Roofing Repairs

All About Roofing Repairs

It’s no secret that roofs are a major part of any structure. They protect us from harsh weather and everyday wear and tear.

It also doesn’t take a genius to realize that repairing one isn’t exactly like feeding the animals at the zoo. It can be dangerous and messy work.

1. Shingles

Shingles cover roofs and provide protection from the elements. They are available in a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials. If your home has older shingles that are beginning to show signs of wear, an annual roof inspection can help identify areas that need repair before the problem worsens.

A roof’s shingles are anchored by either roofing nails or adhesive strips. Generally, roofing nails have short shanks and sharp points, while adhesive strips have wider, flat heads that help them stick to the shingle’s surface without tearing it. When you spot a shingle that’s missing, loose, or damaged, you can replace it with a new shingle using a ladder and the proper tools.

Typically, you need a pry bar, a ladder, and a knife to make shingle repairs. You also need a good supply of replacement shingles that match the color and style of your existing shingles for a uniform appearance. The roofing contractor who installed your roof may have left you with a large number of replacement shingles that you can use for repair work. If not, you’ll need to order shingles that are the same color and style as your existing ones.

A missing shingle or a shingle that is pulled up or blown off can leave your roof exposed and vulnerable to leaks. You’ll want to repair these issues as soon as possible to avoid costly water damage to your home.

2. Flashing

A roof’s flashing is a thin piece of impervious metal bent into shape and installed in the joints between different parts of a structure’s roof. It helps to direct water away from vulnerable areas, and it also prevents the cracks and crevices beneath it from filling with ice and snow. Flashing is generally made of galvanized steel, although copper and other materials are sometimes used as well.

Flashing is most commonly found in areas where roof leaks are prone to occur, such as roof valleys (where two downward slopes meet) and around roof penetrations such as chimneys, plumbing vents, skylights, and other features. However, it can also be used in walls, doors, and windows.

It is important to replace any damaged roof flashing as soon as possible to help keep your home protected from moisture and other problems. A roofing professional should be able to inspect your flashing and determine whether it is in need of repair. The most common signs of damaged flashing are lifted shingles, which may indicate that the flashing is no longer doing its job and is allowing water to seep underneath them. Other symptoms of damaged flashing are rust, corrosion, or gaps between the flashing and the shingle.

The easiest way to repair a damaged piece of flashing is to remove the old one and then install a new piece in its place. This involves removing some of the roof’s shingles to access the flashing, so it is usually best to have a roofing contractor do this for you. It’s also important to make sure that the flashing is not put back in place over an existing layer, as this can lead to water getting trapped between the layers and causing further damage.

3. Vents

In a properly functioning home, roof vents allow air to flow through your attic space, pulling hot, stale air out and replacing it with fresh, clean air. This keeps your house at a consistent temperature throughout the year, reduces energy costs and prevents condensation that can damage wood beams and insulation. In addition, the regular movement of air keeps stale attic debris from building up and creating moisture problems in your living spaces.

If your vents are not working properly, or are missing altogether, it’s time to call a professional roofer. Your roofing contractor will begin by carefully removing old caulking and nails around the vent opening, removing any rotted or damaged wood as necessary. He will then remove any shingles that are covering the vent and cut through the sheathing at the hole marked for the new vent. He will also install a metal flashing strip to protect the attic and sheathing from water leaks.

There are several different types of roof ventilation available, depending on the type of home and climate. For cold climates, ridge vents with a baffle are commonly used because they keep frigid air from directly entering your living spaces. For warm climates, gable vents or a power vent system are often preferred. These vents have motorized fans to help pull hot, stale air out of the attic and come with thermostats and humidistats that control how often they operate.

Another option is an off-ridge vent. These are great for homes that don’t have a long, continuous ridge line for a traditional ridge vent to run across. They can be installed in a gable end or in the soffit area of your roof.

4. Gutters

Gutters are a crucial part of any home. They are designed to catch and divert rainwater away from the house during a storm. The gutters hang from the eaves and catch the water that sheds off of the roof. The water is then directed to the downspouts, which send the water far away from the house. This keeps water from collecting on the siding, foundation or other parts of the house. It also prevents fungal wood damage that can be expensive to repair.

As with your roofing, your gutters need regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly. They should be cleaned out twice a year to remove any dirt or debris that has built up. It is important to wear safety goggles and a work hat while cleaning the gutters. It is also a good idea to use a ladder with a standoff, or a helper, so you don’t accidentally lean on the gutters and damage them. If you’re not comfortable climbing a ladder, or if the gutters are too high to reach, you should contact a professional for gutter repair and cleaning.

If you notice water leaking from your gutters, or the downspouts seem to be clogged, you should call for a roof repair technician right away. It may be possible to stop the leaks by slipping a strip of adhesive ice-and-water barrier (available at most roofing supply stores) underneath the soffit/main roof joint, or into the downspout slot. This will stop the leaks and could also stop ice dams in the future. If the problem is severe, however, you might need to replace your gutters altogether. Having a gutter repair company assess the situation is the best way to know if you need to replace your gutters, and what type of gutters would be best for your home.

5. Soffit

The soffit is the underside of the eaves, connecting to and supporting a home’s fascia boards. The soffit and fascia boards are more than just cosmetic elements, however, because they also keep water and pests from entering the home. They help prevent the rotting of rafters and roof boards, keep out insects like bees, wasps, and squirrels, and provide an outlet for attic ventilation.

Typically, the soffit is made of wood or aluminum. UPVC (unplasticized vinyl) is becoming increasingly popular because it is cheaper than aluminum, easier to work with, and doesn’t rot or require painting as frequently. It is also available in many different finishes and colors to match any home’s style and aesthetic.

Because soffits are located under gutters, they often experience leaks and overflow which can lead to moisture damage on the exterior walls of the house. This is a major cause of expensive roof repair. If a homeowner sees evidence of this, they should call a roofing professional right away to have the problem fixed before it worsens.

Regularly sweeping and checking the soffit and fascia boards are important tasks that should be done by homeowners on a routine basis. The most common signs that the soffit and fascia are in need of repair are mold, rotted wood, or fading paint. Homeowners can easily check for mold by grabbing a screwdriver and tapping the soffit. If the wood immediately breaks apart, it may be time to have a professional remove and replace it. Other clues include seeing a bee, wasp, or squirrel nest, or finding that the soffit and fascia have been damaged by water. Licensed roofers and contractors can take care of all types of soffit and fascia repairs.