How long a house stands has a lot to do with how well the homeowner cares for its roof. The roof protects those that live there from the elements and keeps them warm and dry. However, with all of the wind, hail, rain, sleet, and snow that a roof withstands, it surely will not last forever.

If you are a homeowner, then you can expect some problems with your roof as the years go by. There are a handful of common issues that you may face, so it is an excellent idea to familiarize yourself with them. These issues will not pop out of nowhere overnight, so keep reading to find out how to recognize them and what you can do about it when they occur.

Roof Leaks

Most people assume a roof leak will announce itself boldly through a stream of water or a steady drip from the ceiling. However, most leaks in a roof start off small and the evidence is much less obvious. Instead, they can show up with a small brown water stain on the ceiling or the rafters in the attic. Homeowners may also notice wet insulation or wet sheathing.

Fixing a roof leak starts with identifying the source of the leak. Homeowners can have someone spray the suspected area of the roof with a hose while someone is inside watching for water to break through. Once the leak is identified, then repairs can begin.

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To fix a small leak, it is necessary to replace the shingles where the leak is. Using a flat metal pry bar, break the seal between the shingles. Use the bar to pry underneath the first nail and hit it with a hammer until the nail comes loose. Once it is out, repeat the process for the remaining shingles.

Once all the old shingles are removed, start nailing new ones in place, starting with the lowest course. Add a small bead of roof sealant below the edge of each new shingle and each shingle immediately above it. Getting on a roof to replace wet shingles can be slippery and dangerous, so be sure to exercise extreme caution while doing the job.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are a common issue for people who live in cold regions where it snows a lot and temperatures remain freezing for months. As snow and ice build up on the roof, it creates a thick layer that can squeeze between shingles. Warm air from the attic rises up and melts the bottom layer of the ice, which creates water that works its way through the shingles and down into the house.


One solution to this problem is to install a cable that helps melt ice on the roof before it forms a thick layer, called a roof de-icing cable. However, a better and more permanent solution is to prevent warm air leaking into the attic by increasing insultison. Homeowners can also have a roofing company install a specialized membrane and singles along the perimeter of the roof.

Gutter Problems

Gutters are often overlooked as the cause of problems with the roof of a home, but they are a common culprit. Without proper maintenance, the gutter’s downspout can get clogged and cause the gutter itself to get backed up with water and debris. Soon, vegetation will grow and water will spill out onto the roof’s fascia. Water can also overflow onto windows and siding, causing even more water damage throughout the house.

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The simplest and easiest solution to this problem is to perform annual gutter maintenance. Homeowners should routinely clean out their gutters of dead leaves and debris, and make any minor repairs necessary to keep the gutters in good working order. It is also a good idea to have a professional gutter technician inspect the gutters periodically for any potential issues.

Don’t Delay on Roof Repairs

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Roof problems often start small, but they will grow exponentially if left untreated. If you think your roof may have problems, don’t delay getting them repaired. If you aren’t able to repair it yourself, call a professional roofing contractor for help right away.