Overhangs Take the Brunt of Weather
The roof of your house is most vulnerable in two areas: 1- where
the edges of a roof are the narrowest, just above the rain gutters
and, 2 - along the overhang edges where the siding begins. Homeowners
need to pay special attention to these areas of high exposure
in order to notice any developing repair problems while they're
still small. If you wait until a roof problem become large, correcting
it will be considerably more expensive.
Weather Times Three
Out on the triangular edge of roof overhang where insulation and
protection is most scant, wind, rain and snow can get a grip on
three sides. Snow and ice can pile up, gather excessive weight,
create ice dams and eat away at roof edge shingles. Melting ice
can penetrate the roofing plywood and travel deep into the structural
elements of the house, where moisture will begin to do serious
damage. Water can penetrate the fascia and soffit areas - the
vertical face board where the gutter is attached and the horizontal
underpart of the overhang.
Keep Gutters Clear of Debris
Making certain that the gutters are open and can quickly carry
water away from the roof edge is one of the simplest ways to protect
the overhang. If your gutters are old, sagging and are ready to
be replaced, consider one of the new capped gutter systems that
reduce the amount of debris they can collect. Look to see if the
whole last row of roofing shingles slightly sags into the gutter
as they should to ensure that rain doesn't drip or gain access
behind the siding.
There are ice and snow roof shields on the market that are installed,
like a rubberized apron, beneath the last few rows of roof shingles.
The apron material self-seals around roofing nails and protects
against roof-edge leaks.
Staining is a Soffit Signal of Damage
If your soffit is made of plywood, staining is one of the easiest
to spot signs of moisture penetration from above - either from
the gutter or roof shingle failure.
Soffits must be vented in order to allow your roof to have adequate
ventilation. If you must replace a damaged plywood soffit you
might want to consider pressure treated plywood with new drop
in vents or a continuous metal vent. Just bear in mind that soffits
made from chemically treated wood will need regular painting due
to discoloration. A lower maintenance option is to replace your
old plywood soffits with vinyl or aluminum systems. Keep in mind
that old bird's nests, dirt, insulation and other debris tends
to collect in soffits. Wear a dust mask and goggles when you start
to work on them.
Look for damaged roof shingles all around the edge of your roof.
Unless there is adequate shingle overhang the roof's plywood sheathing
can become exposed; the roof shingles can curl up and allow moisture
to delaminate the plywood, which is how rot can begin.