Darth Vader's Guide to Roof Care

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Part 1 - Your Own Personal Death Star

One of the most iconic things in the Star Wars saga is the Imperial Death Star. This battle station was the most formidable fortress a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. You may be asking, “What does this have to do with a roof?” You see, the Death Star shares a few things in common with your own roof. It’s as cool as it sounds: your roof is much like a Death Star, complete with a variety of defensive features that protect you and the rest of your home from external threats. However, remember how the Death Star was destroyed because of a few small things left unchecked? That could also happen to your roof if you don’t pay attention to seemingly inconsequential issues. You need to stay on top of all roof problems, big or small, as part of your regular roof maintenance.

SIGNS OF DETERIORATION Getting help from the professionals is always a good thing, but you can’t just relegate all roof care duties to your roofer. They can’t always be there to check your roof for problems. You have to be hands on and diligently work on your home’s regular upkeep. When you do see signs of deterioration or find issues that require repair, don’t delay, call in the professionals as soon as possible. These signs include:

Part 1 - Your Own Personal Death Star

Roof Blisters - Easily seen by a homeowner, these bubbles are the result of water vapor trapped under the roofing material. A roof can become very hot during the heat of the day, causing the water to turn into gas and expand, forcing the felt up and thus the shingle. Cracked or Curling Shingles - If the roof shingles are lifting up with curled edges, or are cracked and have smooth dark areas; your shingles are wearing out and need replacement. Once they have reached this stage, they won’t keep water out effectively. You may only have to replace the shingles that are bad and not all of them. However, this can mean that you are due for a roof replacement.

Flashing is Loose - Where there is a roof penetration such as a vent pipes, chimneys, skylights, or HVAC systems, flashing is needed to seal the area so water can’t get in. Flashing properly to avoid leaks takes a good bit of experience and skill. Many less experienced roofers fail in this area. By allowing water to penetrate, it can gradually cause wood to rot and damage other building materials.

Part 1 - Your Own Personal Death Star

Indoor signs your roof is failing - Not all signs that your roof is failing are seen on the roof itself. Many signs are revealed inside the home if the problem is becoming more serious. These include stains on the attic ceiling, on the ceiling of your rooms, or damp and moldy drywall where the water has leaked down. Emperor Palpatine may have lacked foresight, but we can nonetheless take a cue from him not to make similar mistakes; that means making regular roof inspections to prevent problems. This will not only help you save on major repair expenses, but also extend the service life of your roof.

Part 2 - External Threats - The Rebel “Alliance�

The Death Star was supposedly indestructible. Nevertheless, in the end, they were reduced to space rubble. Your roof is just as vulnerable; it may seem strong and sturdy, but no matter how expensive or well built your roof is, there will always be certain factors that can attack your roof at its weak points and cause considerable damage. Here are some of the most seemingly innocuous, yet dangerous, things that can pose a threat to your roof.

RAIN You may wonder how something as puny as raindrops can bring down a roof. While rain usually runs down the roof and straight into the gutter harmlessly, it will penetrate the roof surface through any gaps it can find, no matter how small. This could be caused by a missing shingle, a punctured roof deck, or wide seams between roof panels. However, the biggest danger from rain, which you can spot easily, is pooling water. If you see areas on your roof where puddles are forming after hard rain, there is something wrong. This is particularly a problem with roofs that have a shallow pitch, or have a lot of peaks and valleys. Water sitting on the roof will find its way into your home eventually if it remains there for any length of time. The cause of this could be the rafters or sinking sheathing. This can be because there is already water damage coming from a leak, or the roof was improperly installed.

Part 2 - External Threats - The Rebel “Alliance�

From there, rainwater can cause all sorts of moisture-related problems. This includes having nasty water rings on your ceiling, mold formation, and wood rot or corrosion, which can compromise the strength of the roof supports and cause the roof to implode on itself.

WIND Wind also likes to exploit weaknesses in your roof, but unlike rainwater, the damage can be instantaneous. The wind tends to lift the roof up, causing the entire roof to blow off in some cases. Wind acting on the roof surfaces causes negative pressure that creates the lift. Additionally, the roofs overhang creates strong uplift forces. For a hurricane-resistant home, the length of the overhangs should be limited to around 20 inches.

One would think that gravity alone would be sufficient to prevent the roof from detaching from the rest of the building. The power of the wind in more extreme weather events such as hurricanes is quite immense, and once the roof is lifted, the entire structure is at risk of catastrophic failure. This is why many buildings are destroyed during a storm.

Part 2 - External Threats - The Rebel “Alliance”

If you think that the Death Star analogy falls short because you think your roof isn’t a weapon of mass destruction, wait until it blows off and lands on your neighbors! Additionally, once the wind damages a roof, it is easier for rainwater to get inside and cause long-term damage, the wind and rain working hand-in-hand like the Rebel Alliance.

PESTS Some pests can slip by unnoticed like Obi-Wan, others are furry like Chewbacca, and some move as swiftly as the Millennium Falcon; all of them can spell trouble for your roof. Rats and termites can chew on and punch holes on the outer roof surface, while birds that nest on or inside your roof system can clog air vents and corrode parts of your roof with their litter. Making sure your roof is safe from pests is just as important as protecting it from the weather.

Part 3 - Defending Your Personal Death Star

Emperor Palpatine did not have the knowledge or wisdom to avoid destruction - fortunately, you do. You already know what threatens your roof, all you need to do is prevent those things from happening in the first place. Here are a few tips on keeping your roof in perfect condition. Information is ammunition One of the most important factors in winning any battle is information. The more you know about your roof, the easier it is to figure out if there will be problems later on. There are many sources of information online. The NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) has a lot of useful information available. Being armed with information will make it easier to explain things to your professional roofer in case you need help from them, which in turn speeds up roof repair or installment. Which brings us to the next point... Hire someone You may be the most skilled DIY enthusiast on the block, but there will be times that you will be too busy to attend to your roof’s needs or you may still lack some knowledge and experience dealing with more technical roofing problems. Don’t ever hesitate to hire a pro; they’re good at their job, and you can also learn a thing or two from them. Of course, it’s important to make sure that the roofer you’re hiring is a licensed professional. Check your local directories for a list of certified roofers in your area.

Part 3 - Defending Your Personal Death Star

Don’t be cheap The first Death Star was destroyed because the Imperials thought the shield was “good enough”. This is the same thing as using cheap “good enough” materials for your roof. Remember that 90% of the time, dirt-cheap material will similarly offer nothing but dirt-cheap quality. Always choose materials based on their quality and not their price tag, and you shouldn’t have to worry about your roof needing to be replaced or repaired after only a few years.

Part 3 - Defending Your Personal Death Star

Offense is the Best Defense In any war, having a good plan of action well in advance will always increase your chances of winning. In the same manner, planning for roof repair or even roof replacement well in advance can keep you from having to deal with roof problems you’re bound to see over time.

Get to know your roof well, and prepare ahead for the time that you may need to install a new one. It helps to know how long your roof is rated for, so that you can plan for its replacement years in advance. We hope this information will be useful to you so your roof doesn’t suffer the same fate as the Death Star. May the force be with you!

DRYTECH ROOFING COMPANY INC. 3435 Walnut Road Aberdeen, MD 21001 (240) 547-2447 DryTechRoofingCompany.com