Protecting Your Roof

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.

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