For homeowners, there are few phrases more stressful to hear than “roof failure.”
Immediately you imagine the worst-case scenario — your roof is collapsing, and your wallet is about to get a lot lighter.
But roof failure doesn’t always happen in such an obvious way. Knowing the most common reasons residential asphalt shingle roofs fail can help you ask the right questions of your roofer or insurance company before the damage is done. Many things can cause roof failure, but here are 5 things that can help you to avoid it.
1. Install with care to prevent roof failure
Quality materials matter — but they are only as good as the roofer installing them.
Improper roof installation can cause any number of problems for the homeowner down the road, and you’d be amazed how many issues we see each week that were caused by poor or lazy workmanship.
Poorly installed shingles are more prone to blow off in high wind, to slide off on steep slopes and to suffer water penetration and premature wear — even if your builder or roofer has used high-quality materials. Plus, inexperienced roofers will often skip doing a thorough inspection of your roof deck, which will lead to continued problems down the road.
2. Materials matter for a good roof installation
One of the most common causes of roof failure is the use of poor-quality shingles during roof installation. That can come back to bite you in more ways than one. Right here in Georgia, an estimated 100,000 homes were built with Atlas Chalet shingles, a product that was discontinued seven years ago after the product was found to cause extensive blistering, cracking and loss of the granular surface as soon as one year after installation.
Now, when those roofs suffer damage (a common occurrence with this particularly bad brand of shingle), homeowners can’t simply replace the damaged section with new shingles. The only way to repair the damage is to replace the entire roof — a cost insurance companies often refuse to pay. Homeowners are then stuck with an enormous bill.
Cheaply made materials may seem appealing at first due to their lower cost, but the up-front savings will lead to a much bigger headache in the long term.
3. Layers of protection can be provided by proper shingle installation
In most areas of the country, a roof can’t withstand exposure to the elements with just a layer of shingles to protect it. An additional underlayment is needed to prevent water penetration. Part of this underlayment system is flashing, a material used over joints in the roofing system that are particularly prone to leaks.
When installed properly, flashing is vital to the long-term viability of your roofing system. It keeps your roof water-tight, which in turn protects the interior of your home from leaks or other damage.
If installed incorrectly, water or debris can seep into the roof deck or joints — which means rot, leaks and, eventually, roof failure.
4. Maintain appropriate ventilation to keep the heat down
Have you ever noticed that some parts of your house always feel warmer, even if you have a new or well-maintained AC system? Are your utility bills unusually high? It may be the result of improper roof ventilation.
To stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, your roof needs good air flow. It should have the proper type of exhaust and adequate intake.
If your builder or roofer is inexperienced in ventilation, you could lose many years on the life of your roof because it will bake from the inside out. The improper use of ventilation, like a power fan below a ridge vent or vents blocked by insulation, can cause shingles to blister, pop and lose their textured granules. That puts your roof in jeopardy.
5. Take action to prevent roof failure
The best thing you can do to prevent roof failure is use a contractor who is properly insured and certified by the manufacturer and who is committed to quality throughout the installation process — from materials selection to the finished product. Give us a call and schedule a free, no-obligation assessment of your roof. We will provide you with several different manufacturer warranty options that give you peace of mind for up to 50 years!
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about roofing, please visit our Knowledge Center. There you will find an archive of our past articles that may save you lots of money on your next roof replacement or roof repair. If you have further questions or need your roof inspected for damage, please call us or request a call. We look forward to serving our neighbors!