Most people don’t think about their roofs until there’s a problem that needs immediate repair. Roofs are especially susceptible to damage during the summertime when humid weather, strong sunlight, storms and various pests become potential problems. The most effective way to solve summer roofing problems is to understand how they develop and take preventive measures against them.
You can alleviate some common summer roof problems on your own, but in other cases, you’ll need experienced professionals to inspect and repair your roof. To help you understand how to protect your roof, here are the top roofing problems to look for in the summer.
1. Sun Damage
Warm summer days are great for spending time outdoors, but all that bright sunlight can also damage your roof. Prolonged exposure to the summer sun can cause fading and deterioration, as well as damage to the adhesives holding your roof in place. Much like your skin, the materials of your roof — including plastics, woods and asphalt shingles — can sustain significant damage from strong ultraviolet (UV) light. In the summer, the sun’s UV light has less atmospheric interference than in any other season and can do damage even on cloudy days.
Signs of sun damage to your roof include warping, fading, chipping and other deformities to the roofing materials. It may be difficult to identify sun damage from your view on the ground, so you may need to climb a ladder for a closer look or schedule a professional inspection.
2. High Humidity and Moisture
Hot, humid weather is another major source of summer roof issues — which can be made worse by poor ventilation in your attic space. Without good ventilation in high humidity, moisture can quickly build up, deteriorate your roof and promote rotting of the materials. If your roof has parts made of wood, these parts will readily absorb moisture, sustain damage from swelling and shrinking, and start to rot. Over time, damage from excessive moisture in your roof can lead to leaking and structural damage. Unventilated, moist environments also encourage the growth of mold, which may lead to further damage and allergy issues.
To avoid these problems, assess your roof’s structure before summer storms and be sure to clear your roof of branches and leaves when they start to build up. Debris traps moisture and hastens your roof’s aging. Consider contacting a professional roofing company to reinforce or repair your roof with waterproof materials that are immune to summertime humidity.
3. Heat Damage
If your roof doesn’t have shade protection from trees and other buildings, damage from the sun and heat will start to build up. Dark roofing materials like asphalt shingles will absorb particularly high levels of heat, leading to breakdown through rapid expansion during the day and contraction when the temperature cools down. These processes can compromise the structural integrity of your roof.
Other materials are also susceptible to heat damage. Metal parts may warp and create gaps in your roof. Your roof’s flashing, which protects sensitive structures like the joints and chimney, can melt or crack, leaving you vulnerable to water damage during summer rainstorms. It’s important to be aware that days of high heat can be a major source of damage to your roof.
4. Water Damage
Water damage is one of the main sources of damage to roofing, and summer rains can quickly worsen the problem. Damage to roof shingles in the form of breaking, cracking, warping or falling off can result in leaks over time. To reduce the potential for water damage, regularly inspect your roof for cracks and weak spots, and consider hiring a professional to assess your roof. If necessary, you might consider installing a waterproof layer with a professional.
Branches, leaves and other forms of debris on your roof may seem harmless, but they can be another source of water damage. When debris piles up in your gutter or on your low roofs, it traps moisture that can wear down your home over time. Be especially conscious of leaves, which generate moisture as they decay. This moisture, though not easily noticeable, can spread throughout your roof shingles and inflict water damage.
If not addressed early, a small leak may become a major and expensive undertaking. A leaky roof can lead to many other forms of damage to your home, including ceiling tile deterioration, mold growth and soiling of your walls and carpets. Being on alert for leakages in the summertime can save you from dealing with a serious set of maintenance problems. Look for wear and tear on your roof, as well as any stains on interior walls. Your attic or crawl space may also give you signs of leakage — look for small spots of light coming through during the day. Openings big enough to allow in light will likely cause a leak.
5. Storm Damage
Summer storms can cause a variety of problems for your roof. You should check your roof for damage after every storm. Heavy winds can break shingles or even blow them off your roof. Storms can also cause tree branches and other debris to collide with and damage your roof. There are certain precautions you can take if you know a storm is about to hit your area:
- Assess your roof for any potential leaks into your home.
- Make sure your gutters aren’t clogged, as weighed-down gutters can break off from your roof during a storm.
- Check nearby trees for any large branches or limbs that could fall from strong winds and damage your roof.
Spots of light visible from inside your attic or crawl space are a good sign you’ve sustained roof damage after a storm. If you suffer significant damage to the structure of your roof, repair or replacement by a professional may be your only option.
6. Moss and Algae Growth
Moisture often brings moss and algae growth along with it. Though a small amount of moss or algae won’t do damage, significant amounts will trap excessive moisture and break down the wooden materials of your roof. Even if your roof is made of metal or asphalt, moss growth may lift the shingles and allow more water damage to occur. Moss spreads through the air as spores, lands on your roof and begins to grow in wet weather. It becomes harder to eliminate the longer it has been on your roof, so be sure to get rid of it as soon as possible.
You can remove moss from your roof with a pressure washer, but you might consider hiring a professional — improper pressure-washing may damage your shingles. Be sure to exercise safety precautions like wearing boots with good traction and using a secure ladder on stable ground. After cleaning, applying a solution of zinc sulfate or potassium salts will kill the remaining moss.
