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Inspecting Your Home’s Roof After the Storm

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), about 10% of the over 100,000 storms that occur in the U.S. annually can be classified as severe storms that may cause property damage. The damage may result from high winds, hail, lightning strikes, flooding, or all of the above.

Since your roof bears most of the brunt, after the sun comes out again, it’s a good idea to know how it weathered the storm—before the next one strikes and damage is potentially multiplied. A basic visual roof inspection can usually provide enough information to know if a professional consultation is needed.

Note: If you’re not comfortable climbing up on the roof and/or lack the necessary equipment to do it safely, a reputable roofing contractor will usually provide an inspection at no charge.

Shingles

  • Look for entirely missing shingles, as well as any that are cracked, curled or ripped up from the surface of the roof.
  • Examine asphalt shingles for discolorations caused by hail. These usually show up as dark circular spots where asphalt granules have been dislodged by the impact of hailstones. These shingles will degrade more rapidly in sunlight and should be replaced.
  • Raised nail heads that secure shingles usually indicate that the shingle has been lifted up by high winds and may detach completely in the future.

Flashing

Metal flashing around vents, chimneys and other components that penetrate the roof diverts waters away and prevents leaks. Look for flashing that may have been bent or dislodged by wind or hail.

Debris

If remnants such as a large tree limb broken by high winds are found on the roof, impact damage to the roofing or sub-roof may be suspected.

Gutters

If gutters are sagging, this usually means they have clogged due to debris, and the weight of contained water from heavy rain is straining attachments, which may cause the gutters to give way.

In The Attic

Examine the underside of the plywood subroof for sagging due to structural weakness, as well as dark streaks that typically indicate roof leakage. Look for any signs of sunlight shining through the roof.

Preventing Home Water Damage in the Summer

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Though the “water damage season” actually runs throughout the entire year, certain times are more likely than others to present specific challenges. Summer, for example, has its own unique circumstances that may trigger water damage, most of which are related to outdoor weather. While you can’t do anything to control the weather, you may be able to take steps to prevent or reduce the ultimate outcome of weather-related water damage. Here are some typical sources of summer water damage and what can be done to best avoid it.

Severe Storms

Heat-triggered thunderstorms can dump several inches of rainfall in a short time on a hot, humid summer day. This abrupt transition from dry to deluge can inflict water damage in several ways:

  • Gutter overflows. Water spilling out of clogged gutters penetrates exterior walls as well as undermines the foundation and seeps into the basement. Inspect gutters and downspouts and keep them clear of debris. Make sure downspouts are long enough to discharge water at least three feet from the house.
  • Roof leakage. Saturated attic insulation and water dripping down through ceilings into living spaces during a summer storm is an untimely way to find out that your roof leaks. Experts recommend a professional roof inspection every three years for asphalt and wood-shingle roofs. You can do some DIY checking yourself by climbing into the attic and looking for signs of leakage such as dark streaks on the underside of sub-roofing.

Air Conditioner Issues

Keeping you cool on a hot summer day, a central A/C unit extracts gallons of water vapor from the air. If everything works right, it’s collected in the condensate drip pan, then conveyed down the drain line. If the drip pan or drain line is clogged, the pan overflows every time the system cycles on, potentially inflicting substantial water damage before it’s noticed. While the unit’s running, use a flashlight to inspect the drip pan under the air handler. It’s normal for it to be wet. However, if you see standing water, contact an HVAC service technician to troubleshoot the drain system.

Prevent Exterior Water Damage With These Simple Tips

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

exterior water damageConcerns about potential water damage shouldn’t be limited to your home’s interior. Materials that make up the exterior roof, walls and foundation of the house—wood, masonry, concrete—can be vulnerable to water damage under certain conditions. Also, external water damage often doesn’t stay outdoors: Water seepage originating outside tends to infiltrate indoor spaces, as well. Here are ways of detecting and dealing with exterior water damage before it becomes an interior issue.

  • Have your roof inspected. It’s a job for a professional who knows what to look for and can do so safely. They will check for damaged and missing shingles and defective flashing around vent pipes, chimney and skylights. Up in your attic they’ll inspect the sub-roof for telltale evidence of leakage, too.
  • Check exterior walls for loose siding boards, cracked bricks or masonry and signs that exterior wood sheathing is deformed or damaged due to water.
  • Inspect any openings in exterior walls that admit wires, plumbing pipes or heating and A/C lines. Seal around them with foam or caulk.
  • Look for signs of termite activity in or around exterior walls. Be aware that termites eat drywall as well as wood.
  • Trim back shrubs and/or tree limbs so they don’t touch sides of the house or the roof. Vegetation contacting exterior walls or roof surfaces traps chronic moisture, potentially accelerating deterioration of building materials.
  • Ventilate the attic to prevent ice dams on the roof. Heat rising from living spaces accumulates in the attic, causing uneven snow melt on the roof. Ice dams form, obstructing roof runoff and triggering damaging leaks. Adequate ventilation keeps attic temperatures uniformly cold.
  • Make sure that ground around the perimeter of exterior walls is slightly graded to divert water away from the house and prevent seepage into the foundation or basement.
  • Water cascading out of clogged, overflowing gutters can penetrate siding and cause severe damage inside exterior walls. Keep gutters clear and free flowing. Also, extend gutter downspouts to discharge water at least three feet away from the house.

Preparing For Spring Rains: Prevent Water Damage By Inspecting Your Roof

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

damaged roof shinglesAn effective strategy to prevent water damage inside the house begins up on the roof. Exposed to all weather extremes, especially heavy spring and summer rains, a compromised roof structure is the first step in a sequence that leads to water infiltration into the attic and, finally, into living spaces below. Here’s a primer on inspecting the roof to prevent water damage before it becomes a major and costly issue.

Always take appropriate safety measures when accessing the roof. Don’t attempt it if the roof setting appears dangerous or you’re not confident that it can be safely inspected.

  • Assess the shingles. Look for shingles that are buckling, cracked or curled. These will allow water to seep into joints between sub-roofing sheets and eventually drip down into the attic. Also, look for algae or mold growing on shingles, particularly in shaded areas of the roof. This growth may deteriorate shingle materials and, over time, result in leakage.
  • Look for damaged flashing. Metal flashing installed around vent pipes, the chimney and other roof openings may loosen and dislodge over the years. This allows water flowing down the roof to penetrate around the opening and into the attic, eventually dripping into rooms below. Loose flashing can usually be repaired individually without removing large area of shingles.
  • Evaluate the gutters. Make sure gutters aren’t obstructed or pulling loose from their mountings. If you have asphalt shingles, take note if a large amount of asphalt granules are accumulating in the gutter. This is an indication that aging shingles are deteriorating.
  • Inspect the attic. Climb up into the attic and examine the underside of the sub-roof for water stains, wood rot or other indications of hidden leaks. Also, look for wet or moldy insulation caused by ongoing water infiltration. Note the status of attic vents: all should be unobstructed and fully open. An under-ventilated attic can overheat in summer, buckling the sub-roof and shingles and causing roof leakage.

Ask the professionals at Rytech, Inc. for more steps to prevent water damage from roof leaks.

 

5 Points to Keep in Mind to Protect Your Home From Flooding

Friday, March 14th, 2014

protect your home from floodingIt’s a no-brainer: Reasonable steps to protect your home from flooding before it happens make more sense than passively waiting for a disaster, then cleaning up the mess. Here are some proactive ideas to protect your home from flooding and save yourself the stress and expense of a major clean-up. (more…)