snow covered house with woods in background

6 Cold Weather Tips to Help Your Roof Survive This Winter

Winter is here, bringing with it snow, wind, ice, and other threats to your roof. Here are 6 tips to help your roof survive this winter.

1. Ice Dam Prevention

Ice dams are one of the biggest threats your roof will face during the winter. These occur when snow begins to melt as it warms, then refreezes into a top layer of ice when temperatures drop. This creates a barrier which traps snow and water beneath its icy surface. Eventually, this trapped moisture will penetrate your roof and drain into your home. Ice dam prevention involves snow removal from the roof, and stopping dam formation before it starts. 

2. Ice Dam Mitigation

If your roof already has an ice dam, you can take steps to break it up and allow normal water flow. Don’t ever get on your slippery roof, and never use hammers or chisels to break up ice dams! Here are a few safer methods:

  • Fill panty hose with ice melt and lay it across the dams from roof point to gutter, allowing the tubes to overhang your gutters. This will melt snow and ice and create a clear path for water runoff.
  • Refreeze the trapped water by directing cold air, such as created by a big fan, at the roof from inside your attic or crawl space.
  • Plug in snow melting mats or cables to keep the ice and snow moving by warming roofing surfaces from the outside, melting the icy surface and releasing trapped moisture. Having these in place prior to icy conditions will keep the dams from forming.

3. Snow Roof Rake

Snow weighs over 20 pounds per cubic foot. That’s a lot of weight to ask your roof to support! Snow roof rakes are designed to remove snow from the roof. Featuring long poles and wide heads, some of these even have wheels on the rake head to make them easier to maneuver. They are lightweight and durable, extending to 20’ or more for a better reach. Proper snow removal from roof surfaces is one of the best ice dam prevention methods and will lessen the weight burden on your roof.

4. Trim Overhanging Tree Branches

If you didn’t do this already when readying your roof for fall, it’s not too late. Tree branches become brittle with heavy snow and ice, and are more likely to break off and cause damage to your roof and gutters, especially in windy conditions. 

5. Clean Gutter Debris

Debris in your gutters will stop them from draining properly, resulting in a build up of ice and snow. While icicles on gutters may look pretty, collapsed or damaged gutters are costly to replace and can cause significant damage to your roof and your siding.

6. Fix Roof Issues Now

Missing shingles, uneven roof surfaces, sagging sections of the roof, and water spots on your ceilings all indicate major issues with your roof that need to be addressed immediately. Professional roofing contractors are trained to spot potential problems and repair them before they cause significant damage to your home.

Contact PJ’s Roofing, servicing homes in Frederick and the surrounding area, for a winter roof inspection to make sure your roof will survive winter’s icy grip.

drone view of roof with solar panels

Top 7 Roofing Design Trends for 2022

As we enter 2022, one thing is certain: roofing design trends throughout this year and beyond will embrace the concepts of environmentally friendly, energy efficient materials and designs. What do these designs mean for your new roof in 2022?

1. Money Saving Materials

With the prices of utilities going through the roof (pun intended), you will see more and more designs and materials used with the purpose of reducing energy bills and environmental impacts.

These can include solar roofs, cool roofs coated in energy reflecting and/or absorbing materials, and synthetic shingles made of more affordable recycled products such as plastics and rubber.

2. Simplistic Designs

The days of complex rooflines are behind us, with more homeowners turning to simplistic, clean designs that can also be incorporated with energy saving features such as solar panels.

These roofs not only provide cleaner lines to your roof, they can also be less expensive to design since they use less materials.

3. Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are a great option for any home. They can be another eco-friendly choice because they incorporate recycled materials while lasting decades longer than other traditional roofing choices. Metal roofs are less prone to leaking than asphalt shingles, and they encourage snow and rain to just slide off slanted surfaces far easier than their asphalt counterparts.

4. Green Roofs

Similar to a cool roof, green roofs (also known as garden roofs) provide an extra layer of energy efficiency. These are flat roofs that are covered with vegetation, providing shade to the structure underneath them and an efficient use of rainwater.

5. Solar Roofs

Solar roofing is a trend that has been growing over the past few years, but 2022 will most likely see these roofs gain even more popularity. And why not? Solar panels generate electricity without the pollution of traditional energy sources, eliminate the need for fuel, and produce no noise as they generate power.

