The Impact Of Improper Drainage On A Roof

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Fixing a damaged roof is something every homeowner wants to avoid unless somebody else is fronting the bill. During the terrible hurricane season of 2005 in the Atlantic, many Southeastern homeowners were excited about the opportunities for a new roof without insurance companies jacking up premium rates. Hurricanes such as Rita, Katrina, and Wilma struck the area after previous recent seasons plagued the Southeast over a two-year span. These opportunities for home renovations were justified, but damage occurring from improper drainage of roof structures throughout a normal weather cycle is one of the most common home repair projects, especially in low-income communities in coastal towns and cities.

Roof repairs are undoubtedly a significant expense for homeowners and are caused by a different arrangement of factors. Sometimes repairs are needed due to improper installation or unforeseen moisture from the external environment. Regardless of how your roof receives damage, repairs are eminent if improper drainage is the source of your problem – the issue of water retention is a serious problem. Below are a few negative impacts of improper drainage on roofing structures.

5 Impacts of Improper Drainage

Roof Leakage and Moisture Build-Up 

Without the proper drainage of a roofing structure, water and particle matter build-up is eminent, particularly during the winter months with snow loads and tree shedding. Many industry professionals claim that if you have a roof leak, you’ve got a serious problem that needs addressing. A similar situation would be car repairs – it is not until the transmission falls out of the car that car-owners decided it is time for a new transmission. When the roof starts leaking and you see spots on the ceiling, it may be too late. Leaks result when water infiltrates roof membranes when seams are poorly intact. Particularly with single-ply membrane roofs, leaking and water damage is highly likely over time due to the thinness of protection. Many low-income housing projects include single-ply membrane roofs for cost-efficiency, but over time increases the maintenance costs. In addition, many homes within the Southern United States have moisture build-up due to the external weather conditions. During the winter months in southern states, high humidity and temperature fluctuations cause condensation on roofing structures, and improper drainage can promote sitting water. When water sits within a designated area for too long, condensation will occur.

Reduced Strength & Uplift Resistance 

Poorly drained roofs will cause strength reduction due to saturation and mold growth. If you get on top of your roof and see mold growth or areas of softness, you may be in trouble during the next wind storm. Water saturation within a concentrated area can reduced puncture resistance and ultimately cause blow-offs, as the flashing will begin to detach from the structure causing tenting. When the membrane is damaged, repair or replacement will be needed.

Cracking Due to Shrinkage 

The combination of water ponding and UV rays cause material properties to shrink over time. The consistent wetting and drying of the material will cause contracting, particularly in hot climates with tropical weather patterns. Compare your roof to your laundry for a moment – What causes your clothes to shrink? The combination of water and overheating during the drying stage is a major cause of shrinking when cleaning clothes – the same concept is apparent with roofing structures. The pulling of roof flashing due to shrinkage of the field membrane is a major result of improper drainage and water ponding on a roof mixed with heat. This will lead to deterioration and water penetration into the house. In addition, cracking will occur around the perimeter and seams of the roof, ultimately leading to strength degradation and structural failure.

If you investigate your roof or see signs of water spotting on the ceiling, call a roof repair company and set up a consultation with professionals. Identifying a problem early and taking action for minimal costs may save you thousands of dollars in the future.

Matthew Hall is a blogger specializing in home improvement and home care topics, and is well aware of how things people often disregard can result in massive damage. For those who realize they have poor drainage and need help, he recommends turning to ReRoof USA for assistance. You can learn more about Matthew on Google+.

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