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The Five Most Common Problem Areas of Roofing Syst

Although roofing systems can suffer from many problems, below are the five most common roof component problems that roofs are susceptible to. These common roof problems are also quite easy to identify and repair yourself. Please remember that if you do not feel comfortable safely accessing your roof or feel that this type of work is beyond your skills, contact a professional roofing contractor.

Fascia
Fascia is the architectural term for a section of roof that lies vertically below the edge of the roof. In simpler terms, it is the roof trim or front siding along your roofline. It usually consists of wooden planks or metal sheets. So, draw vertical finishing edges that connect to the ends of the rafters, the truss and the area where the gutter attaches to the roof. The main function of fascia is to protect by acting as a layer between the edge of the roof and the outside elements of the house, especially water. It also protects the inside of your building from weather damage by blocking the entrance into the structure. Fascia also plays an aesthetic role, creating a smooth, even appearance for the edges of the roof. Moisture is the number one cause of problems with your fascia so be sure to look for signs of rot or damage and contact a roofing contractor immediately if you notice any problems.
Soffits
Soffit comes from the French word for "formed as a ceiling" and the Latin term for "fixed below". Can you guess where your soffit is? The exposed surface under the curved part of the roof or the finished surface under the fascia and rafters is called the soffit. Vented soffits have small holes that provide air circulation so they can circulate to vent and draw heat and moisture away from the home. It plays an important role in helping ventilate the attic and preventing rot in the sheathing and rafters. Most soffits are made from vinyl because it is a water-resistant and cost-effective material. This helps regulate the temperature in your attic and through the rest of your home making it a comfortable place to live. Look for cracks, holes and rot to avoid easy entry of water or insects and small animals.
Flashing
Flashing is a component used to seal roof system edges, perimeters, penetrations, walls, valleys, drains and other areas where the actual roof covering is interrupted or terminated. The main function of flashing is to help seal any voids in the roof system where water can enter making this a prime area for causing leaks if not checked regularly. The material is usually aluminum or galvanized steel and, depending on the type of roof you have, is most likely in valleys, around chimneys and even around roof windows or skylights. Weather and oxidation are the most common causes for jamming but it is possible that the flashing could simply come off. Most professional roofing contractors cut and form their own flashing from sheet metal but many of today's flashing parts are already formed and can be applied without much difficulty using caulking or roofing cement.
Gutter
Gutters are designed to keep water away from your building's foundation and to protect structural integrity. It's important to keep your gutters doing their job well because they are very susceptible to water and debris buildup that causes mold and mildew under your roof.
Fortunately, most common gutter problems can be repaired by homeowners. The number one problem is when gutters and downspouts are so backed up with debris, they become useless. Excess weight of leaves, twigs and standing water can cause them to sag and pull away from the fascia. If they are loose, this is usually a problem with the hanger. Hangers are the hardware that holds the gutter to the fascia. They may deteriorate over time or may be spaced too far apart to support the weight of the gutter. Hangers are a cheap fix. If your gutters are leaking or have holes, sealing them by caulking the joints or filling small holes from the inside with gutter sealant is another inexpensive fix. Larger holes will require a patch. Make sure your gutters are angled towards the downspouts to allow water to drain properly. A general rule of thumb is a quarter inch slope for every 10 feet. If there is standing water, you likely don't have enough pitch. Keep your downspouts extended four to five feet away from the house, otherwise water will find its way into your basement. Gutter extensions are inexpensive and will maintain your foundation.
Shingle
Shingle roofing systems offer great protection but are susceptible to discoloration and curling. Areas of missing or damaged shingles can leave the wood vulnerable to chipping, holes and other damage. They can also buckle if they are not sufficiently ventilated during installation. Discoloration is an indication of a roof leak and a small spot can grow into a gaping hole in your ceiling. Curling is caused by lack of ventilation, high nails or improperly installed fasteners. They are unsightly and are an open invitation for water seepage. If you lose shingles, water, snow, and ice hit your roof, which is a direct route to rot. Inspect your roof frequently and make repairs or replace shingles as necessary.

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