Is your roof ready for winter?

Will my roof leak this winter?

That’s a question that some Okanagan homeowners are pondering right about now.

I can tell you that after inspecting thousands of homes that people maintain or replace their roof coverings for one of two reasons:

  • because they want to
  • or they have to.

As our roof coverings age, their reliability decreases, and that can cause worry.

Here in the Okanagan, our roof coverings take a real beating from the environment. In the summer, our roofs are susceptible to the immense power of the sun – scorching heat and powerful UV rays.

In the colder months, roof coverings are subject to moisture, vegetative debris and freeze thaw cycles – and that’s about when homeowners start thinking about the reliability of their aging roof coverings.

One of the primary purposes of a roof is to provide moisture related protection for your home. Sloped roofs are more efficient in moving roof surface water off structures compared to flat or low sloped roofs.

Sloped roof coverings last much longer because they trend to remain drier and because there is a better choice of quality materials available.

Home inspectors evaluate many different kinds of roof systems daily in their profession. Usually, roof deck systems are quite reliable.

Areas that are prone to concentrated water flows are the real hotspots for common leak related failures. Roof covering penetrations, like chimneys or vent protrusions, are at higher risk for leakage, so are roof valleys and flashings.

It is not uncommon for these areas to develop a leak before the rest of the roof material has aged significantly.

While roof coverings may appear fine today conditions can change rapidly. At a minimum, aging roof penetrations and flashings should be inspected on a semi-annual basis. As a roof covering ages more frequent inspections are required.

If you are concerned about how your roof is going to hold up through this rainy season, here are some things for you to investigate:

  • When did your roof covering have a maintenance inspection by a professional roofing company? A small investment now can save you thousands of dollars in repairs later.
  • Shingles that are curling are cracked or even missing spell trouble. Look for granular loss in your gutter system. Individual shingles can be replaced as necessary, but if the damage is widespread, a new roof may be necessary.
  • Look in your attic and evaluate the underside of your roof sheathing for leaks and water stains. The best time to do this is after a spell of rain. Make sure you have a great flashlight and light up the attic space for best results.

Be prepared for the inevitable. Do you have a replacement plan? Remember, people replace their roof coverings for one of two reasons, because they want to, or they have to.

So, back to the question at hand; will my roof leak this winter?

  • First, you should pay attention to the story your roof covering is telling you. Missing shingles, granular loss, cracked and cupping shingles mean the covering is getting tired.
  • Pay attention to warning signs at flashings and penetrations – from the exterior and from the attic.
  • Lastly, professional roofing contractors speak roof, they are here to help and are best qualified to give you the answers you need and peace of mind.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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