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Beware of Roof Damage: Signs of New Jersey Roof Damage

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When it comes to your roof, you want to get the longest use out of it as possible. Because, let’s face it, a new roof is expensive. Regular maintenance and inspections will go a long way in helping to catch and resolve minor problems before they turn into major, costly problems. Often times, minor problems can be easily remedied with some simple repairs. However, if minor problems are neglected, the problem will only worsen and lead to more issues down the line, and you will end up with an expensive and extensive roofing project on your hands.

Sometimes, locating a minor roof leak can be difficult. The nature of water allows it to freely flow away from the actual source. Often the signs of water damage (ie: staining) appear in areas away from the actual leak. Water can enter the roof through one point and run down to another point before it starts to soak into the ceiling. By the time you have noticed the signs of water damage and pinpoint the leak, you probably already have some significant and costly water damage. The best practice, when it comes to your roof, is to learn to spot the roof problem before the leaks appear.

If you have experienced a major leak caused by roof damage, you may need a professional structural dry out.

Identifying Signs of NJ Roof Damage

  • Outdoor Assessment: Make it a habit to get outside, when weather permits, and check your roof. Often times, missing or damaged shingles are in plain sight, and we just overlook them because we are not actively looking for them. Depending on the volume of damage, a roof repair may be a sufficient fix. However, if the damage seems to be more than 30% of the roof, you might need to consider replacing the whole roof.
    • When conducting an outdoor assessment, remain mindful of the chimney, ventilation pipes, roof flashing, gutters and fencing. All of these can get damaged and affect the condition of your roof.
    • Things To Look For:
      • Deteriorating shingles- Curling edges, cupping, cracking, tearing, or completely missing shingles may be indicating that your roof is failing.
      • Dislodged Shingle Granules- With wear and tear, the textured coating on shingles tend to break off over time.
      • Check for “bald spots” or discoloration in your shingles left by missing granules.   
      • You might also find shingle granules in your gutters that have fallen off your roof.
      • Flashing- Check for tears or buckling around roof penetrations. Rusting, tearing, buckling, or missing flashing can leak to water intrusion.
        • Flashing is the metal that surrounds chimneys, skylights and vent pipes and often is found in the valleys where roof sections meet.
      • Soffit and ridge vents: Clogged or damaged vents, flashing and shingles around them curling or missing
      • Gutters: Look for decay or rust, leaky seams, loosely attached to structure, bent or sagging, missing sections of gutter or downspout.
        • Clogged gutters can easily freeze shut and cause excessive weight on gutter fasteners, ice dam conditions, and slippery walks below.
      • Chimneys: Check for leaning, loose or missing flashing, damaged bricks, cap or cracked joints.
        • Chimney flashing is especially prone to tearing because a chimney settles independently from the house.
  • Indoor Assessment: Conduct regular checks for moisture marks, brown, yellow, or grey stains, and peeling paint on walls and/or ceiling. These signs point to damage somewhere, perhaps a leaky roof.
    • Do not forget to routinely check the attic for damp rafters or leaks.
    • Sudden surges in energy costs could be a sign that your roof ventilation has been compromised, and your air units are working harder to compensate.
  • Contact a Professional: As the homeowner, you will always be the first line of defense when it comes to spotting roof damage. However, understand that we all have our limitations. Do not be shy about consulting a professional if the situation seems beyond your knowledge or experience. A basic inspection, conducted by a trained and experienced professional, will spot minor roof damage before it turns into a major and costly problem. Routine inspections at a nominal fee could save you thousands and extend your roof’s lifespan.

Paying attention to the condition of your roof can go a long way in preventing major water damage that can lead to damaged ceilings, walls, and the foundation (in more severe cases). Not only will water damage wreak havoc on your property and diminish the structural integrity of your home, but it can promote mold development if it is not addressed promptly. If that is the case, you will need a professional NJ mold remediation.

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Conduct Regular Maintenance Checks To Prevent NJ Roof Damage

  • Schedule regular roof inspections: a trained professional has the necessary skills and tools to spot potential roof damage in its early stages. Regular inspections will increase the odds of catching the problem early on.
  • Pay attention to roof flashings: A majority of leaks occur at flashings. Good news: flashings are easy to fix; Make sure that flashings are tightly and properly installed around chimneys, vents, skylights, and wall/roof junctions.
  • Do not block ventilation: If your roof ventilation is blocked, heat and moisture will build up in your attic area. This moisture build up, over time, will lead to rafter and sheathing wood rot, roof shingles will buckle, and attic insulation will lose its effectiveness. Proper attic ventilation will help prevent structural damage caused by moisture, increase roofing material life, reduce energy consumption and enhance the comfort level of the rooms below the attic.
  • Conduct routine gutter and downspout maintenance: Gutters and downspouts are naturally prone to debris and blockage. During the winter, water that collects in the gutter tends to freeze over, worsening your blockage. Make it a habit to regularly check and clean your gutters. If a blockage occurs and allows water back up, it can leave your roof vulnerable to damage. Water can back up under your roof shingles and do serious damage to your shingles and, eventually, your roof.  
  • Control your landscaping: Keep trees and bushes away from your home when possible. Yes,  trees and bushes provide great aesthetics to a properly, but they can also cause problems.
    • Trees and bushes provide damp shade for moss and algae to grow on moist wood shingles and shakes. They can hold more moisture to a roof system’s surface, causing rot and deterioration.
    • If you must have the trees and bushes, make sure they are trimmed away from your home. It will help to eliminate damp, shaded areas.
      • Neatly groomed trees and bushes will help to avoid scratching and gouging of the roof surface by branches.
      • It will also limit the chance of loose branches falling into the gutters and causing a blockage.
  • Immediately replace missing or torn shingles: Missing or torn shingles leave patches of your roof vulnerable to water damage a rot. If not remedied immediately, the problem is likely to spread to nearby shingles and worsen the problem.

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Sometimes, despite taking all the necessary precautions, your roof may unexpectedly suffer from major damage and allow serious water intrusion into your home. When the unexpected happens, do not panic. MasterTech Environmental’s NJ emergency water restoration Team is available 24/7 to come to your rescue. Remember, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to begin to develop in areas experiencing major water exposure, so call a professional right away upon discovery. If you suspect the water has been there for a while, and you are concerned about mold development, you should consider a certified mold inspection of your NJ home.

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