A couple of months ago one of our workers told us about a shingle he found in his driveway after a windy day. Since his shingles look like most of the others in his neighborhood, and since he knows roofs, he got up on his roof and took a look around. He knew that he shouldn’t be having any problems, because, since he’s in the industry, he keeps his roof in pretty good shape.

While he was up there, he took a look across to neighbouring roofs. Theirs didn’t look nearly as good as his. In fact, he was pretty sure he could tell exactly where the shingle in his hands came off from his neighbor’s roof, thanks to the the look of the new “wound” in the shingles. In addition, there were quite a few other problems with his neighbor’s roof.

So he approached his neighbor, handed him the shingle, and said “you’ll probably want to get that fixed as soon as possible. You could have a lot of problems if you don’t, or invite some new ones.”

Fast forward two months and his neighbor still hasn’t done anything to fix that unshingled part of their roof, or fixed any of the other problems either. That’s not a good idea. Here are some of the problems you might have if you put off roof repairs or roof replacement for too long.

Water Problems

The most obvious problem that can arise from missing shingles or an otherwise damaged roof is water damage. The shingles are there for a reason, because they’re the first level of protection against the elements. Once that heavy-duty layer of protection is stripped away, the weather can start working on the parts that aren’t supposed to see the light of day. While the exposed waterproofing paper might do well against incidental water that gets blown up under the shingles, it’s not meant to suffer the wind, snow, ice, and especially UV rays that it will be subjected to when a shingle is missing. Even worse, one missing shingle gives the water even more places to attack, as the water can now run under lower shingles.

So, why is it so important to prevent water from getting into your house? Rot is one, as the water can cause the wood underneath to rot and become warped or weak, compromising the structural integrity of the roof. While a sheet of plywood decking might be easy to replace, the two-by-fours that support your roof are much harder to fix. It’s also important to remember how interconnected parts of your home are. Once the water gets into the walls, it can get anywhere in the house, even down to the basement.

If the water gets even further down, you’re going to start having even more problems. While you might not care if your insulation gets wet (you should; more on that in a moment), you’ll certainly care when stains start showing up on your ceiling.

Fire Hazard

How can a leaky roof lead to a fire that consumes your entire home? Well, once you remember that fire and electricity don’t mix, you’ll understand why it’s so important to get that roof repair taken care of. Once the water gets through your roof, it might leak onto top parts of the electric appliances that are sticking through your ceiling, such as lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, and smoke detectors. These powered pieces are often supported by beams in the ceiling, wooden beams that are quite flammable

It’s a Health Risk

Water isn’t the only thing that you have to worry about getting into your home when the room starts to rot. While squirrels may be cute, you certainly don’t want them living in our attic. They might chew wires, and they’re certainly going to leave their dropping all over the place. Other rodent’s feces is even worse, especially if someone in your family is allergic. And let’s not even talk about raccoons and bats, which are the two most common carriers of rabies in the United States.

Of course, bees and wasps are another big problem. They’re always looking for small holes that lead to well-hidden places so that they can build nests; a roof hole doesn’t even have to get very bad before you start inviting the stinging insects in.

But the worst thing that can invite into your house when you have a leaky roof is one that can’t be grabbed with an animal control noose: mold. This fungus thrives in wet areas, such as attics that have holes in the roof. From there it reproduces, moving everywhere it can find moisture and putting out more spores into the air. It’s one of the greatest threats to people who have breathing problems, and the fact that that a house is an enclosed space just makes it worse.

While mildew can be scrubbed off and isn’t much of a problem, mold is a big problem that requires professional remediation. At that point, you’re not just dealing with the cost of a new roof, new decking, and new rafter beams…you’ll also have to pay hundreds for mold remediation.

It Hurts Your Home’s Value

Even if you don’t care about the leaking roof, the yellow ceiling in the bathroom, or the moldy rafters, the person who’s buying the house from you most certainly does. You could put off those roof repairs and deal with the myriad of problems that show up, or you could get a roofer to come and fix it, keeping your house in much better condition. And you can’t hide the problem; in most states, real estate agents must tell potential buyers that there is mold in a house.

When it comes right down to you, it’s like most problems: and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The $200 it costs to hire a roofing contractor now could save you literally tens of thousands of dollars down the line. Don’t put off that call when you see a missing spot in your shingles. Contact Bluebird Construction and get that problem taken care of!