6. Recycled Synthetic Roofs

Synthetic roofs require no petroleum products in the manufacturing process, making them far more eco friendly and affordable than traditional roofing materials. One of the more popular synthetic options is synthetic slate, offering a clean and classical slate appearance to any home.

7. Skylights

As energy prices continue to soar, homeowners are looking for ways to use less electricity to save on utility bills. Skylights are a great way to enhance the natural lighting in your home. Available in star-gazing skylights or tubular versions that add some light to your space, skylights are a great way to help trim your electric bill.

PJ’s Roofing Has the Experience You Need to Keep Up with 2022 Roofing Trends

Whether you’re looking to replace your roof now or sometime in 2022, call PJ’s Roofing to get an estimate and guidance in choosing the right design and materials for your project. We handle both residential and commercial roofing needs, from flat roofs to gables, asphalt shingles, synthetic slate, and everything in between. We also specialize in gutter replacement and skylight installation. Contact us now to schedule an appointment for your free estimate. It’s your first step in making sure your roof is the trendiest one on the block in 2022.

home skylight showing blue sky

How To Repair a Leaking Skylight: Diagnosis & Repair

Into everyone’s life, some rain must fall…but what if it’s falling into your hallway, dining room, or bathroom? Skylights are a great source of natural lighting and letting in a little fresh air, but what happens when it leaks? With winter right around the corner, it’s not just rain you need to worry about. Sleet, ice, and snow are common sources for this headache.

When these windows leak, it’s usually because of poor installation techniques, including improper flashing and sealing. Sometimes you notice it right away, but other times it can take quite a while before the leak is apparent. Remember that, unless you built the window into your roof during construction, skylights rely on cutting holes into your roof.

How to Repair Leaking Skylights

Before you panic, take a closer look at your skylights. Is it actually a leak, or has condensation built up inside the window, like a car’s windshield on a cold day? Many skylights have a tray to catch condensate moisture, but it’s possible for this to overflow. If this doesn’t seem to be the problem, it’s time to take a look at the window’s installation.

Carefully get up on the roof if you’re able to do so safely, and have a trusted partner with you. Check the skylight, looking for:

  • Damages to the roof itself
  • Previous repairs that are now failing
  • Open seams
  • Flashing fails such as gaps, cracks, and pinholes
  • Signs that the window seams are failing, such as torn or worn seals

If it’s unclear where the leak is originating, you can pour water from a bucket or hose over the skylight and have someone inside see where the leak seems to be. Remember that water travels, however, and sometimes for quite some distance from the original leak source.

Let’s look at a few ways you can tackle a leaking skylight.

Clear Debris

Debris that has built up along the window can trap moisture, so make sure the roof is free of leaves, moss, and branches.

Cement Roof Flashing

Cement roof flashing will help repair the damaged existing flashing around the skylight. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper application.

Spray Foam

This is always worth a try, but again, may only be a temporary fix. Spray foam expands and hardens, making the skylight more leak resistant. Apply it at the base of the window from the outside, and add a bead inside around the window for good measure.

Replace Missing or Damaged Shingles

If the skylight’s surrounding shingles are missing or damaged, the gaps around it will increase and allow water to come in. If this is the case, you can replace the surrounding shingles and the flashing, but again, this is only a temporary fix. Missing shingles can also mean damages to the roof’s structure as well, and you may need to have that section replaced and the window reseated.

Check for Interior Issues

If you can’t locate the source of the leaking, there’s a possibility that there’s a problem with the drywall around the skylight. If this wasn’t properly insulated when the window was installed, it could be letting water in. Expose the area behind the drywall, and use your expanding spray foam in this area. 

Call the Skylight Pros

Unfortunately, the fixes we mention above are only temporary and in time, you’ll have the same problems you have now. Ultimately, a professional needs to come and look at the skylight’s installation and recommend permanent repairs. These can be difficult even for the best roofing contractors. In certain situations a complete uninstall and reinstall of the window may be necessary.

