When a homeowner discovers a small dent in a downspout or a hairline crack in a windowpane, it’s tempting to dismiss it as not a big deal. In these high-stress economic times fixing every little symptom of normal wear and tear on a home’s exterior is probably not budget-friendly. But to avoid little issues from becoming costly disasters, there are some signs that shouldn’t be ignored. Home exterior problems you need to address ASAP include roofing, gutter system, and foundation issues.
Missing or Damaged Roof Shingles
Missing or damaged roof shingles make surrounding roofing tiles susceptible to moisture. If water penetrates into the underlayment, the roof deck, or other roof shingles, leaks can appear. Moisture that forms behind the tiles makes the area vulnerable to wood rot and/or mold. The water damage might not be limited to the roof’s surface. To stop leaks from getting into the attic or mold taking hold in the insulation of the attic walls, missing or damaged shingles should be replaced as soon as possible.
Gutter System Issues
When the gutter system isn’t working properly rainwater isn’t being managed the way it should be. Clogged, leaking or separated gutters and downspouts allow runoff to overflow, back up (downspouts), and pool near the foundation. As soon as these issues are discovered, remove clogs, reseal leaking or separated seams, and replace gutter sections and downspouts that are missing or can no longer be repaired.
Building materials such as wood, concrete, brick, and stone are porous and can be affected by humidity. Efflorescence is the process of water-soluble salts in the siding or the foundation crystallizing, leaving behind a chalky residue. Efflorescence isn’t a problem in itself, but rather a sign that moisture in some form is a problem now and might become a bigger one in the future. The most common reason for efflorescence is improper installation. To address this issue, thoroughly wash off the affected surfaces with a pressure washer to remove dirt or crystalline deposits. Let it dry completely. Apply a sealer before painting.
The Appearance of Mold and Mildew
Mold is a big sign that your home’s exterior is experiencing moisture issues. When mold or mildew (any type of fungus) appears on the surfaces of the roof, siding, gutters, or the foundation, the spores need to be killed so that it does not return. It’s not just a matter of curb appeal or health concerns, Mold feeds off of painted wood surfaces, while certain types of mold can cause significant structural damage. To successfully remove mold and mildew, the area should be washed with a bleach or oxygen bleach solution. If mold or fungus keeps returning on your foundation, consider applying a coating system with anti-fungal properties.
Cracks in the Foundation
A foundation that buckles, has a pitted surface or displays gaps at the base of the foundation needs attention. Hairline cracks in the cement of the foundation can be repaired. However, if the gaps between the edges of the cracks are obvious, they are probably beyond DIY repair – consult with a professional contractor for the best solution.
Doors and windows can also be an indication of foundation issues. When an entry door or window that opened and closed smoothly starts sticking, it can be a sign that the foundation has shifted. New cracks that suddenly appear on window panes – ones not caused by a game of catch or football – could be caused by structural shifting. As with visible cracks in the foundation itself, it’s time to have a contractor or structural engineer look at your home’s exterior.