The roof is one of the most vital components of your home. It provides shade and comfort, keeps your property appealing and protects you from the elements. To keep your residential roofing system in good shape, you must schedule regular inspections and maintenance. Lack of care can result in costly issues like water damage. Delaying repairs and neglecting your roof can also speed up its deterioration and even cause it to sag.
Read on to find out what causes a roof to sag and how to prevent it.
What Causes Roofs to Sag?
Improper Roof Design
A poorly designed roof might not be able to carry its own weight. Insufficient sheathing, incorrect rafter sizing and insufficient rafter or collar ties can lead to sagging. These design flaws can cause sagging in the middle of a sloped roof, or one of its sides can also sag. Fortunately, this problem can usually be fixed by installing new rafters beside the compromised ones.
However, if you’ve noticed that your roof is sagging between the rafters or trusses, its sheathing might be too thin for the space it’s covering. To address this issue, your roofing contractor will need to replace the existing sheathing with a thicker, more durable one.
Excessive Snow Loads
All residential roofing systems are created to handle a certain amount of weight. Anything that lands on your roof that’s beyond its weight capacity will cause the structure to sag, especially when left for a long time. Homes in colder climates or areas that receive a significant amount of snow are more likely to suffer from this issue.
Roofs are designed to keep water out of your home. However, it can suffer damage during a storm or from poor maintenance. Once your roof has been compromised, it wouldn’t take long for water to infiltrate its structure and your interior. When left unaddressed, water will build up and accelerate the deterioration of roofing components. As a result, the system will weaken and start to sag.
Too Many Layers of Shingles
Sometimes a roof repair isn’t enough to bring back a roofing system to its former glory. When it’s time for a roof replacement, you have the option between a complete tear-off or an overlay. During a tear-off, your contractor will completely remove all the old materials before installing new ones. On the other hand, an overlay involves installing new shingles on top of the existing material.
While a roof overlay often costs less than a tear-off, it doesn’t allow your contractor to repair existing issues beneath the old material. Roofing shingles carry significant weight, and multiple layers can lead to sagging. Even a well-designed and properly installed roof will eventually sag if it has too many layers of shingles.
A complete tear-off will always be the better option over an overlay, especially if the existing roof is decades old. After removing the old materials, professionals will be able to detect issues and fix them before installing the new shingles. Your roofer will replace the underlayment and the decking if necessary.
An overlay allows you to improve your attic insulation or upgrade the structure of your roof. Older homes will benefit from these improvements. With better insulation, your living space will be more comfortable, and you can also enjoy savings on your energy bills. Moreover, a tear-off often delivers better and more appealing results since shingles lay flatter and look more uniform. It’s an investment worth considering if you are selling your property in the future.
Substandard Materials and Poor Installation
You must carefully choose the contractor you will hire, whether you need a roof repair or replacement. Unreliable companies may use poor-quality materials that can compromise the structural integrity of your roof. Substandard products are more susceptible to damage caused by outdoor elements and harsh weather. They also tend to wear out faster.
While high-quality materials may cost more, you can count on them to last long and provide your home with sufficient protection. However, even products from reputable manufacturers can fail when not installed correctly. Just like any construction material, they will also eventually need replacement. Residential roofs tend to last between 15 and 30 years. It means that if your roof is at least 25 years old, a roof replacement is often the best route for you.
When an old roof begins to sag, the issue will only worsen. It’s usually more cost-effective to replace your roof instead of spending on expensive repairs. Worst case scenario, a sagging roof can collapse and cause property damage and even injuries.
How Do You Prevent This Issue?
Schedule Regular Inspections and Maintenance
Routine inspections and maintenance go a long way in extending the life of residential and commercial roofing systems. It allows professionals to find problems that can potentially cause sagging in the future. Expect your contractor to inspect the condition of your roof’s exterior and interior surface. They might check your attic for indications of leaks or signs of insufficient ventilation.
Your roofer should also check ceilings joists or the beams of wood running along the ceiling’s edge. They connect your home’s wall and provide support to your roof. These joists can turn weak as they age or develop water damage due to leaks. Problems with ceiling joists can increase the chances of sagging, so make sure to address them immediately.
Don’t Allow Heavy Materials to Settle on Your Roof
Certain roofing materials bear more weight than others, like tiles. Pooling water and snow buildup can also put a strain on your roof. As much as possible, don’t allow water or snow to settle on your roof. It will also help to get routine cleaning to keep debris from accumulating and adding to the load your roof has to support. If possible, consider replacing heavy roofing materials with lighter ones like metal or asphalt.
For superior residential and commercial roofing services, turn to De Palma Construction. You can always count on us for quality workmanship, top-grade products and friendly customer service. Give us a call at (717) 638-1131 or fill out our contact form to get a free estimate.