When most people think of their roofs, the state of the shingles and gutters is usually what first comes to mind first. While it is important to keep an eye on these things, there are other parts of the roof that don't receive as much attention and can cause significant problems down the line because of this neglect. Here are two roofing issues you may unintentionally be overlooking.
If your roof has overhangs, then chances are pretty good it also has soffits. Soffits connect roofing overhangs to the side of the building. The materials commonly used to build soffits include aluminum, vinyl, and steel.
Soffits serve both an aesthetic and practical purpose. They help conceal rafters from view and protect them from environmental elements such as snow and rain. Without soffits in place, your rafters would deteriorate at a faster rate and have to be replaced more frequently. Soffits also help regulate air flow in your attic and, subsequently, in your home. This helps prevent mold and mildew from forming in unwanted places.
However, soffits are prone to being damaged in a couple of different ways. Water from ice dams can seep in between gaps and lead to rotting or rust (depending on the material your soffits are made from). Soffits also create the perfect living spaces for birds and insects, and you'll have double the trouble if the material your soffits are built from has been softened because of water damage. Birds and insects have no qualms about pecking or digging through and making nests for themselves in vulnerable areas.
To prevent this type of damage, inspect your roof soffits on a regular basis, particularly if you notice you're having problems with ice dams. After installing a solution to stop the dams from forming, have a roofing contractor inspect your soffits for rot or other damage, and have the structures repaired as soon as possible to prevent other issues.
Be on the lookout for bees, hornets, or birds lingering around your soffits in significant numbers, as this may mean you have an infestation in that area of the roof. Have an exterminator inspect and treat the soffit if necessary. Sometimes small insects like bees will get into holes and gaps in the soffit and build nests where you can't readily see them. Therefore, be prepared to remove and repair (or completely replace) the soffit if the exterminator finds this to be the case.
Deteriorating Roof Flashing
Flashings are another commonly neglected part of the roof. Roof flashings refer to the metal material used to cover roof joints and areas around pipes, chimneys, skylights, and dormer windows. Flashings prevent water from seeping into cracks and damaging the roof and home.
Roof flashing is typically made from metal material such as aluminum or galvanized steel. Although these materials are durable, they do degrade over time when subjected to environmental elements. For instance, oxygen is corrosive to metal, and flashing will rust or fall apart over time due to the oxidation process. Frequent contact with water from rain and snow as well as heat from the sun only adds to the problem. Flashings may also be dislodged or ripped off the roof by high winds.
According to some statistics, up to 95 percent of leaks in the home occur where flashings have been laid on the roof. You can't prevent the natural deterioration process. However, you can avoid damage to your home by inspecting the flashings on a regular basis. Use caulk or waterproof cement to reattach flashings that have become detached from the roof, and completely replace any flashings that have begun to rust.
For more tips on maintaining your roof or help with fixing problems, contact a roofing contractor like those at Marshall Roofing Ltd roofing repair.