Common Roofing Problems in Vancouver

All of a roofing system’s components – visible (roofing shingles, the gutters) and not visible to the eye (the underlayment, decking, flashings) – work together to keep water out and guard against moisture buildup. With all of the unsettled winter weather we’ve been experiencing in Vancouver lately, roofs can take a beating. Taking action now helps limit the amount of damage that might need repairing in the future. Here are some common roof problems homeowners in the Lower Mainland should be aware of.

Falling Trees

We’ve had our share of legendary windstorms in the Lower Mainland. While trees add to a property’s resale value and help improve air quality, they can pose a serious threat to your roof when they’re sick or dying, particularly during the winter months. If you live in a house with trees growing close to the roof, siding, and the gutters prune them back at least twice a year.

When a tree displays some type of damage including broken branches, fungi growing on its trunk, and peeling bark, call an arborist for a consultation – the root system may be dying, making the tree vulnerable to windstorms. It’s not just the whole tree that threatens the roofing system: damaged branches and broken limbs can also wreak havoc on skylights, dormer windows, vents, etc.

Pests and Roof Damage

Small animals such as squirrels, rats and mice or insects or birds are attracted to the debris left in the gutters – perfect materials with which to make build a nest and make a permanent home. Once mammals and birds set up house in the gutters, they typically use the roof as a highway or flight path to look for food and return back to their nest. Wildlife can leave their marks on a roof – anything from scrapes, punctures, holes, and causing roof tiles to loosen or go AWOL.

Pooled Water

When water pools on a roof it is generally a sign that moisture is not being drained properly. If the trouble is not addressed, pooled water can wear away protective coatings, asphalt roofing granules, and make flashings ineffective. Eventually, leaks will form, causing problems anywhere from mild (a few stained roof shingles) to severe (structural damage).

Deteriorating Components

Another major cause of leaking roofs is deteriorating components. When parts of the roofing system like the underlayment, flashings around a chimney or in a roof valley (where two sections of a roof meet), or tiles become worn over time, a roof can become defenseless against the elements.

No Routine Maintenance

Just as with any other of the systems that make up your home’s exterior, the roof needs to be routinely maintained. Draw up a seasonal schedule for one to two years. It should include quick roof inspections after very active storms, replacing missing roof shingles as soon as possible, and make other timely repairs to stop leaks and fix damaged flashings.