things about an aging roof is that it is often possible to limp along for years as shingles, underlayment or other roof components quietly deteriorate. Then, one day, when the roof is severely stressed, it is possible that a partial or total collapse could occur.
1. Development of undetected, damaging leaks
However, it is important to consider the potential for undetected damage. Falling branches may damage the roof enough to cause leaks. Leaks may also develop after large hail may damage shingles to the point that they deteriorate prematurely. Also, flashings may rip loose in heavy winds. Ice dams may also damage shingles and flashings to the point that leaks result. Undetected leaks may result in rotting of the plywood, timbers and/or rafters. Such deterioration compromises even the most well-designed and properly installed roof.
2. More expensive roof repairs or replacement
Due to the nature of Montgomery County's climate, extended periods of precipitation may combine with roof leaks to leave roof plywood, rafters and drywall wet for weeks. Once undetected roof leaks lead to rotting wood or damaged drywall, there is little choice but to tear out all the affected building materials. Costs rapidly escalate when such extensive repairs become necessary.
3. Threat to the health and safety of occupants
The collapse of an aging roof when people are at home could lead to injury. Short of a roof collapse, an aging roof presents other problems that threaten to compromise the health and safety of a home's occupants. Although much attention is given to walls that remain moist long enough to allow mold or mildew to develop, similar problems may occur in attics. Chronically wet attic insulation and/or ceiling drywall may also generate unwanted and potentially dangerous mold and mildew. Also, there's the risk to electrical systems. Wet wires may short out, causing outages, or in a worst-case scenario, a devastating fire.
4. Can't handle thunderstorms and tropical systems
Montgomery County roofs are subject to weather extremes all four seasons of the year. During hurricane season, tropical storms, frequently with record rains and sustained winds of 40-50 mph, place enormous strains on aging residential roofs. A severe thunderstorm packing hurricane-force wind gusts, heavy rain and even large hail will often expose the weaknesses in an aging roof. A weakened roof may not survive the impact of a large branch that crashes down during a severe storm. Rotting wood and corroding metal may unduly weaken a roof the next time it's hit by torrential rains drive by heavy rains.
5. Roof can't handle heavy snow and ice loads
In the winter, heavy, wet snow accumulating to two feet or more may created unprecedented snow loads that threaten to compromise aging roofs. Heavy snow loads and serious ice dams may even cause the collapse of roof sections. The Weather Channel documented roof collapses in at least four states, including Maryland, when the winter storm known as Jonas buried the region in late January 2016 with 2-3 feet of snow.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publishes a guide to help property owners calculate snow loads. It is not only heavy snow and ice accumulations that threaten a roof. Shifting or sliding snow and ice may drop from one roof level to another, subjecting the roofing below to a sudden destructive force.
6. Potential damage to home and personal belongings
When all or part of an aging roof collapses, the potential threat to people and property is very real. If a homeowner is away from his or her property at the time of a roof failure, water may saturate the living space and treasured personal belongings for hours on end. Although insurance may blunt the impact of such loss to a degree, the potential threat to treasured belongings should not be underestimated.
A Roof Inspection Protects Your Investment
For many a property owner, their home is the single largest investment they ever make. The roof is one of the most important house components that will protect that investment. Ultimately, it also protects the safety and well-being of your home's occupants, and it protects your valuable belongings as well.
The way to ensure your roof's integrity and the long-term safety of your home, its occupants and your personal belongings is with periodic roof inspections. It is important to recognize that this is a job strictly for a certified professional roof inspector capable of identifying both visible damage and the subtle, telltale signs of developing problems. A qualified inspector can analyze shingles, shakes and other roof components as they wear over time.
Contact Us Today
If you've been putting off a roof inspection, why not take that important step today? Please contact us to arrange for a visit by a certified roof inspector. There is no cost to you for an estimate. Our inspector will also gladly answer any questions that you may have about the care and maintenance of your roof.
At BRAX Roofing, we like to think of our roofing professionals and each homeowner we serve as a team. Together, we can help you get the most out of your roof over the long-term, even extending its life in some cases. Please contact us today. We look forward to meeting with you.