The Primary Problem Areas Of A Roof & How To Inspect Them

The Primary Problem Areas Of A Roof & How To Inspect Them

Key Takeaways:

– You can save your roof by catching problems early on.

– Roof flashing is one of the most common places for roofing problems to occur.

– Roof drains may seem insignificant but can lead to a collapsing roof.

– You should always consult with a roofing contractor when performing an inspection.

Our survival mechanism makes us constantly scan our environment for potential threats. It’s no different when it comes to your home. Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. However, like other areas of the house, the roof also has some vulnerabilities.

At Wilderness Construction, Inc., we know that your home is one of your most significant investments. That’s why we want to help you keep it in tip-top condition by sharing with you the primary problem areas of a roof system and how you can inspect them.

Roof System Problem Areas

The four main areas where roofing problems occur are:

The Flashing

You can usually find roof flashing around roof protrusions such as chimneys and skylights, in valleys, at the roof’s edge, and where the rooftop meets a wall. 

Following are some problems you’re likely to face with your roof flashing.

Damage, holes, or bending.

Weathering is often the cause of damage to your roof flashing, mainly resulting in holes or bent areas. Your best action may be to hire a contractor to replace the affected flashing.

Damage, holes, or bending.

Corrosion or rusting.

Your roof flashing may corrode or rust over time. If you have a galvanized steel roof, look for white powdery areas, which is a sign of corrosion. This will need to be replaced as well.

Loose or missing nails.

When the flashing in your roof is loose, it can cause water to enter your home and damage the structure and interior. Make sure to check for any missing or loose nails and have them replaced as soon as possible.

Dried out or missing sealant.

You heard it right. The sealant is not merely for looks. It’s also there to prevent water from seeping through cracks and crevices.

Loose Flashing.

You can detect loose flashing through stained or cracked caulking. A trusted roofing contractor can help you fix the structure to its original condition.

The Roofing Membrane

Membrane roof systems are composed of multiple layers of material that work together to protect your home. The most mainstream membrane roofing is built-up roofing, consisting of alternating bitumen and fabric layers bonded with hot-mopping asphalt or cold-process adhesive.

Some problems with roof membranes are:

Seam failure:

Roofing membrane can become brittle and cracked over time, leading to seam failure. This can be a specific problem in areas that experience extreme weather conditions, such as cold winters or hot summers.

Attachment failure

Wind uplift can cause the roofing membrane to detach from the underlying structure, leading to leaks. Your roofing contractor can reattach the membrane or replace it entirely, depending on the extent of the damage.

Punctures and tears:

Punctures and tears can occur in the roofing membrane due to debris, high winds, or other causes. These can be repaired by patching the affected area with a new piece of roofing material.


Lack of adhesion or loss of volatile solvents in the roofing membrane can cause blisters to form. These can be repaired by puncturing the blister and applying a patch. If the blister is small and seems negligible, you can also ignore it.

The Roof Drain

A roof’s drainage system is critical in ensuring that water does not accumulate on the roof and cause leaks. A well-functioning roof drain will have a clean, unobstructed path for water flow.

Some common problems with roof drains are:

Accumulation of debris

When leaves, dust, twigs, and other material accumulate on your roof, they can block your roof drains. A proper cleanup routine is mandatory to prevent this from happening. However, suppose you feel the blockage has worsened and cannot remove it alone. In that case, you should consider calling a professional roofing contractor.

Water backing up

Another common issue with roof drains is water backing up. This happens when the drain cannot handle the amount of water that is trying to flow through it. Such problems are more common during excessive rain or the spring thaw.

Snow and ice

Clearing your roof of snow or ice in excessively colder regions with continuous snowfall is essential. If you don’t, the ice can get stuck in your drain and cause water to back up.

Improper installation

If you’re noticing any of these problems with your roof drains, it might be due to incorrect installation. This is why you must consult a professional roofing contractor when you have any work done on your roof.

The Gutters and Downspouts

The gutters and downspouts are mainly designed to control water flow away from your roof and house. The main problem you’ll likely face with these channels is a leak or blockage.

You can face mold, mildew growth, and wood rot due to a constantly leaking roof. The problems are more or less similar to roof drain issues, where your entire roof system can be at risk if the problem is not fixed in time.

To prevent any further damage, it’s essential to regularly inspect your gutters and downspouts for any leaks or blockages. You can do this with the help of a hose and running water through the system.

Ending Note:

By inspecting your roof system, you can catch any potential problems before they become more extensive (and more expensive) issues. The best way to check your roof is to have a professional do it for you, but if you’re feeling adventurous, there are ways to do it yourself. Keep an eye out for these primary problem areas, and remember that prevention is key to maintaining your roof!

In professional service, you can trust Wilderness Construction, Inc., serving Ann Arbor, MI, to help you with all of your roofing needs!

Get a free quote now.