Roof Repairs: Recognizing Roof-Wearing Signs Just in Time
“We must reverse the nefarious consequences of global warming, which is a powerful threat to our planet and humanity,” – José Condugua António Pacheco, the foreign minister of Mozambique.
What do roof repairs and global warming have to do with each other? And, why should we consider the art and science roof repair techniques in conjunction with climate change?
The concise answer to these questions is that there has been a marked increase in the number of severe weather events as a consequence of global warming and climate change.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine correctly posits that global warming has contributed, and continues to add, to the increasing severity of many extreme weather events. As the world has warmed and continues to heat up, it has brought about changes to the Earth’s climate. These changes include severe weather and climate events such as heatwaves, droughts, heavy rainfall, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, thunderstorms, and hailstorms.
According to the nca2014.globalchange.gov website, “human-induced climate change has already increased the number and strength of some of these extreme events.” And, climatologists have noted that, in the last 50 years, the US has seen dramatic increases of prolonged heatwaves, heavy rainstorms causing severe flooding, and extreme droughts.
Therefore, now that the annual reoccurrence of severe weather events like hailstorms, high winds, and heavy snow is already a certainty, a rigorous roof maintenance program must be followed.
Succinctly stated, your home’s roof plays a fundamental role in keeping the elements out of your house during these extreme weather events. And, you do not want to run the risk of your roof blowing off in high winds, or rainwater flooding your home because some of the roof tiles are broken.
Common issues and signs that your roof taking strain
Thus, let’s start this discussion by looking at some of the common issues that plague homeowners. Unfortunately, most homeowners or tenants have had to deal with roofing challenges at some point in their lives. Thus, it is vital to take a proactive approach to ensure that the roof is kept in tip-top condition all the time.
Roof tiles crack with age and when they have been forcefully hit by objects such as tree branches and hailstones. These cracks weaken the overall structure of the roof, allowing water and random objects through the cracks, past the battens, and support beams, through the ceiling and into the home, destroying everything in their wake.
Cracks also occur in the space between the chimney exterior and where it meets the roof between the gutters and the roof, around skylights, and at flashing points. Essentially, there is the potential for cracks to occur at every point where the roof tiles meet a part of the home that must protrude through the roof. These joins are usually waterproofed, but as mentioned above, this waterproofing can crack, and water will seep in through these cracks.
Incidentally, prolonged heatwaves caused by global warming could dry out the waterproofing layers resulting in cracks opening up in the overall roof structure.
Thus, if the cracked tiles and waterproof sealant are not timeously replaced, it results in costly repairs to and the replacement of the entire roof support structure, ceiling, home interior, as well as furniture and appliances.
Roofing materials like the waterproofing membranes and paint can shrink. As highlighted in the previous point, prolonged periods of extremely hot, dry summer weather can result in the drying out of the waterproofing. This scenario is particularly prevalent on roofs covered with a synthetic rubber membrane known as EPDM. The prolonged heat will cause the rubber membranes to dry out and crack.
The only thing to do in this scenario is to replace the cracked, dried out rubber membranes.
Smashed and lost tiles
Severe storms like hail and thunderstorms with high winds can smash roof tiles and blow them off the roof. Consequently, the support beams and battens under the roof will get wet from the accompanying rain, rot, and then disintegrate, causing the roof to collapse.
Also, once one tile has been broken or blown away, it is a simple matter for the wind to force its way underneath the tiles around the missing tile. Therefore, a surprising number of roof tiles will be lost in this manner. Thus, it is vital to ensure that there are no smashed or missing tiles on your roof at any stage.
Broken and destroyed roof beams and battens
The weight of heavy snow deposited from a snowstorm that is left on the roof for a long time will eventually break the roof beams and battens.
One foot of snow weighs between 6 and 8 pounds. However, one cubic foot of packed snow could weigh up to 20 pounds. If the snow has melted and turned to ice, it could weigh up to 60 pounds. In contrast, the maximum load a standard roof can handle is 20 pounds, and not for an extended time.
Therefore, if the snow is not removed regularly, it is easy to see that the roof will ultimately collapse, and whatever is under the roof will also be destroyed.
Unfortunately, there are amateur roofing contractors who peddle their services as specialist roofing contractors. The most common way to spot them is that they will probably charge a lot less than a professional roofing company like Denver Roofing.
While taking up the offer of an amateur to install a new roof on your house might be useful for your budget in the short-term, the medium- to long-term consequence will be rather costly as you might have to pay for your home’s roof to be replaced.
Thus, it’s best to get more than one quotation for work that needs to be done. You will soon see which quote will be from a professional company and which quotation will be from an inexperienced roofer.
