It’s summertime in Central Florida, and in a matter of minutes the weather can go from hot and sunny to stormy with the temperature dropping 25 degrees. Extreme weather changes are rough on your roof and, according to Mike Curry of Curry’s Roofing, most homeowner’s have no idea until it’s too late.
Curry says, “The hot temperatures on the roof cause shingles and flashing to expand, and with an afternoon thunderstorm there is sudden cooling, which creates contraction. This continuous expansion and contraction on the roof can create leaks over time.”
The other big factor when it comes to hot temperatures on a roof has to do with poor ventilation. Many homeowners are unaware that a good roof starts with a well-ventilated attic. Ridge and off-ridge vents coupled with soffit and gable louvers are essential in funneling rising hot air out of the attic. Attics that are not well ventilated during the scorching temperatures of summer become skillets for roof shingles. Brittle and curling roof shingles are visual indicators of a poorly ventilated attic.
Hailstorms are a residential roof’s silent killer. Hail typically forms in larger thunderstorms as winds rotate in the upper atmosphere, dropping from thousands of feet above the ground. Hail can form anywhere from the size of a pea up to that of a softball, with most hail being somewhere just under the size of a marble. Hail can structurally damage a fiberglass asphalt shingle roof as well as ding up a metal roof.
Hail damage to a fiberglass asphalt shingle roof usually manifests in a loss of granules from the shingle because the smashing hail will literally detach the protective granules from the asphalt/fiberglass base. According to Curry, homeowners of a hail-damaged roof will “begin to see colored roofing granules in gutters and where water runs off the roof.”
Hail damage is a silent roof-killer because the granule loss may continue for months before being noticed. By the time it is discovered by the homeowner, it may be too late or contentious to file an insurance claim. For example, in early June the National Weather Service reported up to marble-size hail occurred in some areas from Leesburg to south Lake County.
Most roofs looked just fine after the storm, but how many were structurally damaged by hail stones plummeting thousands of feet from the sky? Curry suggests that homeowners always have a state-certified roofing contractor inspect their roof for damage after a hail storm.
A straight-line wind burst during a thunderstorm can structurally damage shingles and send poorly installed shingles flying through the air. In most cases, the biggest problem with wind is a tree limb crashing down on a roof creating actual holes in the roof. Before summer begins, homeowners should cut all tree limbs back and away from the roof.
Central Florida’s harsh climate is also rough on metal roofing with paint fading as well as leaks from striking objects or piled-up leaves. The same heat-related expansion and contraction issue can cause screws to loosen and seals to break, which can lead to leaks.
No other area of the home takes the full brunt of Florida’s extreme weather as does the roof, and a leaking roof is one of the last signs of a failing roof.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Radio Show heard every Monday at noon on My790AM WLBE in Leesburg.