7. Pest Problems
Many kinds of insect and rodent pests can create damaging and expensive problems with your roof. Most of these pests emerge in full force during the summer, and if you haven’t inspected your roof and taken precautions, they may find a new home in your roof. Common pests that can damage your roof include:
Termites, for example, can cause structural issues like damaged timbers and sagging floors and roofs. On top of eating food and contaminating it with pathogens, rats can also cause a series of problems with your roof. They gnaw electrical wires and wooden structures, including ledges, doors, walls and wall material. In order to nest, they also tear up wall and ceiling insulation. If rats are living anywhere in your home, they can cause significant damage with their gnawing and nest-building behaviors.
Summer Roof Tips
Now that you’re familiar with the top summer roofing problems, there are several precautions you can take to minimize damage from them. With regular inspections and maintenance, your roof can last much longer and save you the costs of repairs and replacement over time. Follow these summer roof tips to protect your roof from damage during the summer months:
1. Check Roof Insulation and Attic Ventilation
You may think insulation is only important in the winter, but it plays just as important a role in the summer. Your roof’s insulation helps keep your house cool, but it can become damp from humidity or leaks. Proper attic ventilation is also important during the summer, as an unventilated attic may become hot and humid, promoting the growth of mold and mildew.
Some signs of roof mold damage include watermarks along your attic’s ceiling and walls, a musty smell or visible mildew in your attic and discolored rafters that have absorbed moisture from a leak in your roof. Be sure to check local regulations and have a professional check your roof insulation and attic ventilation.
2. Inspect Shingles and Flashing
The shingles of your roof expand and contract due to the blazing temperatures of summer days and the cooler weather at night. This repeated process, on top of damage from UV light, causes your shingles to grow brittle, crack, warp and fall off.
Carefully inspect your roof for broken or missing shingles, as this can lead to added damage from the elements. It’s also important to inspect the flashing around any joints, vents and chimneys on your roof, as these components typically fail before shingles. If you see any damp spots on your roof, be sure to inspect them for mold and mildew.
3. Trim Nearby Trees
To avoid subjecting your roof to unnecessary damage from storms, trim any trees near your home. Target large limbs and branches that could fall on and damage your shingles, but also prune away branches and twigs. These smaller forms of debris won’t damage your shingles, but they can collect in gutters, creating major clogs.
Overhanging leaves and twigs can also fall onto low roofs and trap water, creating moisture problems. Roofs with a significant enough layer of debris will be less effective at reflecting the sun, leading your home to overheat in the summer.
4. Check for Mold, Moss and Algae
The warmth and humidity of summer make prime growing conditions for mold, moss and algae. Left unchecked, these growths can decay your shingles and promote moisture damage to your roof’s structure. Algae can be found on your roof and in your gutters, causing damage to both through water buildup.
Some people like the look of moss, and while a slight amount may not be damaging, it’s best to remove it as soon as possible. Moss buildup will cause shingles to curl and crack and will become more difficult to eliminate the longer it’s allowed to grow.
Mold spores are abundant during the summer due to hot temperatures and humidity, so be sure to check your attic’s walls and ceiling for signs of mold growth. Long-term exposure to toxic mold may harm your home’s inhabitants, so being vigilant about mold is important to your well-being.
5. Inspect Your Eaves
Your roof’s eaves — the part that overhangs the walls of your home — are susceptible to damage from insects. Stinging insects tend to build nests or hives on the underside of eaves, so if you notice signs of insect activity, be sure to call an exterminator. Insect damage to your eaves and siding can allow moisture into your roof, deteriorating its materials and structural integrity. Remember to inspect your eaves regularly, as it’s easy to overlook this component of roofing.
6. Clean Your Gutters
Your roof’s gutters are vulnerable to clogging from a number of sources, including leaves, dirt, debris, animal nests and more. If left unattended, clogged gutters can become a major headache to clean out. Clear, functioning gutters are especially important in the summer, when heavy rainfall can occur. If your gutters don’t work, the water will fall down the sides of your home and potentially damage your exterior siding.
Clogged gutters can also cause water to collect on your roof and damage shingles with excessive moisture. You may notice that your gutters are bending or sagging — a visual sign that your gutters are full of debris. If left alone, sagging gutters can start to pull away from your home. You can clean your gutters yourself or call a gutter repair specialist.
Schedule a Free Roof Inspection
Many homeowners aren’t aware of all the potential threats to roof integrity. Your roof is vulnerable to damage from a variety of sources including heat, debris, storms, pests, moisture and mold. Being proactive and scheduling regular inspections and maintenance can help you fix issues quickly, save money and extend the life span of your roof.
If you notice any problems with your roof, such as damp spots, leaks, broken shingles, clogged gutters or moss growth, it may be time to call a professional. Scro’s Roofing has over 25 years of experience in commercial and residential roofing, providing unmatched expertise and customer satisfaction. Contact our team today to schedule a free inspection or learn more about our services.