Another way to determine the best roofing contractor in your district is to look at online reviews and talk to people in your neighborhood. You will soon discover which company or individual is a bona fide roofing contractor and who is a “fly by night” roofer.
Water sometimes pools on parts of your house’s roof. This is particularly prevalent of flat roofs. However, it is essential not to leave the water there as it can cause long-term issues, including broken roof tiles or sheets. The best way to prevent water from collecting on your roof is to add tapered areas on the roof to allow water to run off and drain away.
Birds walking over a roof could eventually lead to puncture marks or holes in the roof. In some cases, woodpeckers have bored holes in the wooden eves, resulting in a structural weakness in the roof’s support beams. A small hole or puncture mark on a particular tile leads to the ultimate destruction of the tile. Which, in turn, can have all the disastrous consequences highlighted above like broken or smashed tiles, water leaks, rotten or damaged beams, and battens, and loose tiles.
The only way to determine whether the local wildlife has left their mark on your home’s roof is to conduct regular inspections.
Do you repair or replace your roof?
The answer to this question is determined by a couple of factors which include:
- How old is the roof?
- Will the cost of the repairs be more than the cost of a new roof?
- Is it better to replace expensive, easy to break slate tiles with modern, hardwearing, durable roof tiles?
Let’s answer these questions by considering the following points
How old is your house’s roof?
If your home’s roof is more than 20 years old, it is worth considering replacing it rather than repairing it. Standard asphalt shingles have a life span of between fifteen and thirty years. However, if the roof is still in excellent condition at the 20-year mark, you do not live in an area that is continually targeted by extreme weather, and there are only a few minor repairs required, it is probably more cost-effective to repair the parts that need fixing.
The frequency of extreme weather events
In 2016, eight months after the 2015 Paris Agreement, where 196 countries across the globe committed to reduce the average increase in the earth’s surface temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, climate scientists highlighted the fact that the world was set to miss this target.
A report published on 19 September 2019 by Kieran Mulvaney noted that in 2017, the global carbon emissions increased by 1.7% in 2017 and by 2.7% in 2018. Consequently, the five years from 2015-2019 have been the hottest on record. And, scientific research and analyses are suggesting that the world is running out of time to meet its target to keep the earth’s surface temperature to under 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the current annual occurrence of severe weather events as a result of the warming sea temperatures will continue and possibly even increase.
And, as a result, it is vital to consider installing a new roof that is designed to withstand high winds, heavy rainfall, and extreme thunderstorms. In the medium- to long-term, this will reduce the costs of repairing an older roof, especially one with slate tiles. This will also prevent the need for emergency roof repairs once the storm is over.
On the other hand, if you have already installed a new roof, the following simple changes are worth considering:
- Increase the thickness of the wooden battens and sheathing to more than the minimum width.
- Add extra roofing nails to the roof tiles to increase the roof tiles’ ability to resist being torn off by high winds.
- Increase the length of the metal drip edges so that the wind cannot get under them to prevent the roof from blowing off.
Reduce your carbon footprint
As mentioned several times above, the consequences of global warming have led to an increase in the earth’s surface temperature. This has led to prolonged heatwaves.
Therefore, it is challenging to keep your home cool without resorting to artificial cooling measures like running an air conditioning unit throughout the hot summer months. And, juxtapositionally, the winters can be colder and harsher; thereby, needing artificial heating to keep the inside of your home at an ambient or livable temperature.
Older roofing tiles and roof structures are known to let both warm air and cool air escape, requiring that the artificial heating or cooling systems work harder to ensure that the home’s interior stays at the preset temperature. This, in turn, uses more energy, which adds to the world’s rising global emissions as well as the overall cost of heating or cooling your home.
One way of reducing the heating and cooling costs is to install a roof that is designed to keep the house naturally insulated. This will keep hot air out in summer and cold air out in winter. And, it will reduce your carbon footprint because you have reduced the need for burning fossil fuels to heat or cool your home alternately.
There is no doubt that your home’s roof forms part of its foundational structure, which must be designed to keep the harsh weather out of your home. It is also a fact that no external structure will survive a direct hit by a tornado. Nor will your standard roof withstand hurricane or tropical storm winds of over 90-miles per hour.
Although, as an aside, there are currently roofing products made especially for hurricane- and tornado-prone areas that regularly experience wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.
Therefore, the way to survive the post-modern world’s increase in severe weather events is about being sensible and ensuring that your roof remains well-maintained at all times.
Finally, following the tips highlighted in this discussion will add value to you and your home’s ability to get through most of the harsh weather events the global citizens currently face without too much fuss. And, this fact alone makes spending the time, money, and effort on keeping a well-maintained roof on top of your home well worth it.