Contact us now so we can keep the winter moisture outside your skylight, where it belongs.

home with new metal roof

7 Reasons Fall is the Perfect Time for a Roof Replacement

When you think of fall, what do you think about? Football, colorful leaves, an end to your yard work, and bundling up in your favorite chair in front of a fire? We bet you never thought about replacing your roof this fall, but if you have been waiting for the right time, it’s already here. Why is now such a good time for this? Well…

  1. Lowered chances of extreme weather: Cooler temperatures and drier weather make fall the perfect time for replacing or repairing your roof.
  2. Off-season pricing: Roofers begin to see a drop in projects after the summer is over, and many offer special fall discounts and savings. This is the time to shop around for deals on roofing services.
  3. Winter ready: Installing a new roof in the fall gives shingles and other materials time to set properly before winter weather strikes. Summer’s heat makes adhesives less sticky, and winter’s cold can make shingles brittle, both of which can complicate your job.
  4. Shorter wait times: Off-season roof replacements mean your contractors can get to your project faster than during peak season. This decrease in projects may mean you get more roofing technicians on your job so it can be completed faster.
  5. Just in time to save on energy costs: When it comes to decreases in energy efficiency in your home, your roof is your biggest culprit. Getting your project done in the fall means you’ll save money on your energy bills this winter.
  6. Mitigate spring and summer damages: If your roof was already the worse for wear this year, chances are it was damaged even more after the storms of spring and summer. Fall is the perfect time to evaluate your roof to make sure it’s ready for winter.
  7. You may want a gutter replacement at the same time: If your gutters are leaking, they need some attention, especially before winter hits. A full-service contractor like PJ’s roofing can upgrade your gutters while replacing your roof. 

Take Advantage of Fall for Your Roof Replacement

Whether you’re looking for minor roofing repairs or a complete roof replacement, fall is here. We’re a locally trusted contractor with an experienced team of residential roofing professionals to complete your job on time and on budget this fall, just in time for winter.

If your wallet isn’t quite ready for a new roofing project, take advantage of our financing options, including 12-month interest-free and 84-month reduced interest payments. 

We provide a large variety of shingles, including slate and metal roofing options, that will boost your home’s curb appeal while improving its weather resistance. Contact us today for a quote or to schedule an appointment for an evaluation of your roof.

new home with new roof

Synthetic or Felt? A Simple Guide to Choosing the Right Roof Underlayment

Choosing your roof is complicated enough; architectural shingles or slate? Brown, black, gray, tan, or red? While your mind is spinning from the number of options in front of you, your contractor wants to discuss something else: synthetic underlayment, or felt underlayment?

You’ve seen roofing underlayment before, and maybe even called it roofing tar paper or roll roofing. You probably never knew there were two types of underlayment, and you probably have no idea which to choose.

Here’s a simple guide to roofing underlayment to take away the mystery so you can get back to focusing on the important stuff…like adding a skylight while you’re getting your roof done.

What is Roof Underlayment, and Why is it Important?

Roofing underlayment is placed over the bare plywood (or OSB) deck just prior to placing your shingles. Its purpose is to add another protective layer to your roof for increased weather resistance to rain, ice, or snow. Without underlayment, you risk water soaking into the roof deck and causing serious issues including leaks, rot, mold, and mildew. 

Underlayment adds another layer of insulation, creates a seal around flashing, gives roofers a more even surface to lay your shingles, and even acts as a sound barrier.

There are two primary types of roofing underlayment: felt underlayment and synthetic underlayment. 

Felt Underlayment: Pros and Cons

Many homes have asphalt-saturated felt as an underlayment. Felt underlayments are thicker and heavier than synthetic, making them harder to work with. It’s a good choice for a tight budget, however, and has a relatively quick installation time. 

Pros of Felt Underlayment

By far, the best reason to choose felt underlayment is its lower cost vs synthetic underlayment. Additionally, it is water resistant and readily available at most roofing supply companies, making it easy for a contractor to get. 

Cons of Felt Underlayment

Felt underlayment has its downsides, though. It isn’t as durable as synthetic and is prone to tearing during installation. It’s absorbability means it can soak up water and wrinkle, which makes shingle installation harder. On the flip side, if the felt is left in the sun or heat it can dry and lose its efficacy as an underlayment. It’s recommended that shingles be placed immediately after the felt is laid to avoid damage to the underlayment material.

The thickness and weight of the felt make it harder to work with, including difficulties when roofers need to drag it up the ladder. The weight also means that the rolls of material are smaller, so there is a potential to have more seams when it’s installed.

Finally, ff shingles are lost, the felt underlayment offers less weather-proofing and water resistance to the deck below it.

