What Are the Common Roofing Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore?

Given that your roof protects your home from the elements, including sweltering heat and intense snowstorms, it must be able to withstand any weather. However, roofing issues are inevitable. Your roof will inevitably show signs of wear and tear regardless of how resilient it was when it was installed. As such, you must fully understand any potential roofing problems before they arise. Once you spot any issues, take action to fix them ASAP.

If you overlook the tell-tale signs of roof damage, this may result in serious problems that can be costly and damage your entire house. Let's go through some common roof issues so you'll know what to do and how to address them.

15 of the Most Common Roofing Problems

Let's get started.

1. Roof Leaks

We talk to homeowners daily; the most frequent roofing issue they report is roof leaks. Numerous roof problems, such as cracked shingles, inadequate insulation, and poor ventilation, could cause leaks. These leaks are typically found next to vents, pipes, gutters, flashing points, and the chimney. (Related: The Most Common Causes Why Your Roof is Leaking)

Pro tip: The best way to find a roofing leak is to inspect the attic thoroughly. Use a flashlight to search the attic for water stains, mold, or dark spots. If the ceiling is vaulted and you can't access the attic, it is best to hire a qualified roofer to handle it with their expertise.

Other indications of roof leaks include water stains or mildew. And if you notice water dripping down your walls, your roof most likely leaks. Request a thorough assessment from an expert to confirm the leak if you see any tell-tale signs.

2. Improper Roof Ventilation

Poor (or improper) ventilation in the attic can also become a roof problem– as it increases the heat that builds up, damages the sheathing and shingles, and eventually cause the roof to fail. Improper ventilation can result from several factors:

  • having spray foam insulation and a ridge vent
  • having a ridge vent and an attic fan
  • too many intake points (gable vents, soffit vents, etc.)
  • having a ridge vent where there should be an attic fan on a hip and ridge roof
  • using a ridge vent when an attic fan would be more appropriate

Additionally, inadequate ventilation raises the internal temperature of your home and causes moisture to build up in your attic. This damages your shingles by forcing them to blister and crack. Additionally, it can contribute to ice jams in the winter, which can compromise building stability and safety. Have a contractor examine your ventilation system to avoid or resolve these problems.

3. Damaged Flashing

In case you're unfamiliar with what flashing is, it is a piece of plastic or metal sheeting that is used to protect the folds of skylights and chimneys. It also protects the pipes that let the air out from under your roof. If this flashing material breaks or comes loose– water and other moisture can get into the fixtures. Check all the places where there is flashing. If any of it is broken, replace it with a new one.

4. Faulty Roofing Materials

Another common roofing problem involves faulty roofing materials. This involves tiles that weren't put on right, broken shingles, or some materials that flew off in a storm. And when roofing materials get damaged or moved, it affects the roof's strength and causes many problems.

Even a high-quality roof installed correctly will wear down and break over time because of extreme weather conditions. Some roof parts don't last as long as the shingles and must be replaced partway through the roof's life. The longer you wait to fix broken shingles, the more likely you'll have more profound problems, like rotting sheathing. With that said, call a professional roofer to look at the roof and fix any problems before they worsen.

5. Water Damage

Standing water on your roof (after it rains or snows) can lead to mold or mildew. This can eventually damage your roof and cause leaks or structural damage.

Important note: Standing water can get through small holes or weak spots in your roof and cause a leak. This problem happens more often on flat roofs, but every type of roof needs good drainage. A professional contractor should check your roof regularly to help you avoid leaks and other long-term problems.

6. Shrinkage

All roof materials can shrink, but it happens more often on roofs with synthetic rubber membranes or other roof coverings. Cracks or tears in the flashing or shingles are often signs that a roof has shrunk. Most shrinkage can be avoided with a proper installation by a professional, combined with regular checks and maintenance.

7. Poor Installation 

Hiring local roofers without enough expertise can cost you money in the long run. Poorly installed roofs are a common cause of mold, short life spans, and problems that last for a long time. You might save some money initially, but taking this risk will cause much trouble. Since installing a roof can be dangerous if you don't have experience, it's best to hire a reliable roofing contractor to do it for you.

8. Pest Problems

Homeowners often find it annoying to deal with pests, but when they damage your roof, it can lead to dangerous situations. Pests can get into chimneys and make nests there. When you want to use your chimney, the nests make it hard (if not impossible) for dangerous gases to leave your home. Carbon monoxide and smoke will fill the room, and too much of either can put your health at risk.

9. Improper Repairs

If your roof needs fixing, you should always hire a trusted professional with the proper certifications and expertise. Repairs that aren't done correctly cost even more money and make your home unsafe for you and your family. You should always go to a reputable company if you need to fix your roof.

10. Freezing Damages

If you live where ice and snow are constantly falling on your roof, it may not last as long as the roofs in other regions. Water from melting ice doesn't run off fast enough because it melts slowly. This can look like water that has stopped moving and seeped under the roof, causing several problems.

Even worse, when it's cold, water that gets under the snow can freeze when the temperature drops. When water freezes, it gets bigger and pushes against the shingles. This makes a hole that more water can get through. And around the time it gets warm, you'll have many problems with your roof.

11. Poor Maintenance

Roof maintenance is crucial, but many homeowners don't know it. If you don't do routine maintenance, minor problems you don't notice can grow into big, expensive ones. (Related: Roof Maintenance Tips for Portland Oregon Homeowners)

Schedule a roof inspection at least once yearly to ensure your roof is well taken care of. If you live in an area with heavy rains or winds that happen often, you should also have your roof checked afterward. Get in touch with a local roofing contractor to set up regular maintenance. Pros also say that you should check your roof every 8 to 12 years.

12. Broken or Missing Shingles

When your shingle's sealant wears off, it may tend to lose, break, or come off ultimately. Force of nature, rodents, or wear and tear are the common causes of a damaged sealant. It is expected for your shingles to begin tearing off, depending on your roof's age.

13. Damaged Roofing Materials

These might include the likes of shingles, tiles, nails, and sealants. A roof's deterioration is caused mainly by nature, so routine maintenance is the best option. Some problems must be discovered quickly before they develop into more severe ones.

For instance, holes may allow moisture to leak into the roof, damaging it. Roof materials that shrink can crack and deteriorate, and the flashing may come apart.

14. Clogged or Defective Gutters

Defective or clogged gutters can cause leaks around the roof's edge and water backups that may eventually seep into the eaves and cause them to rot.

When constructing or replacing your roof, ask a roofer to install a drip edge to avoid this problem. Cleaning your gutters regularly and installing gutter screens, which may stop blocked drains, are other ways to prevent troubles. Check for potential gutter problems such as decay, corrosion, or cracks if your gutters are clean but still overflow with water.

Although clogged gutters can first appear like a minor issue for the roof, they have the potential to result in leaks and costly structural damage eventually.

15. Tree Damage

Damage from fallen branches is one of the most frequent issues people encounter with roofs. You would assume that only large branches could harm your roof, but tiny components can also erode the top layer of your roof if they come into touch with it and brush against it repeatedly.

Trimming your tree branches before they reach the roof is the best solution in this case. If the tree poses a severe threat, remove it and replace it with another tree. This is especially important if you live in an area prone to strong winds and storms.