These enemies of a roof can take a toll on your housetop

Consider the life of a roof. The structure that keeps your home dry and cozy takes a beating over the course of a year, every year. Among the dangers it can face, all of which contribute to eventual deterioration, are these five factors:

The Elements

Here’s a factor for every roof, no matter where it is. The sun’s baking rays slowly degrade roofing materials, while wind, rain and hail sometimes cause immediate injury. Snowy climates offer special challenges, from the sheer weight of snow buildup to ice dams that break gutters and foster leaks. The more extreme conditions are in an area, generally or in any given year, the more need for constant vigilance to spot small problems that could easily become large ones later on.


If the temperature in an attic is not close enough to the temperature outside, condensation can occur, promoting rot of the sheathing underneath shingles and of rafters. Proper attic ventilation often solves the problem.

Moss and Algae

In many regions, too much shade and too little sun promote the growth of moss and staining algae. Left alone, moss creates a perfect environment for moisture buildup under shingles, according to roofing specialists, and trapped moisture increases the chance of wood rot. Meanwhile, algae’s dark stains can affect a roof’s reflective.


A much-loved source of shade and beauty in most contexts, trees over a roof can be problematic — dumping leaves in gutters, dropping heavy branches and, if not properly trimmed, scratching away at a roof’s surface. Trees also offer little critters a way up and onto a home. Once they’re up, an attic looks awfully inviting.


Overhead shouldn’t mean out of sight and out of mind. Regular inspections and quick attention to problems will help any roof live a long and useful life.

Quick Tip

Don’t forget the gutters

Gutters packed with leaves, pine needles and other debris can’t work right. Instead of channeling water away from the house, clogged gutters stop water and allow it to back up onto a roof, often causing leaks. For ongoing roof protection, gutters should be cleaned regularly, twice a year in most areas.

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