Felt underlayment may be a good choice if you’re on a limited budget and can guarantee that the shingles will be placed immediately after the material has been placed on the roof deck.

Synthetic Underlayment: Pros and Cons

A popular alternative to felt, synthetic underlayment is made from long-lasting polymers, which add to its durability both during the installation process and throughout the life of your roof. It adds better weather protection to the roof deck than felt, but it is a more costly option. 

Pros of Synthetic Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment is more durable and lightweight than felt, making it far easier to work with. Lighter than felt, synthetic underlayment comes in larger rolls and is easier to maneuver. Larger rolls also means more complete coverage with fewer seams.

Since synthetic options aren’t prone to damage from rain or heat like felt underlayment, your roofing project can be extended beyond the date the material is installed, if necessary. 

Synthetic roofing underlayment is water resistant and will not soak up water the way a felt underlayment does. The material itself is less prone to mold or mildew, and increased water resistance means it will offer more protection to the roof deck if shingles are lost.

Cons of Synthetic Underlayment

There really aren’t many disadvantages to choosing synthetic underlayment over felt. The initial price may be an issue for some budget-conscious homeowners, but the trade-off is an underlayment that is durable, longer lasting, and more weather resistant than felt. 

Synthetic underlayment is a great choice if durability, ease of use, and improved weather resistance is important to you for your roofing project. While it may be more expensive initially, it will save you money in the long run in increased protection.

PJ’s Roofing Will Help You Choose the Right Underlayment

With over twenty years in the roofing industry, PJ’s understands the importance of choosing the right material for your underlayment. Contact us and let us look at your roof and help you decide whether felt underlayment or synthetic underlayment is a better choice for your project.

person calculating expenses on table

Financing a Roofing Project? Here’s What You Need to Know

The need for a roofing project usually presents itself when you least expect it, and chances are your finances aren’t ready for this type of expenditure. Your roof isn’t something you think about until it causes problems, such as leaking, rotting, and general wear and tear. Luckily, there are options available for financing a new roof, but what should you know before signing the dotted line?

1. Fees

Just because a company accepts financing doesn’t necessarily mean that they will do so without charging fees, often a small percentage of the finance agreement. These fees are in addition to fees charged by the lending bank, including early repayment fees, origination fees, and late payment fees.

2. Interest Rates

Whatever financing option you choose, you’ll be repaying with interest. How much interest the finance company charges will largely depend on the terms you choose, your credit score, your income, and other factors.

Beware of the 0-interest options. These are fantastic if you can pay more than the minimum payment each month. Paying only the minimum payment will most likely not allow the balance to be paid in full by the end of the term, and after the term expires, finance charges and interest will be levied against you from the initial date of the loan.

Divide the balance by the term and pay that amount rather than the minimum balance. For instance, a $12,000 loan, interest free for two years, will require monthly payments of $500 to be paid in full within the two year term. This is what you should pay, regardless of what the “minimum payment” would be, to ensure the balance is paid off by the time the 0-interest term ends.

3. Terms

Choosing the right payment terms is an important consideration. Terms that are too long will incur higher interest rates, but terms that are too short may financially hinder your ability to repay the loan. Find a happy medium: what’s the most you can afford to pay per month? Once you’ve established a budget, you can find the best terms for your financing plan.

4. Saving Money on Your Loan

If you can, find a financing option that will allow discounts for things such as autopay and paperless billing. You may also consider a credit card instead of a financing option if you can find a zero interest card, or one with a lower interest rate than offered by the financing company.

In addition, if you belong to a credit union you may find financing options through your bank that can save you money in the long run.

Need a New Roof? PJ’s Roofing has You Covered!

PJ’s roofing is a proud partner with GreenSky Financing. We have two options to make financing easier for you, so you can get the roofing services you need right now:

Reduced Interest Rate for 84 months: Enjoy seven years of reduced interest rates on your roofing project.

No Interest if Paid in Full in 12 Months: Take a year to pay back your loan with interest free financing for up to a year.

Ready to learn more? Contact PJ’s roofing for a free consultation and quote, and make sure to ask about our special financing options.

brick house next to another

5 Signs you Need a Roof Replacement…Now!

Roof replacement is one term that fills homeowners with fear. Enough fear, in fact, to keep them far away from the vital roofing services they need. But homeowners, take heart; you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 90% of roofing services involve roof replacement.

