Experts Can Tell: Is Your Roof ‘Healthy’?

Severe weather can adversely affect everything about a house, whether or not you can see the damage.

“Some signs of an aging roof are obvious, but it takes a trained eye to see hail damage, especially if the hail was small. You have to feel it more than see it,” says Andy Bufalo, founder and CEO of Bufalo Contracting, 3466 Colony Bay Dr.

Damaged shingles can lead to water leaks, which can cause mold and wood rot, and in severe cases, harm a roof’s basic structure. Other problems occur with time. Every roof ages differently, depending on the roof style, how much sun exposure there is, the amount of shade provided by trees, the type of shingles on the home and how the roof was installed, he says.

Obvious problems caused by weather or aging can be found by going into the attic to look for water leaks, discoloration and warped wood. Oftentimes, homeowners are not aware of problems until water actually gets into the home.

Shingles that are buckling, missing, and have bare spots or curled edges are signs a roof has met its life expectancy. Dark spots and streaks can mean moss or algae is growing on the roof and certain kinds can grow under the shingles, causing them to raise up, allowing water to seep into exposed areas.

One of the biggest problems in the Midwest is ice damming, when snow melts and then freezes, causing a build-up of ice and no way for water to escape as temperatures warm. Homeowners can help prevent ice damming by using a roof rake, specially designed to get snow off of single-story homes from the ground. In other cases, Bufalo has a steam machine to melt the ice off safely. Chipping away at the ice, salting or power washing the roof is not recommended, he says.

Gutters are also an important part of maintaining roof health. In dry conditions, clogged or damaged gutters are a fire hazard. Clogged gutters and downspouts also cause rainwater to overflow, which causes substantial damage to a building, landscaping and basements.

Bufalo Contracting provides services in commercial and residential roofing, siding, gutters, windows, decks and restoration for homes in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. To schedule an appointment or in case of an emergency, call 779-368-0256.