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Common roof problems and how to repair them

Before you get started with your new roofing project, it is important to understand what caused the problem in the first place, in order to avoid future roofing problems. This guide will inform you about the common contributors to damage of your roof as well as common problems you will find with a roof. Once you identify the culprit of your damaged roof, you can proceed to repair the problem. We realize that identifying the repair work needed is often difficult and takes a certain amount of expert knowledge. Climbing on top of your roof can be dangerous as well, especially if the roof is damaged or weak. That is why ImproveNet provides homeowners with the option of finding qualified roofers for free. Please see the find a contractor button if you feel that you would like help with your roofing project. 

Lack of maintenance is the number one issue needing roof repair. For tips on roof maintenance see the Roofing Maintenance & Tips section of ImproveNet's Roofing Guide. As your roof ages it slowly deteriorates, without maintenance these minor repairs worsen into a major problem. Lack of maintenance leads to the shortening of your roof's life, especially if you have a low-sloped roof.

The elements are also a tremendous cause of roofing damage and deterioration. For example, the sun's heat and ultraviolet rays cause decay of materials over time. Usually, sides facing west or south are the first to deteriorate due to sun damage over time. Rain can get underneath roofing materials and will lead to the rot of the roof deck. This can eventually cause mildew and rot in other places of the house such as walls, ceilings, electrical systems, and insulation. Wind is a more sudden type of damage. Roofs can be damaged from winds between 50 and 70 miles per hour. The damage is mainly caused by wind blowing over the edge of the roof creating a vacuum that pushes up on the bottom side of the roof. This can cause roofing fasteners to loosen, leaving your home susceptible. 

Blowing debris is also a type of wind damage. If you live in a windy climate, make sure you find a roofing contractor that can provide a highly resistant roof that will protect your home, even during the worst of storms. 

Algae and moss are also enemies of you roof. Moss grows on damp wooden shingles, and algae can grow on wooden and asphalt shingles that are damp. Once they have started to grow, they retain more water, causing your roof to rot. In addition to rot, algae and moss are an unsightly addition to your home. If this problem is caught early enough, a new roof may not be necessary, as there are other options to this problem.

Snow and ice are extremely damaging factors to roofing. As snow on top of the roof melts, it refreezes on the cooler surface of the overhang, causing an ice dam. As more snow melts, the water gets backed up causing water log underneath shingles. If this water freezes again, it can cause roofing singles to be pried up. Furthermore, ice that forms in gutters can cause irreversible damage, sometimes ripping the gutters straight of the side of your home. It is clear to see that there are many considerations that need to be discussed before selecting your roof. However, an experienced roofer should be able to give you the best idea of what type of material is right for where you live. 

Flashing problems and improper design are the other major cause of roofing problems. Flashings are generally sheet metal, but can be other material installed into a roof system's joints and valleys to prevent water seepage. For example the metal sheet around your chimney is a type of flashing. Most leaks that you find in your "roof" are actually flashing leaks. Without durable, tight roofing flashings around chimneys, vents, skylights and wall/roof junctions, water may enter your home and causing damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems. It is recommended that roofing flashings be checked bi-annually by a qualified roofer, as part your roof inspection and gutter cleaning. 

If your roof is sagging, it could be because of improper design. The structure may have been planned incorrectly, and this is causing water to collect on your roof. If this is your case, it is time for emergency roof repair. Make sure you find an experienced roofer as soon as possible, in order to fix this problem. The key is finding an experienced and recommended roofing contractor that can properly design a roof that is beautiful and functional, that will work for you.

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