The Ultimate Breakdown Of Common Roof Problems

The primary purpose of a house’s roof is to protect it from the elements like rain, snow, sun, etc.

But as our demands as consumers start to rise, the secondary purposes of roofs are slowly catching up to the level of importance associated with its’ primary purposes.

Some secondary purposes include:

  • Design
  • Incorporating energy efficient systems like solar panels
  • Protection from falling objects
  • etc

It must be noted that even though insulation is critical to any home, the traditional role of the roof was never intended to stop the cold from entering or keeping the warmth inside the home.

This is because conventional roofing material and they way they are built make them pool insulators.

Here are more common roof problems for all types of roofs. It is then followed by problems unique to pitched and flat roofs.


The first thing that every homeowner always think about when reviewing a roof is whether it’s leaking.

This is understandable as water leaking from the roof and ceiling don’t just cause great inconvenience to the household members, they can also be very destruction to the house itself.

Unless there is a hole in the ceiling or huge crack on the roof, the source of leakages are often not easy to spot.

The source of leaks are most often found in joints, material and structural intersections, and seams.

Most of the time leaks come from minor cracks found in the areas listed above and can be easily patched and fixed.

However, unethical roofers might recommend a full replacement of shingles to fix a small problem.

Erosion of granular material

Since asphalt is the most common material for roofs, especially pitched roofs with shingles, granular material should be a concern for homeowners.

These are stone or gravel surface finishing that protects asphalt shingles from the harmful solar sunrays.

The faster this granular material is lost, the faster the roofing material deteriorates. And the faster failure of the roof occurs.

This erosion can be caused by wind, water, defects in material, etc. And can occur on both flat and sloped rooftops.


Damage usually occur from two main causes.

  1. Impact from foreign objects
  2. Corrosion or bad workmanship

Foreign objects can come from falling tree branches, animals such as birds and raccoons, debris from the wind, etc.

The thing is that when we don’t see things hitting the roof with our naked eye, we don’t think that it is under any stress from the weather or the elements.

However, even sand carried by the wind can be constantly pounding the roof.

Together with water and moisture in the atmosphere, it can easily cause significant damage to a roof if it’s not well protected.

This is why the most common damage to roofs are:

  • Splits
  • Cracks
  • Components coming loose
  • Even parts of the roof that goes completely missing
  • etc

For safety reasons and general peace of mind, it is best to consult a professional roofer for advice when more than 10% of the roof is observed to be damaged.

He might then suggest a a total replacement of the roof covering.


Blistering on roofs are common due to climate changes.

However, it can often be diagnosed as benign by homeowners, essentially kicking the can down the road.

While they are indeed often benign and don’t cause huge problems except to aesthetics, extended presence of them can eventually lead to leaks as well.

This is because the primary reason for blisters to form is due to moisture trapped within the roof membrane.

And eventually moisture seeps right through the roofing material and leaks break out.

Excessive layering

One might feel that the more layers of tiles a roof has, the more protection it offers the house below.

This is simply not true. And encouraging it is a grave mistake.

The truth is that the more layers a roof has, the higher the likelihood that moisture will be trapped within the layers.

This is a death wish for the roof.

While a homeowner might find it more economical to install a new layer of roof over the old one to save money from the labor-intensive job of stripping the latter, such configuration can negatively impact the lifespan of the new roof.

Homeowners have to weigh up the pros and cons carefully.

The ideal course of action is always a full replacement when a new roof is necessary.


Homeowners must be wary that every contractor will claim to have great workmanship.

But cheap service providers almost always cause huge disappointments. They are cheap for a reason.

Even the most minor installation oversights can lead to premature failure of the structure itself.

These include small defects like:

  • Unfastened screws
  • Bad alignment
  • Exposed steel
  • Incorrect or inferior material
  • etc

It might be too late to fix a problem regarding poor workmanship when it is discovered. So the best course of action is to prevent it in the first place with keen and regular inspection.

Defective material

Even with the best workmanship money can buy, it counts for very little when defective material is used.

This has become a common occurrence when material sourced from overseas factories comes with manufacturing defects.

Common manufacturing defects include:

  • Blisters
  • Warps
  • Aged material due to old inventory
  • Damaged goods
  • etc

The problem with this is that a homeowner never really realizes it until some time into the future as the roof fails prematurely.

Old material

One of the certainties in building material is that they eventual get worn out and don’t do a good job at what it’s supposed to do anymore.

Asphalt and wood especially. They can get old pretty fast when not properly protected.

Even when they are protected, aging materials will eventually be compromised. Resulting in defects that require repairs.


Flashings are found in may areas all over the roof to keep water out.

The common problems with them often arise from either bad application due to bad workmanship, or inferior substance being used.

Extreme cases can lead to leaks.

Pitched roofs

Pitched roofs, or sloped roofs, have a unique problem that don’t exist on flat roofs.

And that is ice damming.

This phenomena occurs due to ice and snow piling up on the roof, especially at the eaves.

As melting snow travels downwards from the top, they are stopped on it’s tracks by frozen snow formed at the eaves.

Water will then leak into the interior via the opening at the eaves.

Flat roofs

As with sloped roofs, flat roofs also present their own set of unique problems.

The first of which is water ponding.

This basically refers to the collection of water on top of the roof as there is no proper drainage.

This is why flat roofs should never be built totally flat. And if they are, the builder should put systems in place to ensure that there is proper drainage.

A collection of water on top of the house is never a good situation to be in.

This is because water will be constantly be pulled down by gravity, actively helping it to find an outlet to seep into the house.

A second unique flat roof problem is wrinkling.

Wrinkling can be caused by:

  • Constant expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes
  • Moisture trapped underneathe
  • Defective material
  • Poor workmanship
  • etc

They can be a real eyesore.

And when seam open up revealing slits on the surface of roofing material, it can eventually lead to leaks.