• Home Exteriors of Michigan

Is your roof bad? Don't ignore these warning signs, it could cost thousands...

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

How do you know when your roof is in need of replacement? What are the warning signs? And what causes roofs to break down over time? Your roof sends you warning signs if you know how to read them. It could save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs. Here are a few signs to watch out for.

black streaks on roof shingles
Streaking is never cool, especially when your roof is doing it!

Black or other color streaks can be an early sign of failure

This is a picture from, which is a great product for removing mold and mildew around your home. Black streaks can be harmless on your roof if you keep after cleaning the roof annually, however streaking can be an early sign that the shingles are breaking down. The reason streaking occurs is simple. As the shingles start to break down, they start to absorb moisture. As this happens, algae and other fungal growth can occur in this environment. While it's a good idea to spray the shingles down with a product like Wet and Forget, it's also a good idea to have your roof inspected at least annually by a certified professional inspector or competent person, because streaking is an early indicator the roof may be starting to fail. If you end up replacing your roof, make sure whoever replaces it uses a shingle with a stain blocker such as a copper additive, (we prefer Certainteed Landmark Pro, they have a great additive and subsequent warranty). This will help prevent this condition from occurring on your new roof.

Cupping shingles

Cupping/failing shingles
Shingles shouldn't resemble bacon!

This roof is only 8 years old!! Seriously, I just took a picture of it in Redford this morning 9/02/20 and the roof was replaced in 2012. When shingles are cupping like this, the roof is failing and in need of replacement. Do not ignore this warning sign! When you see this condition have an expert out to evaluate it.

So why has this happening? In one word- VENTILATION! The biggest problem we see in Michigan with both premature roof failure and things like fungal growth in the attic, is roof ventilation. Or the lack of it. When the attic becomes over-heated this causes the roofing materials to prematurely break down. We see wild temperature swings in Michigan, and when attic temps exceed 125 degrees in the summer and plummet well below zero in the winter, this causes excessive expansion and contraction on your roof materials. It's kind of like a lot of Michigan roads. They contain asphalt too, so the next time you hit a pot hole on Mound Rd, remember what caused it!

The problem with this roof specifically is the design of the home. The last roofer installed can vents at the top of the roof to let the heat escape... but one major problem; there is no cool air coming into the attic, which means the can vent has nothing to exhaust. Most roofers install a ridge vent at the peak,but this still has the same issue. Its kind of like putting your finger over the end of a straw, what happens if you suck on the other end? the straw collapses. the same thing happens here except the heat is just allowed to build up in the attic. So make sure whoever replaces your roof tackles both INTAKE and EXHAUST VENTILATION. If not, imagine being like this homeowner having to replace the roof again in just 8 years!

So how do you get intake ventilation if the home doesn't have adequate soffit vents? How do you know the roofer added or will add enough ventilation? Well, the first thing you need to do is ask! Ask the roofer about intake ventilation, and how they will ensure it is adequate to satisfy the manufacturer specifications. (By the way, most roofing companies will void their warranty if there is improper ventilation, so this is really important). Roofing ventilation can be a bit tricky to calculate, especially on a large, complex home. But if you want to check for yourself: Here is a tool from GAF that makes it easy.

If the home doesn't have soffit vents or it's impractical to install them, there is a patented way to get proper ventilation on any home! its called Smart Vent. It installs directly into the roofing system, ensuring your roof will have exactly the correct amount of ventilation needed to perform correctly, and when combined with the right materials, lasts a lifetime (50 years), as it should. We also install a full ridge vent to exhaust the space.

Overheating causes cupping, Cupping/lifted shingles lead to shingles being blown off.

seven year old roofing shingles with granule loss
Granule loss happens due to overheating

Granule loss is natural with any asphalt roof, however when it becomes excessive, you will see it in your gutters and the roof will become discolored. This is a sign you should watch out for if this condition is occurring, be sure to have it examined by a competent person.

It's not just the outside! Roofs can look 100% OK from the outside, but have massive issues on the inside. Roofing issues can effect both the inside and outside of the home, a bad roof can even cause health issues.

mold in the attic due to bad roof
The fungus among us!

attic fungal growth
Fungal Growth on roof deck

bad roof cat eyes
It's raining inside.

Check your attic, or have an expert inspect it.

Every roofer should inspect your attic when evaluating your roof. Even if the roof looks good on the outside, mold and fungal growth can be happening on the inside. Imagine having this in your attic. Believe it or not, this is a very common problem, no matter the age of the home. Why? As houses have become more efficient, they trap more moisture. Eventually the moisture ends up in the attic, and if conditions are right, fungus and mold can grow. This can pose a serious health problem for your family. Even a brand new roof installed with the wrong materials and lack of ventilation can have these issues. Make sure whoever installs your roof uses the proper breathable underlayments in combination with proper ventilation. Fungal growth and mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars, but they are easy to avoid. Old roofing material such as tar paper traps moisture and will not let is escape. In addition to proper ventilation, we install breathable underlaymenst. This, in combination with proper intake and exhaust ventilation, helps ensure your home will function properly. Make sure whoever you have install your roof, installs a breathable underlayment to help prevent this issue.

These are just a few of the most common roof problems. If you see any of these issues, it's a good idea to have a competent professional evaluate your home. Problems in your home don't get better over time, and the longer you let them go on the more its going to cost. We offer a free evaluation as well as a no obligation estimate that's good for a full year. Home Exteriors of Michigan would be more than happy to evaluate your home for free, give us a call today 1-855-255-0606.

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