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How to Spot Early Signs of Roof Damage This Spring

How to Spot Early Signs of Roof Damage This Spring

The arrival of spring showers makes it a critical time to thoroughly examine your roof for early signs of damage after a winter of heavy snow, ice dams, windstorms, and wide temperature fluctuations. Catching minor roof issues now and repairing them prevents far more significant damage that leads to leaks, mold growth, and even collapse as spring rains arrive. This comprehensive spring roofing inspection guide covers what every homeowner should look for, the most vulnerable areas to focus on, quick fixes you can do yourself, and when to call in roofing repair professionals.

Conduct an Overall Visual Roof Inspection

Take 30 minutes on a sunny afternoon to visually inspect the entire exterior of your roof. Use binoculars for two-story or taller houses to view the roof edges. Walk completely around your home scanning for these common warning signs of early roof damage:

  • Missing, cracked, bent, or loose shingles or tiles – Shingles that curl or don’t lay flat may indicate overall roof wear, inadequate attic ventilation, or early failure of the roof nails or adhesive strips that secure shingles.
  • Deformed, melted, or torn membrane roof materials on flat roofs – Dummy gauges, blisters, and splits allow moisture intrusion even before leaks form.
  • Rust spots or stains on steel, aluminum, and copper roofs and flashings – Rust indicates advancing corrosion that weakens roof materials.
  • Trapped debris in oddly shaped shingles or tiles – Pine needles, leaves, and other debris trap moisture and rot roofing materials.

Also carefully examine all roof edges, valleys, dormers, and chimneys. Shingles often fail in these high-stress areas first since wind vortexes exert excessive force. Valley flashing and metal drip edges can also pull loose or develop cracks from expansion and contraction cycles that allow water intrusion even on newer roofs.

Finally, thoroughly inspect all roof penetrations, such as plumbing and heating vents, exhaust fans, skylights, satellite dishes, and chimneys. The exterior sealants around these can crack and separate over time, allowing rainfall leakage every time it rains.

Clear Gutters and Downspouts

Clogged gutters cause ice dams in winter as melting snow has no place to drain. Spring rains rapidly overflow full gutters, running down the fascia boards and allowing water entry behind outside walls. This moisture causes drywall damage and mold growth in the outer roof assembly before you ever see a ceiling stain.

Climb a sturdy ladder to arm’s height and remove all debris from gutters and downspouts across the entire house. Also, check them for proper slope to move water efficiently and secure attachments at seams and wall mounts. Sagging sections and leaky joints are common failure points that send water where you don’t want it during storms.

Ensure downspouts direct water at least 5 feet away from the house foundation using flexible extensions to prevent ponding and flooding. Clogged or misdirected downspouts that soak the soil alongside your home’s perimeter will necessitate foundation repairs sooner than you think!

Inspect Chimney Flashings and Roof Penetrations

chimneys flashings should be checked-minChimneys flashings should be checked and secured after the winter season. 

The metal flashings around masonry chimneys, vent pipes, dormers, and skylights take extreme abuse from seasonal wind, rain, and roof expansion stresses. Pull flashing corners tight where you can and seal any widening gaps or cracked caulk lines with a premium flexible sealant designed for roof repairs.

Also, examine the aluminum or galvanized sleeves and storm collars around plumbing and exhaust vents. Straighten and resecure any loose flashings allowing vent pipe movement during strong winds. This prevents roof leaks directly into the attic and eventually inside living spaces.

Check the Attic for Early Leaks  

Go inside on a totally dry day to detect hidden roof and flashing leaks before water stains the ceiling drywall where you live. Carefully inspect the underside of your roof deck throughout the attic using a bright LED flashlight for dark stains around nails, dripping water, swollen and warped plywood, or OSB sheathing.

Use an awl to probe any soft or suspicious areas that could indicate embedded moisture. Prepare to repair open holes, splits, or cracks in the roof sheathing from inside the attic before reinstalling shingles over the trouble spot outside. This often prevents total roof deck replacement later.

Assess Vulnerable Areas on Aging Roofs   

Built-up gravel roofs and 20-year and 25-year shingles show more vulnerable trouble spots and damage clusters as they near the end of their lifespan. Previous repairs are prime weak areas since the roof decking was disturbed and flashing integrity compromised just adjacent to the patch area.

Shingles also age and fail differently across the roof depending on sun exposure angles, attic ventilation flow patterns, and roof drainage effectiveness. Once past two-thirds of the manufacturer’s lifespan estimate, any asphalt shingle or flat roof needs complete reinspection every spring and fall. At around 20 years, persistent leakage, excessive moss colonies, damaged flashings, and several repairs needed means it’s time for full roof tear-off and replacement.

DIY Repairs Homeowners Can Perform Now

If you spot a few warning signs but have a newer roof without widespread issues, there are several effective repairs you can attempt yourself before calling in contractors. Carefully lift the corners of buckled shingles and nail them back down securely. Seal any cracks or holes in the flat roof membrane with an enamel patching compound made for that purpose. Remove debris, tighten, and reseal loose flashing corners, and clear impacted dirt from vents.

Improving roof drainage often eliminates pools of standing water that accelerate roof deterioration. Clean gutters thoroughly, redirect downspouts and trim back overhanging tree branches. Installing broader gutters offers more rainfall capacity too.

When to Call a Professional Roofer  

professional roofers save you money in the long run-minBringing in a professional roofer now can save you money in the long run. 

If you discover multiple early roof damage signs on an aging roof and live in an area prone to heavy spring rains or windstorms, contact a local roofer for an inspection. Most reputable roofing companies offer free consultations to accurately diagnose all issues present, detail repair or full replacement options, provide computer-generated quotes, and warranty information, and schedule the work.

This professional assessment also determines whether your homeowner’s policy offers wind or severe weather damage coverage. Documenting a roof replacement now gets the clock ticking on warranty protection too.

Don’t put this detailed inspection off until you notice interior ceiling stains or structural leaks from hidden deterioration. Identify developing roof problems early this spring and make necessary fixes. Taking preventative action now prevents rapid deterioration and lasting damage from seasonal monsoons and stormy weather. It also assures your home, valuable possessions, and family remain well protected until your roof receives another thorough fall tune-up.

Follow these tips for spotting early warning signs of roof issues this spring. Address them promptly to avoid major roof repair bills down the road. Your home deserves maximum roofing protection at the lowest cost by taking prudent preventative maintenance steps now as the weather warms. For expert roofing advice and services, contact the skilled professionals at Lednor Home Solutions for roofing solutions you can trust.   Schedule a free estimate.

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