Not all roof repairs are a result of a leak having occurred. There are numerous reasons for needing repair. Eventually, if left unattended, these issues could certainly lead to water intrusion so in effect, they could be considered preemptive action.
Roof repairs are often required to correct issues such as loose shingles, shakes, or tiles, missing or loose flashing, structural issues such as soft or spongy sections, adding a roof cricket behind a wide chimney that is prone for debris accumulation, or where waves and dips are notice across the roof field.
While spending money on repairs is rarely enjoyable, if ignored, all of these situations can lead to even more expense repairs once water damage is brought into the picture. We will take a brief look at each of these areas.
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Asphalt or composition shingles have very strict nailing ranges to be adhered to during installation. Yet all too often, unskilled roofers neglect this very simple but important requirement. Failure to do so can lead to shingle problems a few years down the road.
Loose shingles as a result of nails that have popped up can be a sign of issues with the sheathing underneath, often a result of inadequate ventilation issues. When moisture levels from underside condensation too get high, the sheathing can expand and contract, loosening roofing nails. Eventually, this can lead to shingle loss.
Excessive storm wind can also lift shingles that would have otherwise stayed secure.
Replacement of cedar shakes is common at the time of periodic maintenance to treat the roof. While the original shakes were nailed into the skip sheathing (spaced boards with gaps to allow exhaust venting of the internal attic air,) subsequently replaced shakes may not connect to the sheathing. Despite best efforts being made, it is not fault of the roof repair technician if they are not able to find where the sheathing is located as a result of trying to install a new shake using a “blind nailing” technique while it is surrounded by other shakes that are not getting replaced. When the nail misses the sheathing, the shakes are still virtually always adequately secure since they are nailed through the shake below them, creating an interlocking system.
On occasion, however, a shake that is not adequately connected will over time loosen, eventually making it subject to sliding out after much time, particularly after storms. Additionally, the nail hole around the nail can get soft and widen over time, also recreating another way in which cedar shakes can loosen and slide down.
Loose tiles can be the result of some of the above issues, but most commonly are the result of falling branches, high winds, failed fixings, or a corroded nail.
Loose or Missing Flashing
There are fewer reasons for the various roof flashings to be loose or missing. Typically, it is the result of either missing or corroded nail. Even though virtually all flashing is galvanized, over time and with much wear and tear, many flashings start to rust. This can be another reason for proactively choosing to have them replaced if the roof still has adequate remaining life. Finally, there are some roofs that were installed without flashing and are loosing valuable roof life due to unnecessary exposure of the sheathing to the elements.
Crickets and Miscellaneous Repairs
One inherent problem that a chimney presents to a roofing system is that it is large, vertical protrusion through the roof. Due to this, both debris and water flow down the roof straight into a vertical wall created by the backside of the chimney. Fortunately, the vast majority of chimneys are small enough so that correct, professionally installed chimney flashing adequately directs the water to the side and periodic roof maintenance is able to remove accumulated debris before it becomes problematic.
On occasion, a chimney will be of such size, particularly its width, that it presents too long of a wall, so to speak. As a result, excessive debris accumulates (which acts to slow the proper evacuation of rain water) and too much water is constantly directed into it.
As a result, a cricket may be recommended and required. A cricket is simply a small roof gable that extends from the roof field directly across to the middle of the back of the chimney. It creates two small roof valleys that direct water to the sides of the chimney. The result is that the backside of the chimney is no longer a stopping point for water and debris.
Other miscellaneous roof repairs include roofing over old roof penetrations such as old, torn down chimneys, skylights that have been removed or vents that are no longer needed, modifying and installing additional attic ventilation, and repairing skylights.
Waves and Dips
It is important to immediately say that if the occurrence of waves and dips in the roofing material is widespread most of a roof, repair is not advised and money is best spent toward a new roof. However, if the problem is isolated, then repair might be an option. Most commonly, this problem occurs as the result of roof sheathing that has been installed without a gap to allow for expansion. Without that available gap the boards push against each other and start to lift, creating a wave pattern. Typically, this will be visible in increments of 4’ to 8’. If isolated, the entire roof section can be removed and replaced.
Similar at first glace can a situation resulting from excessive moisture in the underlay (if organic felt) that was not allowed to dry before shingle installation. This can some times result in wrinkled felt and bubbles between the shingles and decking. As with improperly spaced sheathing, repair is only recommended if isolated to a limited area.
Soft and Spongy Sections
This roof problem is commonly the result of wet or dry rot, which in itself is usually the result of water intrusion (even if a blatant leak has not yet presented itself in the interior of the house.) Except in catastrophic situations, this issue can often be repaired because it is tied to a specific intrusion location versus being the result of an installation error. The repair involves removing a large enough section of the roof to ensure that all affected sheathing boards are replaced.
Often with general roof repairs, as opposed to a leaking roof, there is more exterior evidence of what is wrong and needs to be corrected. Nonetheless, a professional opinion will generally provide you with better information and allow for a more thorough plan of action.
We are ready to help you with solutions to whatever roof issue is troubling your house.
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