Homes and Garden Journal

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Factors that Affect Roof System Performance

The performance of a roof system can be affected by many factors, knowing what these issues are will help you to make an informed decision when purchasing a new roofing system.  It is important to address any concerns you may have with a licensed roofing contractor, he or she will be able to guide you further in your decision, but the factors listed here will give you the ability to ask informed questions and get the most from his or her expertise.

Weather conditions are some of the worst enemies of a roofing system; there are different weather considerations to be aware of depending on the region in which you live. The heat and ultraviolet rays for the sun cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time; deterioration occurs quicker on sides facing west of south.  When rain water gets underneath shingles, shakes or other roofing material it can make its way to the roof deck and cause the roof structure itself to rot.  High winds can lift the edges of shingles or other roofing materials and force water and debris underneath them.  Of course we are all aware what damage extremely high winds and hurricanes can cause.  Snow and ice can block proper drainage and cause water to back up under shingles, which then seeps into the interior.  During early melting stages, gutters and downspouts can fill with ice and be damaged beyond repair or even torn off the house.

Condensation can result from a build-up of warm, moist air.  Moisture in a poorly ventilated attic promotes the decay of wood sheathing and rafters, possibly destroying the roof structure.  Moss and algae can grow on moist wood shingles and shakes; once it grows, moss causes more moisture to be held on the roof surface which can lead to rot.  Tree branches touching the roof surface can gouge roofing surfaces when blown by the wind, and of course, fallen branches from nearby trees can damage shingles or even the roof structure itself.  Leaves on a roof retain moisture and encourage rot, and leaves in the gutter block drainage.

Missing or torn shingles leave the roof vulnerable to water damage and rot and should be replaced immediately.  When shingles are old they begin to split, curl and lose their waterproofing ability; they are easily blown off, torn or lifted by wind gusts.  This can cause structural rot and interior damage.  Without good, tight flashing around chimneys, vents, skylights and wall/roof junctions water can enter the building and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems.

These are just some of the things you will want to be aware of when choosing a new roofing system.  As mentioned before, a licensed roofing contractor can help with this decision.  He or she is trained to know the best roofing system for your particular geographic area and will help you choose the best one for your budget.

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