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Common Causes of Roof Damage

There are many things that can damage a roof.

Homeowners are often caught in a quandary: do I repair the roof or replace it?

Let’s take a look at some of the main causes of roof damage and what should be done about them. As with everything we share here, please contact our roofing contractors if you ever have any questions on whether your damaged roof needs to be repaired or replaced.

Metal Shingle Roof being installed

Here in Texas, it’s not uncommon to have thunderstorms, especially in the spring. This means the possibility of wind or hail damage after a storm is inevitable.

Once a storm goes through, it’s always a good idea to inspect your roof to make sure you don’t have any surprises in the weeks following the storm.

Wind can do a lot of damage, such as cause tree limbs to fall onto the roof. Even small debris can puncture shingles, leaving an opening for rain.

Some damage will be obvious, such as your gutter coming off or shingles standing up. You’ll need to look for things such as flashing missing or holes in the shingles.
Repair or replace? If the damage is small, such as a few missing or damaged shingles, a repair will do just fine.  

Nobody likes to hear hail hitting the roof, especially if it gets up to golf ball size or larger. Hail damage is one of the biggest damage causes.

One reason is that the damage will be over the entire expanse of roofing, not just in one or two places. Hail can dent or even puncture shingles. They also can do a lot of damage just by knocking off the granules on top of the shingles. These granules are protection against water and sun damage.

Another problem is that with hail-producing thunderstorms, there is usually some fairly gusty and powerful wind, which causes its own damage.
Repair or replace? The answer will depend on just how much area was damaged and how severe the damage is. A good rule of thumb is that if the damaged area covers over 30 percent of the roof, it really should be replaced.

Pooling water is another problem with storms or rain. It could be caused by a slightly sagging area of the roof, causing water to gather in one place. Often this bowing is not obvious and is only revealed by standing water. Of course, the longer the water stands, the more chance it has to seep into places you don’t want it to go, starting with the area under the shingles.

Another place that requires close attention is clogged gutters, which can cause water to rot the wooden boards behind the gutters.
Repair or replace? If the water pool involves a sizable area, it’s probably better to replace it. Sagging portions of the roof means that it’s probably getting near the end of its useful life and it will need replacing soon anyway.

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Rodents and pests can also cause a problem. While termites are the first thing that occurs to most people, other pests are damaging as well.

Bird droppings are acidic, and birds can get stuck in gutters or vent pipes. Squirrels, mice, and rats can chew through wood and shingles to get into your home. Insects such as bees and ants may cause more damage than you think. Beehives can foster mold. Carpenter bees tunnel through wood. Carpenter ants can really do a number on a structure if left unchecked. Repair or replace? Most pest problems can be spotted before they become big ones, so repair is usually preferred, but always call a professional to make sure.

Tree damage. It’s easy to see if a large tree has fallen on your roof, but branches and limbs can tear or dent shingles, leaving space for rain and insects. When you see a branch on your roof, remove it and inspect for damage underneath.
Repair or replace? This is another time when it depends on the amount of damage. Of course, if you’ve got a large tree that broke through your roof, replacement is probably the better course. The damage caused is probably more than what’s immediately visible at first glance.

Improper installation. Too often, roofing companies neglect proper training of their roofers. Besides just wielding a nail gun, there are other skills needed, such as installing boots and flashing around pipes, chimneys, and vent fans, and installing shingles where roofing sections join. The boots and flashing are designed to seal out moisture.

If they aren’t installed properly, you might as well not have them. Rushing through the job also makes for less than stellar work. If the roof is not uniform or has missing or crooked shingles shortly after installation, you may have a problem.
Replace or repair? This will depend on what needs to be repaired and the size of the job. If the problem isn’t noticed for a long period, there may well be other damage caused that will have to be corrected, in which case a replacement may be in order.

If your roofer doesn’t guarantee his work or the damage is noticed outside of the warranty period, you have another problem.

Homeowners insurance won’t cover repair or replacement of improperly installed roofing but may cover damage later caused by it.

If you have a problem not covered here or you just have questions, just go to our contact page at

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