How Moisture Can Damage Your Roof

Your roof might just be the most important structure of your home. It keeps you and your family safe and dry during extreme weather events and protects you from the elements. It supports the overall structure of your home and insulates against temperature changes. When your roof is well-maintained, it can even boost your property value. Although the roof is one of your first lines of defense against the elements, it can also fall prey to those same elements. Heat and humidity can wear it down over time, gradually undermining its ability to repel moisture, since moisture can damage your roof. This, in turn, increases the risk of structural damage and catastrophic failure. Whether you need residential or commercial roofing repair, here is what you need to know about potential water damage.

Causes of Rooftop Moisture

Rain is not the only source of moisture damage when it comes to your roof, but it is a big problem, leading to leaks and more. If your roof has loose flashing, poorly installed shingles, a damaged chimney, or cracked caulk, rainwater can quickly find its way inside your home. The resulting leaks can quickly damage not just the attic but also your living space and increase the risk of major damage.

Moisture can also become trapped in between the layers of your roof. A roof has three main layers: the roof deck, the underlayment, and the shingles. In some cases, areas can become damp beneath the shingles or between the layers when the flashing fails or the membrane is installed improperly. However, vapor can also condense under the shingles when humidity levels inside are lower than those outside the building.

Trapped condensation will not necessarily penetrate your home, but it can weaken the roof deck, damage the timbers, and damage the overall structure of your roof.

How Moisture Can Affect Roofs

If your roof leaks, the consequences can be severe and far-reaching. Here is what you need to know about potential moisture-related damage.

1. Rot

In the U.S., most roof decks are made using wood. Unfortunately, wood and water are not the best of friends. Even occasional high humidity levels can warp wood while heavy water damage can lead to rot. Rot can, in turn, lead to leaking inside your home along with serious structural damage.

You can avoid all this with periodic roof inspections to ensure your roof is functioning as it should and to spot early signs of moisture-related damage. Any cracked caulk, damaged flashing, or other issues can be addressed through prompt roof repair, which will prevent more serious problems down the road.

2. Mold and mildew

These unwanted visitors thrive in dark, damp environments such as leaky attics. Mold, in particular, can be especially destructive: It destroys more wood than either fire or termites. Some types of mold can even be toxic to people, releasing spores that cause symptoms ranging from allergies and eczema to respiratory infections and bronchitis.

Mold in your attic can quickly spread to the rest of your home, eroding air quality and threatening your health. Send it and its cousin mildew their eviction notices by having your roof checked regularly for leaks and monitoring your attic and insulation for discoloration. Your attic and appliances should also be properly ventilated to reduce condensation in your attic. This is especially critical in commercial roofing.

3. Damaged shingles

Asphalt shingles are protected by tiny granules, but these granules can erode over time much like sand and soil are eroded by rain, sleet, and other forms of precipitation. You can monitor for granule loss by walking around your home and looking near downspouts. The granules will run off and down gutters, piling up on the ground. You might also spot worn, bare, or discolored spots on your roof. If your shingles have lost an excessive amount of granules, it might be time for a new roof installation.

4. Decreased energy efficiency

It doesn’t take much condensation to damage the insulation in not only your attic but also the insulation in your ceilings and walls. The wet insulation compresses, making it less effective. Over time, its R-value or energy efficiency decreases.

If your home has been feeling increasingly uncomfortable or your energy bills are soaring, it might be time to take a residential roofing expert look at your insulation and your roof.

Protecting Your Roof from Water Damage

While you cannot put your home in a bubble to protect it from all moisture-related damage, you can take steps to reduce its effect. First, your attic should be well-ventilated. Proper ventilation will reduce the risk of mold, mildew, and rot by moving air and removing excess humidity. Perform visual inspections regularly to check for any signs of water damage, including mold, mildew, warp boards, and discoloration. If you spot any signs of trouble, roof repair is just a phone call away. At Paramount Roofing, our team offers skilled commercial and residential roofing services to address minor leaks and moisture intrusion before they cause big problems.