Your roof protects your home and the contents within, so it's important you as a homeowner do what you can to protect your roofing. Here are three things that can wreak havoc on your roof and the preventative measures you can take.
1. Fallen Tree Limbs
A broken tree limb can weigh hundreds of pounds, and if one falls on your roof, it can do serious damage. Depending on where and how it falls, a wayward branch can destroy your rain spout and gutter system, scrape off shingles and flashing, or puncture a hole through the roof. A very large limb could even fall through the roof and into the attic!
Weather conditions play a big part in broken tree limbs. High winds from summer storms, hurricanes, and blizzards can easily snap branches and send them flying. Ice storms or heavy, wet snow settling in a tree can also cause limbs to break. Insect infestation can also weaken a tree. Don't ignore the health of your tree and the importance of regular pruning, especially of any trees that are near your home. Call a certified arborist to safely do the job for you.
2. Heavy Snow
Some areas of the country, such as the mountainous regions in the west and the Great Lakes snow belts, receive a tremendous amount of snow during their long winters. While most roofs can handle a substantial snow load, a roof that is in poor condition to begin with may struggle to stand up under the additional weight.
Fluffy, dry snow is relatively light, but the wet snow that is difficult to shovel is very heavy and can weigh up to three times as much! Snow tends to be heavier closer to spring when there is more moisture in the air. Homes may already have substantial snow buildup, and a late winter blizzard with a lot of heavy snow could put a roof at risk of a partial or complete collapse.
The type of roof you have also plays a role in how well it will stand up to heavy snow loads. A roof with a steep pitch is best, as the snow can easily slide off. A structure with a low pitch or worse, a flat roof, will struggle more.
Schedule an annual inspection every fall with a professional roofer. This will provide peace of mind that your home's roof is intact and able to stand up to anything Mother Nature sends that winter. And if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow, find an insured contractor.
Termites and carpenter ants can do significant damage to your home, and your roof is not immune. Drywood termites may leave droppings behind, often depositing them at the bottom of window sills or the roof, but drywood termites seal themselves inside the wood, so they're generally difficult to detect.
Carpenter ants are common in the eastern United States. They are attracted to wet or moldy areas in your home, and once they arrive, it doesn't take them long to chew tunnels through your damp and rotting studs and joists, weakening the integrity of your home. You may find piles of sawdust or hear a faint sound behind the walls as the army chomp away at your house.
If the region you live in is prone to termites, carpenter ants, or other house-wrecking pests, don't assume you don't have a problem just because you can't see or hear them. Schedule a periodic inspection with an exterminator to check for any possible insect or critter activity.
Be sure to call a roofer at the first sign of a leak, too. Because carpenter ants are attracted to moisture, it's extremely important to not give them a reason to come calling. Speedy roof repairs are a must to protect your roof from bigger issues.