Storm-proof Your Roof

The arrival of heavy, cool-seasonal rains over the Pacific Northwest may seem encouraging, since the wetter weather chips away at a years-long drought. But, these storm systems also blast Washington State with heavy rain and mountain snow. As winter storms head east, it plasters our homes and businesses with snow, howling winds and heavy rain. These storms also have a far-ranging impact as it transits across the state. These powerful storms, focusing their fury on the Pacific Northwest, are exactly the type of weather systems characteristic of La Nina, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced developed last month. Strong storms will be common in the winter months ahead.

All this wet weather may not be so good for our roofs. Large powerful storms can cause damage to your home. As a homeowner in the line of fire from one of these forcedol storms, you’ll want to take proactive measures to protect your property and not just during peak storm season, but all year long. 

Many homes in the Seattle area have asphalt shingles as their roof covering. These shingles have different ratings, depending on your area. Some shingles are rated for winds up to 150 mph. Other shingles types may be older three-tab style with wind ratings of 50 to 60 mph. One way a shingle roof fails is by allowing the wind to lift the shingle and then tear it off. The way your shingles were fastened during installation can provide various degrees of wind resistance. Shingles that were 6 nailed are far more robust than those that are 4 nailed. If you have an older roof, your shingles may have been fastened with staples, which are the least effective in keeping your shingles in place.  One critical factor for your shingles is layers of roofing. The high wind rating that a roof may have assumes that your shingles are the only layer of roofing. New shingles installed on top of old ones have significantly lower wind ratings. 

As shingles age, they become more brittle, and often the adhesive that holds the leading edge down will fail. Having additional adhesive applied to loose shingles can greatly reduce the chances of your shingles getting ripped off under high wind conditions. You should plan to have your repairs made weeks before the storm season begins. The roofing adhesive needs at least 2 weeks to properly cure and be effective. 

If you have a metal or tile roof you can also run into problems. Loose tiles are often dangerous projectiles when propelled by strong winds and can then cause more damage to your roof and surrounding structures. Metal sheeting, metal tiles and other rooftop items like vents, covers, and chimneys need to be maintained as well. Loose chimney and other flashing can allow water to penetrate the roof shingles and substructure, leading to mold, mildew, and damp drywall.

The most catastrophic failures in intense storms are due to some variation of losing the roof sheathing, the part of the roof that the shingles are attached to. The gable ends of your home are particularly vulnerable. Once this layer is gone, your attic is exposed to water from wind-driven rain. Once the roof sheathing is damaged, wind can get a better grip on the roofing materials and cause further damage. If you are repairing or re-roofing, it is a good ideal to ask your Guardian roofing inspector about adding additional fasteners to the decking prior to installing the roof covering.  

Prevent Storm Damage

Over time building codes change, because materials change over time and new materials are discovered. Many older homes have roofs that don’t comply with the current building codes. Older materials are particularly vulnerable to damage by strong winds and water infiltration. You can take steps to maintain your roof and prevent storm damage. In addition, you can save huge amounts of money on eventual repairs.

  • Durability – One of the most valuable steps towards storm-proofing your roof is to make it durable and sustainable. Metal roofing, high wind rated shingles, storm shutters, or specialized attachments are very popular improvements you should consider. 
  • Design – Many of us didn’t build our homes, we bought them. Have your roof inspector analyze your roof and suggest repairs for potential design problems, such as wooden braces attached to the rafters for increased stability, properly sealed vents, etc. 
  • Seals – Have your roofing professional properly apply roofing cement on the edges of roof shingles. Have your roofer also inspect flashing and vents your proper seals.
  • Fasteners – If your home is in a particularly wind area, you can also add fasteners to ensure your roof decking is securely attached to your rafters.
  • Maintenance – The best way to prevent shingle and sheathing damage is to keep your roof maintained. 

Roof Cleaning & Maintenance

As shingles age, they become more brittle and prone to damage from either the storm’s wind, water, hail, or an insufficient repair. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the fluctuating temperatures, coupled with heavy tree coverage and heavier rainfall means your roof has the potential to fail sooner if not maintained properly. Common materials like asphalt shingles, wood shakes, or concrete tiles all suffer from common trouble areas, like around skylights, vents and chimneys. These trouble spots can be attributed to damaged flashing and sealants that are supposed to keep water out. Over time, normal weathering, moss and tree leaves can cause damage to the flashing and the shingles themselves.

Having your roof inspected every year before storm season can prevent many of those potential storm repair headaches. In addition, you can save a lot of money on insurance premiums if you have a well maintained, damage resistant  roof. If conducted correctly, an inspection and regular maintenance program will not only add years to the life of the roof, but it will detect minor problems before the damage is widespread and costly. 

Your Roof Needs Maintenance if:

  • Leaves or Evergreen Needles collecting on your roof and in your gutters (Leaves, pine needles, twigs or silt buildup will trap water and cause a capillary action where water tracks underneath the tiles or shingles and seeps into the home.)
  • Clogged Gutters (Gutters clogged with debris will slow drainage or cause water to backup giving it time to seep through and cause leaks.)
  • Moss and Algae growing on your roof
  • You live in a high wind area
  • Your home gets snow and ice build up on an annual basis
  • Your roof is more than 5 years old
  • You have a brick or stone chimney that is more than 10 years old
  • You have skylights that are more than 10 years old

When to Schedule Maintenance

Roof maintenance can be done any time your roof needs it, and if your roof is over 5 years old and hasn’t been checked recently, then the sooner you schedule your roof for an inspection the better.

Otherwise, it is generally recommended homeowners have roof maintenance done at least once a year, although twice is preferable. Early spring and late fall are the ideal seasons for this, for a variety of reasons:

  • Spring maintenance – It’s important to make sure your roof is still in great shape as you leave winter behind and prepare for those big spring and summer storms. Spring is one of the most popular seasons for roof maintenance, especially if the previous winter has been a harsh one. 
  • Fall maintenance – Late fall is a great time for roof maintenance too. A maintenance check at this time of year can include clearing away all the fallen leaves from your gutters and roof surface, and making sure your roof is winter-ready. Even though we don’t typically get a lot of show in this area, there’s still a risk of ice dams forming during a cold snap, and a well-maintained roof is crucial to preventing them. 

Guardian Roofing Maintenance Program – Get our initial evaluation for FREE!

Our technician will thoroughly inspect your roof and its components. They will review their findings with you. If there is any work recommended, they will discuss the options available to you. The amount of service usually ties to the factors listed above, plus the regularity of previous maintenance and the size of the roof that needs care.

Our company employs a staff of highly trained technicians that are dedicated full time to roofing repair, cleaning, and maintenance. We specialize in all Roof Systems and Roof Related Components:

  • Asphalt Composite
  • Wood Shake and Shingle
  • Concrete Tile
  • Flat and Low Sloped Roofs
  • PVC/TPO Roofing
  • Metal
  • Walking Decks
  • Brick and Block Chimneys
  • Skylights

Guardian Roofing recommends that your roof be inspected at least once a year. Doing this, and investing in a regular maintenance program, can prolong the life of your roof, give you the peace of mind, and prevent damage to your home.

When your home is ready for a new roof, repairs, or maintenance, you need a reliable, dependable roof repair company. You count on you roofing contractor to keep your home safe and dry. Guardian Roofing is committed to providing top-quality service, professionalism and workmanship.

If you are looking for a roof repair contractor please call us today at 877-926-9966 or complete our online service request form »