10 Common Causes of Roof Damage in the Midwest

Your roof is a very important part of your home. It plays an integral part in your home’s structural integrity and protects your family from the elements. Your roof also plays an essential role in regulating your home’s energy efficiency year-round, keeping your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 

Roof damage is a common occurrence. Understanding the causes of roof damage can help homeowners prepare for potential problems. 

Common Causes of Roof Damage

1. Wind 

Wind damage to roofs usually results in missing or ripped shingles. Poorly installed or loose flashing can cause seams to open up, allowing wind to blow underneath shingles. Wind can expose roofing materials, nails, and loosen shingles. High winds can cause trees, power poles, debris, and other objects to puncture a roof. Securing loose shingles and repairing damaged flashing helps reduce wind damage. Trim or remove trees that may threaten your roof in the event of high winds.

2. Water 

When a roof is installed correctly and in good condition, rain damage is rare under normal conditions. Rain should roll easily off your roof into gutters and away from your home. Several problems can prevent water from properly draining off a roof. Sometimes water collects if leaves or other debris has gathered in roof valleys. Trapped moisture can lead to the development of mold and mildew. It’s essential to clean off debris to prevent water from pooling. Clean gutters at least twice a year to ensure that rain and snowmelt can drain quickly.

3. Hail 

common causes of roof damage

Hail comes in all shapes, sizes, and speeds, and the right kind of hail can cause damage to your entire property. Most shingles can handle small-sized hail because they are flexible enough to absorb the impact. Large hail can be a problem for any roofing material. Low-sloped or flat roofs tend to experience more severe hail damage. After any hail storm, make it a priority to call your roofing company to inspect for damage. Quick repairs will help prevent the need for more costly repairs if there are signs of cracks, dents, or other hail damage.

4. Trees

Leaves, pine needles, and other tree debris can clog gutters and, if left to collect on a rooftop, can retain moisture and lead to water damage. Overgrown branches can scrape and damage shingles if the wind blows them against the roof’s surface. Fallen trees or limbs can land on your roof and cause severe structural damage. Overhanging branches also create an easy way for animals to access a roof. Keep trees and overhanging limbs trimmed back to minimize damage and keep debris from collecting on the surface of your roof and inside gutters. 

5. Ice Dams

Ice dams can form after heavy snowfall on a roof. When the roof warms up from heat escaping the attic, it causes snow to melt and sends running meltwater down the roof. When meltwater freezes at the roof’s edge, it forms a pile of ice known as an ice dam. This thawing and the freezing cycle will continue to create larger ice dams and can cause significant structural damage as backed-up water finds its way into cracks and seeps under shingles. The key to preventing ice dams is sufficient attic insulation and good roof ventilation.

6. Animals

Rooftops are attractive places for many types of wildlife. Birds, bats, raccoons, rats, and other types of animals will often try to seek shelter or build nests in chimneys, gutters, and attics. Raccoons, squirrels, and other animals can damage roofing materials as they try to access attics. Securely fastened soffits and fascia help prevent animals from entering attics.

7. Improper Installations or Repairs

Sometimes the reason people need roof repairs is because of improper installation or shoddy repair work. Roofing over old shingles, not using underlayment, failing to install proper flashing, using poor or no roof sealants, or failing to fasten and overlap shingles correctly are just some shortcuts that contractors take to save time and money. You can protect yourself from a poor installation job by choosing a qualified roofing contractor for all repairs and roof replacements.

8. Aging Shingles

Asphalt shingles are still the most common type of roofing materials used on residential properties, and high-quality ones can last for twenty years or longer. As shingles age, they become more vulnerable to harsh weather and other damaging elements. While regular maintenance can extend a roof’s lifespan, a replacement will be necessary at some point.

9. Insufficient Maintenance

Poor maintenance isn’t the direct cause of roof damage, but it’s the most important underlying factor that will eventually lead to significant repairs. Minor problems like tiny leaks, missing shingles, and other small issues are easy to fix at first but can quickly lead to costly repairs if overlooked for too long. A handy DIYer can perform some routine roof maintenance tasks. Keeping gutters clean and overhanging tree limbs trimmed back goes a long way toward keeping a roof in good condition.

10. Inadvertent Damage

Sometimes homeowners make decisions without realizing that it could impact the longevity of their roof. The risk of damage is high whenever an untrained individual works on a rooftop. Walking on your roof without proper footwear can cause damage. Homeowners should be careful about hanging Christmas lights and other decorations from their roofs to avoid damaging shingles or gutters. Only a skilled professional should attach security cameras, antennas, or other objects to a rooftop. 

The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends homeowners do a self-check at least twice a year in addition to a professional roofing inspection. For your peace of mind and to avoid more expensive repairs in the future, hiring an experienced roofer to perform an annual inspection and perform any needed repairs is the best way to protect your home. 

Work With a Trusted Local Roofing Company

Since 1999, Brian Dawson Roofing has installed residential and commercial roofing systems throughout the greater St. Louis region. Because all of our work is done under warranty and fully insured, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your new roof is dependable and long-lasting. 

Contact us online or at (636) 733-6435 to schedule a free inspection and consultation. Our experienced professionals will arrive on time, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to detect leaks and other problems your roof may be facing. Our mission is to provide quality roofing services and top-notch customer service, all at a competitive price.