There are significantly more existing homes than those being built new, and it’s only natural that an older home’s roof is more likely to need repair and replacement. Your roof is the only thing keeping you safe from the elements, so it’s time to give it a little more attention. Do you need roof repairs or a complete roof replacement? Here are five signs that your roof needs more than just a little TLC; it needs to be replaced.

1. Damaged Flashing

Flashing is placed around the joints of your roof to complete a water-tight seal. Usually made of metal, you’ll find flashing at the base of areas that extend upwards from the roof, including:

  • Roof ridges
  • Vent pipes
  • Roof pitch connections
  • Skylights
  • Chimneys

When your roof’s flashing is damaged, it allows water to penetrate underneath…and right into your home. Flashing can be damaged due to weather, branches, or age. Common signs of flashing damage are corrosion and rust, bending or separating, leaks around chimneys and vents, and holes of any size. 

2. Bats in the Belfry? Unwanted Critters in Your Home

If you’re finding wildlife in your home and you’re not Snow White, the odds are quite high that you have a breach in your roof. Squirrels, birds, and, depending on the size of the hole, even raccoons, will take advantage of an easy entry into your home and cause hundreds of dollars in damages. Once in the home’s attic or crawl space, they can easily chew holes through ceilings and walls to make unwelcomed appearances in other rooms.

On top of gnawing and nesting, these animals carry diseases and can be quite aggressive. If you’re hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet above you, it’s a sign that you need a roof replacement.

3. Curling or Missing Shingles

Shingles that are effectively doing their job should lay flat on the roof. If your shingles are curling and separating, they have outlasted their usefulness. Eventually, these shingles will come off the roof entirely, leaving your wood exposed and increasing the odds of a major leak. 

If you’re finding pieces of shingles or the granules that coat them, in your rain spouts or even washed into your yard, don’t waste time. A major breach is right around the corner.

4. Signs of Water Damage on Ceilings or Walls

This one seems obvious, but there’s a little more to it than just finding discoloration on your ceilings or walls. Water is unpredictable;  the damages you’re seeing on one spot of your ceiling may not be coming from an obvious source, such as the roof right above it. Water will find a way to travel along rafters and pipes, often pooling in spots you might not expect. This is why it’s important to replace your roof rather than try to repair it yourself. 

You may find leaks following large weather events that aren’t apparent during lesser ones. Hail, rain, and high winds may all play a part in where signs of a leak show up within the home. Even if you only notice the signs of leaking during heavy downpours, your roof is failing.

5. Your Asphalt Roof is Fifteen Years or Older

They say all good things must come to an end, and your asphalt roof is no exception. Did you know the average asphalt roofing material only has a lifespan of around fifteen years? Many people are turning to synthetic, slate, tile, and metal roofing to increase their roof’s life expectancy.

Not only are these alternative roofing materials durable, but they are also timeless and elegant, adding to your home’s curb appeal.

Do You Really Need a Roof Replacement?

Before committing to a total roof replacement, reach out to us and schedule a roof inspection. Your roof’s life expectancy could be extended with a few repairs. With several financing options available, a huge selection of styles, materials, and colors, and two decades of experience, your roof is in good hands with PJ’s roofing. Contact us today for a quote or to schedule your roof inspection.

multiple colored roofs

How to Choose the Right Color Roof

Nothing enhances the curb appeal of your home like the condition and color of its roof. Replacing a roof is one of the largest investments you make, and it’s a decision you (and your neighbors) will have to see every day for the life of the roof.

Your roofing contractor can make suggestions and provide samples, but the decision will ultimately depend on your individual tastes and preferences. Here are seven tips on how to choose the right color roof for your home.

1. Your Roof Can Impact Your Energy Usage

Dark colors will absorb heat, while lighter colored shingles will reflect the heat and help to keep your home cooler. Your roof alone will not make a huge difference to your energy usage, but when combined with good ventilation and effective insulation installation, it may help. 

PJ’s Roofing Pro Tip: Some geographies may have specific guidelines when installing a roof, such as using lighter or more reflective materials to meet environmental standards.

2.Your Roof Color Can Hide or Enhance Your Home’s Features

The color you choose for your roof can change the perception of the home, making it appear smaller or larger. Light colored choices, for instance, will make the house appear larger and accentuate its positive features. On the other hand, dark colors may draw attention away from your home’s imperfections.

