Now that spring has finally arrived, homeowners around Massachusetts have started sprucing up their properties and checking for any damages winter may have caused. If you’ve spent any time in New England, you may have noticed that the weather can fluctuate quite drastically from day to day. This does not necessarily pose a risk to your roof, but it does demonstrate how quickly the climate can change. As the spring storms roll in, the health of your roof will become increasingly important, as minor leaks can turn into major problems in the blink of an eye.
The first step to securing your home against the elements is to schedule a roof inspection as soon as possible. This can help you identify existing vulnerabilities and take corrective measures before your home sustains any costly damages. While the most recent winter season was (relatively) mild, there is a chance that the snowfall and below-freezing temperatures weakened your roof’s structure, cracked a few shingles, or drove critters to take refuge in your attic. To help you anticipate the hazards ahead, we’ve assembled this list of seasonal risks that every property owner should prepare for:
The most common risk Massachusetts homeowners will contend with is heavy rains and strong winds, which are pretty standard for the spring. However, 2018 saw a staggering 61 inches of rainfall, marking it as the wettest year on record for the state, according to the National Centers for Environmental information. While rainstorms might not seem like a major threat, they can cause some serious issues for your roof if you’re not careful. A single cracked or loose shingle will allow water to seep into your roof’s wooden infrastructure, which can rot out its supportive framing and decking. Not only will this weaken your roof as a whole, it may also lead to major leaks and structural sag that can threaten your home’s joists and walls. Here are some tips for safeguarding your roof against storm damage:
- Replace blemished or missing shingles: The best way to prevent costly water-related damages is to make sure your shingles are fully intact and secure. A simple roof inspection will identify where the weak spots are, so don’t wait for the rain to find them for you.
- Make sure your gutters are in working order: Clogged or misaligned gutters can lead to serious drainage problems that may damage your siding, ruin your flower beds, and eat away at your foundation. Be sure to clean them regularly and test their functionality before the heavy rain causes an issue.
- Secure your vents: Strong winds can drive water into your attic vents and soffits, which can soak the inside of your home and allow water to pool behind your drywall. Installing rain guards can help mitigate this risk.
- Clear away hanging tree limbs: Tree limbs that dangle over your roof can soak up a lot of water during prolonged bouts of rain. All it takes is a single intense windstorm to break those branches and send them tumbling onto your roof.
- Look out for standing water: Although pooling rainwater is typically a problem for flat-topped commercial properties, homeowners should also keep an eye out for damp spots. If your pitched roof is sagging, or the slope and drainage is off, you may start to see patches of water lingering for several days. This is a major warning sign that your roof may need to be replaced.
The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t begin until June 1st, but preparation is key to preventing large-scale damages and costly repairs. While the vast majority of tropical storms hit New England in August and September, the weather has been known to ramp up in the late-spring, which is why homeowners should be proactive about their roof’s structural health. Even tame hurricanes can overload your gutters, rip healthy shingles from your roof, and send tree branches flying, so it’s crucial to address any existing vulnerabilities as soon as possible.
If your roof needs to be completely replaced, it’s a good idea to schedule the project in early or mid-spring, as this will give your roofing contractor plenty of time to finish before the severe weather arrives. That said, spring is considered an offseason for most roofers, as consistent rainfall can be disruptive to their work. The busiest time of year for most roofing companies usually falls in the late summer through the early autumn months. If you need an immediate repair or replacement, it’s best to reach out to a contractor ahead of the busy season, as a lengthy delay could leave your home vulnerable.
Algae and Mold
Mold, algae, and moss typically grow in areas with a lot of moisture, but they don’t always stay outdoors. If you notice any black streaks or discolorations on your roof, you’re likely seeing at a common blue-green algae called gloeocapsa magma. While this type of algae is not immediately harmful to your families health, it can significantly impact the longevity of your roof. Gloeocapsa magma feeds on inorganic materials to fuel its growth, such as the limestone and other granules used in composite shingles. If these materials are significantly eroded, moisture and water can easily seep into your roof’s underlying structure.
Mold is a much more serious issue, as it can cause a lot of damage before it’s ever discovered. Additionally, mold on the outside of your home is usually indicative of growth on the inside, which may lead to chronic health problems like nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, and skin inflammation. While you might not be able to stop mold, algae, and moss spores from landing on your roof, you can prevent them from spreading by practicing preventative care. The surest way to discover whether or not you have a mold or algae problem is to call in a licensed roofing contractor for an inspection.
If you’re concerned about the condition of your roof, don’t wait to seek out an expert opinion. Our licensed team of roofing professionals can work with you to identify existing vulnerabilities and guide you through the repair or rebuild process. We’ve helped families and commercial property owners around Greater Boston and Metro West assess the structural integrity of their roof and resolve any issues that may leave them open to costly damages. Rain or shine, Flynn Roofing will be there to protect your property from spring’s seasonal perils.
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