Performing annual inspections and maintenance for your sloped roof will ensure it functions correctly and lasts its intended service life.
Roofing is one of the largest capital replacements a building faces, yet it is often neglected and ignored unless someone reports a leak. Yet just because the roof isn’t leaking, that doesn’t mean it does not require maintenance and repairs. Sunscreen is applied before, not after, the burn.
If your condominium is protected by a sloped asphalt shingle roof, check for the following:
1. Shingle Degradation
The first sign of asphalt shingle failure is visible changes to the aesthetic of the asphalt shingles. Degranulation and curling are the roof’s way of telling you that they are nearing the end of their service lives. When degranulation and curling get worse, small pieces of the shingle may become dislodged and fall off the roof. Checking for degranulation may be difficult from the ground and therefore a walkover inspection is recommended.
2. Missing Shingles
Shingles can become dislodged and blow off the roof under high winds. While tornados aren’t common, high winds are. Missing shingles may go unnoticed if the backup membranes blend into the surrounding shingles. Additionally, missing shingles go unnoticed if they do not immediately lead to leaks. Regardless, missing shingles should be replaced with new shingles to ensure that the roof does not become compromised.
3. Exposed Fasteners and Nails
Fasteners are used to secure various flashings and cappings on the roof. Contractors either seal the fasteners with sealant or use a neoprene gasket fastener. In both circumstances, the sealant needs to be refreshed. Additionally, shingles are secured to the roof with nails. The nails in the shingles are hidden under the adjacent shingles. During installation, nails may be incorrectly placed – exposed, rather than under the shingles. These 'low nails' or ‘shiners’ are typically sealed after installation, but the sealant can fail, and additional sealant needs to be applied.
4. Debris in the eavestroughs
Eavestroughing can get clogged with granules from the shingles, organic growth, or a combination of both. Once an eavestrough is clogged, the eavestroughing no longer functions as intended and can force watershed near the foundation wall. As such, the Eavestroughing should be cleaned regularly so that it performs as designed.
As with flat roofs, sealants will eventually harden and lose their elasticity and will require replacement.
Sloped roofs require ventilation to regulate the internal temperatures of the attic space and to remove moisture-laden air which could migrate into the attic from inside living spaces. In the winter cooling the attic space is essential to prevent excessive melting of accumulated snow on the roof surfaces which could lead to ice damming. Whereas in the summer months venting prevents overheating of an attic which can cause degranulation of the asphalt shingles to the point of premature failure. Sometimes vents become dislodged, clogged, or break. Vents should be checked and repaired during your spring inspection to ensure they perform adequately during the hottest months of the year.
Sloped roofs, just like flat roofs contain many penetrations, including plumbing stacks, exhaust vents, chimneys, or roof vents. Each penetration should be carefully reviewed and repaired as required.
8. Fascia, soffit, and offset walls
While asphalt shingles are commonly seen as your main protection against water penetration, your fascia, soffit, and offset walls work just as hard to keep you dry inside your home. These metal flashings can be damaged by hail, heavy rain, or foreign objects (what is the terminal velocity of a rock being dropped by a bird?). Damaged flashings can lead to water infiltration of the roof system or into the attic. Metal flashings should be checked during your routine spring review to ensure they are all damage free and performing as intended.
9. Sagging roof decks
Sometimes your roof will show you that it needs some attention by resembling gently rolling hills. Roof sheathing spans across the roof trusses, and typical bridges are about 24” (600mm). By design, if the sheathing starts to weaken, it will sag between the trusses, indicating a problem. While sometimes the sheathing sags naturally, checking the roof to ensure there is no sagging is important. It is especially vital if large quantities of snow accumulate on your roof in the winter.
10. Ice damming
If there is no snow or ice on the roof, how can you tell if your roof has ice damming issues? Great question. Ice damming plagues a lot of roofs, and typically damages the first 6-9’ (1800-2700mm) of the roof, starting at the eaves. The damage typically manifests as curling shingles, broken tabs, and excessive degranulation that is not present on the rest of the roof. Catching ice damming early is vital to ensure that your roof does not prematurely fail. If your spring inspection shows signs of ice damming, modifications to your attic ventilation system may be required. In drastic cases, a roof system re-design may be required.