PJ’s Roofing Pro Tip: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing a color for your home. An experienced contractor will be able to help you choose a great color to enhance your home’s best features.

3. Test Drive Your Samples Before You Choose

The quality of outdoor light varies widely depending on your home’s location. What seems to be the perfect color may not be as perfect as you think it is if your home has an unusual lighting situation, such as direct sunlight exposure all day on an otherwise bare lot, or exceptionally shady and surrounded by trees.

PJ’s Roofing Pro Tip: Never choose the color of your roof based on looking at samples inside. Choose your favorite colors and take them outside throughout the day to make sure they look as beautiful outside against your exterior as they do on your kitchen table.

4. Go Dark for Light

The idea of a roof’s color is to enhance your home. Your roof provides attention-grabbing contrast to your home’s exterior. Unless your exterior is very dark, a good rule of thumb is to choose a color that is darker than the rest of your home. Likewise, if your home is dark, choosing a lighter colored roof will give your home a contrasting “punch.”

PJ’s Roofing Pro Tip: Neutral colors may seem like an easy choice, but if your exterior is neutral as well you’re missing an opportunity to add a beautiful contrast.

5. Let Your Home’s Style be Your Guide

Traditional colors tend to work best on historically styled homes, while modern houses are more versatile for roofing colors. No matter what your home’s style, however, you are looking for a color to add contrast and complement your exterior aesthetic. Avoid monotone themes where the roof is the same color as the rest of the home.

PJ’s Roofing Pro Tip: Take a drive and look at homes that match your own home’s architecture. What color roofs are on them, and do you like the look?

6. Mixing and Matching is Not Always a Good Strategy

Ever notice how some homes have a perfect match of facade and roof while others look awkward? You’d never wear plaid pants with a checkered shirt, and the same concept applies with your roof color. If your home is finished with multicolored stone or bricks, for instance, it will most likely look better with a solid colored roof. Conversely, if the home has a solid colored facade you may be able to add a beautiful contrast with a multi-colored roof choice.

PJ’s Roofing Tip: Multi-colored roofing choices can include shades of grays and browns that will add a ‘pop” of color to a solid colored exterior.

7. A Dark Colored Roof Will Not Hide Algae or Moss

The dark streaks and stains on your roof aren’t flaws with the shingles themselves, they are signs that a moss or algae is growing on your roof surfaces. You may be tempted to go with a dark colored roof to hide these stains, but the truth is that the streaking and patchy coloration will eventually show up on any color of roof. In other words, choose a dark color because it will complement your home, not because you think it will hide moss or algae stains in the future.

PJ’s Roofing Pro Tip: Don’t give in to the temptation to try to powerwash the roof. Roof algaes and mosses aren’t inherently damaging to the surface, just unsightly. Your roofing contractor can help identify the invading algae as part of a seasonal roof inspection, and eliminate it.

Ready for a Roof Color Change? PJ’s Roofing Can Help!

When it’s time to consider a new roof, don’t be overwhelmed with the wide choices of materials and colors available. PJ’s Roofing is your trusted partner for residential roofing needs, providing you with a wide selection of styles and colors, along with the expertise to help you narrow down your choices and make a decision that you (and your neighbors) will enjoy for years. Contact us today!

checklist notepad with pen

Roof Inspection Checklist for Summer

Beach chair? Check. Sun tan lotion? Check. Roof summer ready? It will be once you inspect it for the temperature extremes and heavy summer storms that make Maryland’s and Pennsylvania’s weather as unpredictable as it is unique. Regular roof inspections will catch most minor roofing problems before they become costly repair issues. While we will perform a professional roof inspection for any commercial or residential property, there are a few things you can do to help summer-proof your roof. Here is a complete roof inspection checklist for summer.

A Summer Roof Inspection Starts Inside

Many times, roof issues make themselves known long before you climb on the roof to inspect it. Check for signs of leaks inside, including:

  • Bulging patches on interior wall surfaces
  • Spots on the ceiling or walls
  • Peeling or bulging paint
  • Musty odors
  • Mold or mildew formation on the ceiling
  • Obvious wet spots on the ceiling, walls, or floor

It’s important to remember that water can do crazy things and travel in unexpected directions. Just because you see signs of a water leak doesn’t mean the source of the leak is directly above it. In fact, water can travel inside walls and exit somewhere in the basement or first floor. Check all levels of your home for signs of water damage.

