Does Your Home have a Properly Functioning Roof?

The roof protects your home from the elements every day, year-round, including all of the other systems that make up the home’s exterior. While roofing shingles are the most visible, other parts of the roof such as the underlayment, sheathing, and flashings do the actual grunt work of guarding your home against water damage. Signs of a properly functioning roof include a well-ventilated attic, soffits are free of dirt, and the gutters and downspouts are not clogged.

No Damaged Roof Shingles

The roofing shingles of a properly functioning roof are free of moisture buildup, water stains, and visible signs of damage. Missing or torn shingles, roof shingles with curled up corners, ones that are loose, and roof tiles that show other signs of deterioration allow water to enter the roofing system. This can cause structural damage to the roof. When moisture gets in behind roof shingles and doesn’t dry out, mold can form. Stained shingles are often a symptom of leaks that have developed somewhere in the roofing system.

No Sign of Organisms

Another indicator of a healthy roof is the absence of organisms such as mold and mildew. While mold is more insidious than mildew – mold growth can become a serious health issue especially if it gets inside the home – both can be signs of moisture infiltration.

No Ice Dams

One of the signs of a functioning roof is snow hangs around and there are no ice dams. The key to a properly functioning roof is a well-ventilated attic. During winter after a snowfall, if there are patches of melted snow and/or ice dams, it could be an indication that the attic is allowing warm air to escape.

When an attic is properly constructed, it is designed to include sufficient insulation; spaces for air to flow in and out; and a vapour retarder underneath the insulation to prevent moisture from seeping into the attic.

Soffits are key to allowing fresh air into the attic. They are the panels that enclose the underside of a roof’s overhang, protecting the interior of the house from the elements. In order for them let in air that can circulate throughout the attic, soffits must be free of grime and dust; if not regularly cleaned, dirt buildup blocks free air flow.

No Damage to Boots and Flashings

Plumbing vent boots and roof flashings should have no cracks (boots made of plastic), free of rust, and should be securely fastened. Whatever materials they’re manufactured from, boots and flashings need to be in good repair so that no moisture can work its way into the roof decking.

No On-Going Repairs

It is reasonable to expect that during the lifespan of your roof, you will have to make a few repairs here and there. However, if you’re constantly replacing a section of roof shingles that keep blowing away or dealing with water-stained patches, on-going repairs are a major sign of some kind of deterioration occurring within the roofing system.

No Clogged Gutters

While gutters are often considered to be a separate system, they are actually part of the roofing system, working to guide roof runoff safely down from the roofline to the ground. Clogged gutters, rusted gutters, or gutters that are pulling away from the fascia, will eventually negatively impact the roof and compromise its ability to protect your home.