So, you’ve purchased an “older home” with an “older roof” – at least, you think you have. What could be considered an older home, anyway? A subjective question like this doesn’t have a hard and fast answer.
However, generally speaking, most will agree that homes over 50 years old fall into this bracket. If your home has been around for a century or more, then it’s safe to call it antique by most standards.
Older homes come with character. While often charming, many of their quirks can be a challenge to homeowners. This article outlines those flaws that are often found in the roofs of older homes.
Common Repairs for Older Roofs
On average, a new roof can go approximately 25 years without need for replacement – often even longer, when properly maintained. However, the roofs of older homes may develop problems that are anything but superficial, simply as a result of aging.
Here are the most common roofing issues you should consider as the owner or resident of an older home.
Though a bit enigmatic to some, roofing ventilation is crucial to any house. Properly installed ventilation prevents a variety of issues from affecting your entire home.
The general purpose of roof ventilation ducts is to prevent heat and moisture from being trapped within the attic space of a home. If a roof is not properly ventilated, it can result in problems with everything from your energy bill to the structure of your house.
Signs of Improper Roof Ventilation:
- Mold and mildew. (Look for it on beams, wooden studs, and rafters.)
- Frequent need for HVAC maintenance and repair.
- High energy bills.
- Ice dams. (Thick ridges of ice that form along the edges of your roof.)
How to Fix It:
The key to better ventilation is often 2-fold: it’s best to have both the correct ventilation system for your home, as well as quality insulation. You also need to be sure you have the correct amount of ventilation, which varies depending on the design and structure of a house.
Structural damage to your roof can happen in many different ways, for many different reasons. The older a home is, the more potential it has for running into these problems. Structural damage can come from the interior or exterior of your home, but regardless, should be treated as the serious hazard that it is.
How Structural Damage Could Occur:
- Broken tree branches falling on roof.
- From weather such as high winds or hail.
- Pooling water.
- Wild animals or pest insects habituating the roof.
- Mold and rotting wood.
Signs of Structural Damage:
- Broken shingles
- Pooling water on roof
- Evidence of infestation of animals or insects
- Crookedness or sagging
- Cracked plaster or warped window/door frames inside the home
How to Fix It:
Problems with the structural integrity of your roof are a serious issue. This type of damage can endanger everyone within your home. If you believe your older home may have structural damage, you should have a professional assess such as soon as possible.
“Flashing” is the material used to keep water and other sources of moisture away from the materials of your roof that could be damaged by such. It is generally found around roofing features such as chimneys, skylights, and vents.
If your roof is older, the flashing may have deteriorated or been damaged. Or, other aging areas of your roof could be affecting the flashing due to their deterioration.
If this is the case, moisture is likely to get in and can lead to the previous issue – structural damage. For example: if the chimney flashing is out of date or improperly installed, it could allow water in and damage the integrity of the supportive structure around the chimney.
Signs of Poor Flashing:
- Leaks in corner areas of ceiling
- Leaks around chimney
- Leaks around other roof features, such as vents or skylights
- Mold in any of the areas above, or where the exterior wall meets the roof
- Rusted or broken flashing
How to Fix It:
It’s best to have a professional help you with this roof repair, as flashing is a mechanism used in construction. However, if you want to give it a go yourself, this article has a lot of helpful information.
Leaks are simply a result of the wear and tear that any roof will experience in enough time. That being said, they are still a frustrating problem to deal with. Roofing leaks can cause all kinds of inconveniences for homeowners and residents alike.
There is an infinite array of causes for roofing leaks, and they can result in both unwanted air and water entering and escaping the home. If it’s an air leak, it could cause drafts and higher energy bills. A water leak can result in mold and moisture/water damage.
Signs Your Roof May Be Leaking:
- Water stained ceiling
- Occasional moisture/drops
- Damaged shingles
- Mold or moss on exterior walls
- Air temperature appliances not as effective
How to Fix It:
Finding the leak in your roof can be the most challenging part of this fix. However, once you’ve found it – be it from a shifted nail or a crack between beams – it may be easy enough to fix.
If the leak isn’t safely accessible, it’s best to call a professional for help. However, do your best to find the source first so that you aren’t paying for a search party.
Keep Your Older Home Happy
At the end of the day, with the proper attention and care, even the oldest homes can thrive. The most important thing is to provide consistent maintenance to your home, including checking for unseen issues on a regular basis. The longer roof issues are left, the more damage is done.
There is a lot you can do to upkeep your roof, from seasonal TLC to speedy repairs. However, some roofs simply can’t be saved. If you wonder whether your roof may need to be replaced, we’ve created a brief blog post to help you make the call.
Tidewater Roofing knows our local homes and climate – contact us any time for the best service around. If you’d like more insight on your older home’s roof, we’d love to speak with you.