If you see signs of a leak, contact a professional immediately. Delaying repairs can cause extensive damage to your home’s structural integrity and be the foundation for mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Inspect the Attic or Crawlspace

It’s time to get up in the attic or crawlspace and check on the condition of your insulation and ventilation systems. Check for signs of water damage, blocked vents, animal droppings or carcasses, and nests. 

Signs of water damage could indicate roofing issues, while signs of animal habitation inevitably means there is access to your home through the eaves, ventilation systems, or the roof.

Check Your Eaves

The eaves are a prime spot for rot and pest infestation. Rodents can find entry to your attic or crawlspace through remarkably small holes, and as anyone who has had an unfortunate encounter with wasps and hornets will tell you, they are also a favorite spot for insects and pests to build nests. If you have less than 12”–15” of insulation, it’s time to add some more.

Check for signs such as gnawed wood, holes, sawdust on the ground, or lingering insects in and around your eaves. This is also the chance to address any chipped, peeling paint you see; a fresh coat of exterior paint will help protect your eaves from water damage.

Trim the Trees

You may spot trees that have limbs hovering over, or even touching, your roof. In windy conditions these branches blow back and forth, damaging your shingles. These branches also shed leaves onto the roof and into your gutters, allow a “bridge” for insects to travel from the tree to your roof, and have the potential to break off and cause even more damage to your roof.

Professionals recommend that tree branches be cut back six to ten feet away from the roof. Stay safe, and hire a professional tree service to handle this for you.

Gutter Inspections

Are your gutters still channeling water away from your home? Any gutter that is cracked or leaking needs to be repaired or replaced. Look for areas where it seems water is pooling (other than your downspout); if you see these areas, chances are your gutters need attention.

Clear all debris, such as nests and leaves, from your gutter channels. If you find yourself on the ladder cleaning the gutters too often, you may want to think about upgrading to a leaf block system.

Inspect Shingles

Starting on the ground, walk around the house and look for signs that your shingles are starting to lose integrity. Some of these signs include:

  • Curling shingles
  • “Bald” spots on shingles (missing granules)
  • Cracked shingles
  • Missing shingles

Your ground inspection should focus on the overall roof condition, but pay special attention to shingles at the edges of your roof and eaves.

Repair Flashing

Many roof repairs involve replacing or fixing the flashing (metal around chimneys and vents). Chances are you noticed the effects of faulty flashing already; water stains around the chimney, for instance. 

Carefully inspect the flashing, making sure it’s still structurally sound and not peeling away.

Clean the Roof

You’ve probably noticed discoloration on your shingles. This is usually because of algae and fungus formation. It’s a good idea to clean the roof annually by removing all sticks, leaves, and other debris before rinsing it down with a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water or a commercial grade roof cleaner.

Use caution before deciding to pressure wash your roof. The high-powered jets can cause damage to your shingles.

Check Your Previous Repairs

Oftentimes, an improperly repaired roof will return to haunt the homeowner again within a year or two. If you know you had a roof patch or other repair, check the integrity of it to make sure it’s still holding up.

Don’t Like Ladders? Call a Professional

A professional roofing contractor can provide comprehensive roof inspections that will uncover potential problems, provide you with tips to maintain the health of your roof, and even give you an estimate on your roof’s remaining lifespan. 

Most roofing professionals recommend an inspection every other year, but having an annual inspection improves your odds of uncovering minor issues before they become big repairs.

lightning strike from a distance

Heavy Rain, Hail & High Winds: Roof Damage from Weather

When it comes to safety and security, few things are more important than the integrity of the roof over your head. Yet last year alone, severe weather—including heavy rain, hail, and high-speed winds—caused close to $15 billion in damages to homes in the United States alone, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all homeowners’ insurance claims.

Unlike some parts of the country, the Mid-Atlantic region doesn’t often have to deal with the most severe types of weather, like hurricanes and tornadoes. That said, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding states are not immune to heavy rains, hail, and high winds, which can be extremely damaging to roofs. 

