The roof of your home is the first line of defense against the elements, and it takes a much bigger beating than your walls, windows and doors. Wind, rain, storms, and other severe weather happen to us all year round here in Florida. Even when it’s sunny and beautiful, the roof still has a job to do, shading the interior of your home and keeping it cool inside, and in the process of doing that, the roof takes a beating from the sun’s UV rays, causing further deterioration. Rain or shine, your roof is your shelter, and you need it to keep protecting you, your family, and your home from damage.

However, while most people are aware of the importance of their roof, not everyone is aware of the signs that your roof needs repair. For many people, the purchase of a home is the biggest expense they will make in their whole lives, and a big part of protecting that investment is making sure that the roof is intact. So how do you tell if your roof is vulnerable and needing repair? In this two-part blog series from our metal roof company in Melbourne, Florida, we’ll share some tips for how any homeowner can identify the need for roof repair. You don’t want to be surprised, so take a moment and follow these 8 tips to see if your roof might be at risk.

1. Look for water damage

There are two places to look for water damage: inside and outside your home. Here’s where to look:

Outside

Walk around your home and look up at the area where your gutters are located. The vertical boards that your gutters are attached to are soffits, and the horizontal boards underneath are called fascia. Look for any sign of water damage on the soffits and fascia, such as dampness, peeling paint, wood that’s swelling, or mold. If you do see damage there, the first culprit that may be causing water damage is probably your gutters. Take a quick look and see if they’re clogged or leaking. If everything looks fine with your gutters, however, then the problem probably lies with the roof.

Inside

If you have water damage occurring inside the house, it may be a long time before it’s visible (or noticeable) from inside your living space. Look for the following signs that water damage may be happening:

  • A greyish, irregularly-shaped spot on the ceiling, especially if it’s expanding in size over time. Look particularly at the corners and edges of the walls, as this is where dripping water is mostly likely to flow and come in contact with your ceiling drywall. It may just look like discolored paint or dust, but if it’s water damage and you don’t attend to it, you could have your ceiling material caving in on you at some point.
  • Water that runs down the indoor surface of your chimneys when it rains. The chimney is a piece of your house that extends up through the roof, and if the flashing around your chimney is damaged, water could be coming through that access point. Put your hand on the chimney brick when it’s raining and see if it feels damp. If it is, you should call a roofer right away.

Once you’ve looked thoroughly at your ceilings and chimneys, you should also take a trip up to your attic, if you can. Do this while it’s raining for best results. Look for any sign of water damage on the rafters and flooring in your attic. Pay particularly close attention to the ridge line, any valleys in the shape of your roof, and the places where the roof joins the exterior walls of your home. Also look closely at all of the vent pipes that protrude out of your roof, such as ventilation systems, plumbing vents, and any other items that extend past the roof to the outside. Inspect closely for any sign of spongy wood, mold, dampness, or funny smells. Water damage that has gotten past your shingles may be causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

2. Look for mold

One of the sure signs of water damage in a home is the presence of unexplained mold. Here in Florida, we have high enough humidity as it is, leading to favorable conditions for mold growth, and a moldy home is an unhealthy place for you to live, leading to respiratory illness, infection, and inflammation.

If you find mold that has a reasonable explanation for why it’s there (say, in your shower grout), you probably don’t have to assume it’s your roof, but any other mold should be a trigger to cause you to say, “Hey, I wonder if there’s a problem with my roof?” A roof that needs repair can cause mold for a number of reasons. It could be improperly ventilated, causing moisture to build up in your attic and providing ideal conditions for mold to take hold. It could be leaking slowly, introducing a slow-but-steady stream of water that invites mold to multiply.

3. Look for moss and algae on your roof.

The older your roof gets, the more susceptible it will be to the growth of foreign material on your roof, such as moss, algae, mildew, fungus, mold, or lichens. Two of the most common are moss and algae. You can tell the difference between moss and algae because moss looks like little green tufts and algae looks like dark streaks or discoloration. Moss and algae tend to grow best in environments that are moist and shaded, so if your house is in the woods, you’ll be particularly susceptible, and you may also find moss trying to grow on the north side of many Florida roofs.

Are moss and algae a problem? Yes! Not only do they look unattractive, potentially hurting the curb appeal to your home, they also degrade the condition of your roof, making you have to replace your roof that much sooner. Both moss and algae are living organisms, so they’re not just sitting there doing nothing on your roof. Their metabolic activity contributes to and accelerates deterioration. Since the asphalt and tar paper on most shingle roofs come from oil, which is a fossil fuel, moss, algae, and other living organisms on your roof can actually eat that tar or asphalt as a fuel source, causing the granules on the asphalt to be knocked loose more easily. Furthermore, any debris on your roof will absorb and hold water, contributing to further deterioration.

Because moss and algae are transmitted by airborne spores, it’s especially difficult to deter them from landing on your roof and wreaking havoc. If you have moss and/or algae taking hold on the roof of your home, the best course of action will depend on how old your roof is and how long these plants have been living on your roof. For a relatively new roof where moss or algae have only recently taken hold, you may be able to simply kill them off with a bleach or chemical solution and then install a deterrent material on your roof that will work against further growth. (Do NOT pressure wash your roof.) For an older roof where moss or algae have been there for a long time, replacing the roof may be your best bet.

Fortunately, when you turn to Hippo Roof, you’re in the right place for a solution. Metal roofs are naturally moss- and algae-resistant, and depending on the material you choose, they might be downright toxic to the growth of plant material on your roof. Zinc and copper are two metals that are particularly toxic to algae and mold, making them a popular choice even for many people with shingle roofs. Just a strip of one of these materials on your roof’s ridge line can deter mold and other organic matter, because every time it rains, trace amounts of the metal will wash down the roof and inhibit the growth of anything that was trying to take root there.

Contact Hippo Roof for Roof Repair in Melbourne

When you need a roofing contractor who cares about quality and wants the best for the customer, turn to Hippo Roof. We specialize in installing metal roofs throughout the Brevard County area, and we look forward to giving you a roof that’s so good, you won’t have to replace it for the rest of your life. Ask us for a quote today.