Heavy Rain

An intense downpour or a series of moderate rainstorms can cause severe roof damage. Heavy rain can cause shingles to buckle or curl, especially if they are already showing signs of wear and tear. When shingles are worn down, they begin to deteriorate, making them more likely to break in a rainstorm. And once there is even a small area of your roof exposed, your interior is very likely to incur water damage. Addressing minor issues immediately keeps damage from spreading and ultimately saves you from the cost of more extensive repairs. 


The type and severity of hail roof damage differs according to the type, age, and slope of your roofing material, the size of the hail stone, and the speed and direction of the wind. It may not be a foolproof method for evaluating the likelihood of storm damage to your roof, but knowing the size of the hailstone involved is a good place to start. 

¾ inch: Property owners often discount possible roof damage after storms with smaller caliber hail because they underestimate its impact. Depending on the wind speed of the storm, hail as small as ¾ of an inch can cause serious damage to your home’s roof, metal fascia, vinyl siding, gutters and downspouts, and window screens. It can also dislodge granules from asphalt shingles.

1 inch: In addition to damage caused by smaller hail, stones that measure 1 inch can also cause significant bruising to shingle underlayment. Again, wind speeds will determine the severity of damage.

1¼ inch: It’s hard to believe, but just a quarter of an inch more in size makes the potential for hail damage much more significant. Even with minimal wind speed, hail of this size is potentially very damaging to your roof. 

1½ inch: Depending on the duration of the storm, the amount of hail, and the speed of the wind, this size hail is almost certain to cause severe damage to your roof.  

1¾ – 2 Inch: Hail of this size can actually penetrate plastic vents, ridge caps and other softer roof components. In combination with high winds, hail in this range can wreak havoc on your roof, causing both cosmetic and less obvious but still serious damage.

2” Inch: If your area suffers a storm that brings hail of this size with it, it’s not a matter of whether you will have damage but rather where the damage is. Because it’s difficult to see all the damage your roof may have sustained with the untrained eye, arrange for a professional roof inspection as soon as possible. 

Some hail damage is immediately noticeable. For example, it’s easy to spot the broken edges on your shingles or shakes. However, be sure to look carefully near your gutters for less obvious signs of high-impact hail damage. Chances are that if hail was heavy enough to dent your gutters or downspouts, it may have caused damage to the surrounding roof. 

When combined with high winds, hail can also cause roofing shakes or shingles to crack, leaving the roof with bare spots. The impact of hail on a roof can shatter the shingle’s surface, causing it to pull away from the underlying mat and exposing the fiberglass. Hail can also fracture the fiberglass mat. Less visible but even more serious, a fractured fiberglass mat seriously compromises the integrity of your roof.

High Winds

High winds can weaken your shingles’ self-seal strip, causing the shingles to blow completely off. Wind damage will often affect the edges of the roof or areas of the roof that have already seen damage/wear. Once it’s ripped off some shingles, it could start a domino effect and pull up other linked shingles.

In addition, high winds, with or without driving rain or hail, often cause more subtle damage to your roof, such as granule loss, punctures, and bruising.

  • Granules are the sandpaper-like outer coating of the shingle. High winds can strip the granules from shingles, exposing the asphalt coating to the elements. This degrades the material’s performance, leading to accelerated aging and poor performance. Severe weather can cause shed granules to pile up in your gutters.
  • Bruising is the soft, spongy area on or around the spot where shingle granules are missing or displaced. It results when the hail has placed enough pressure on the shingles that the fibers within the mat have loosened and have started to come apart. 

Experts in roof evaluation can usually feel divots or indentations in this area that are not apparent to the untrained eye. Because bruising is not outwardly noticeable, you may be tempted to ignore it. However, because bruised areas on your roof are not protected by a thick layer of granules, they are susceptible to future damage from temperature gradations and more.  

Unlike other areas of your home, you can’t always see the damage that may have happened to your roof. Yet staying on top of repairs is critically important to its longevity. Following a severe storm, have your roof inspected—especially if you can see debris on the ground or other telltale signs that some roof damage may have occurred out of sight. 

Remember that even though there is no tried-and-true way to protect your roof from being damaged by heavy rain, hail, or high winds, a well-maintained roof will hold up better against the element than one that has sustained even minor damage in the past. Don’t ignore even the smallest issues—keeping up with relatively small repairs as they occur is far better than having to replace your entire roof prematurely—or risk damage to the contents of your home.