Roof failures or emergencies can be frightening situations, particularly if they take you by surprise and cause significant damage to your home. 

Let’s start off with the good news; the most common cause of a roofing emergency is poor maintenance or upkeep, which (thankfully) means that, provided you keep on top of taking care of your roof, you can significantly reduce the chances that you’ll run into an emergency situation. However, the bad news is that many events that lead to a roof failure or urgent situation are unforeseeable and completely out of our control.

To understand how to best protect yourself from a future roof-related disaster, you first have to know what threats to look out for. Although you might not be able to control storms, ice, or high winds, there are some preventable measures you can take.

Common Causes Of Roofing Emergencies

Delayed Maintenance

Putting off your regular roofing maintenance or delaying the repair of normal wear and tear for your roof might not seem like an emergency, but improper maintenance or delaying minor repairs can cause your roof to reach a point where it fails entirely. This can then easily lead to an emergency situation. Improper maintenance is actually one of the most common causes of a roofing emergency, as when a roof isn’t properly maintained, the build-up of damage can cause the roof to become seriously weakened. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure to keep your roof in good condition and undergo regular maintenance work.

Fallen Tree Limbs

A big storm, unusually high winds, or poor maintenance of any trees surrounding your home could cause a tree limb to fall on your roof. This is a scary situation to be in, and depending on the size of the limb, the damage can range from minor to extremely serious, even causing the complete collapse of part of your roof. 

High Winds

Bad thunderstorms, hurricane conditions, or any type of high winds are a leading cause of severe roof damage. Severe enough storms can tear off shingles, siding, or decking, or even cause major damage to your roof from flying debris. Even worse, many roofing emergencies are caused by a combination of poor maintenance that is made worse by high winds or storm damage.

Poor Installation Practices

Using an inexperienced contractor, trying to cut costs by using inadequate or poorly made materials, or attempting a tricky roofing project by yourself are all reasons why a roof might be installed insufficiently, leading to problems down the line. Poor installation practices can cause minor issues such as small leaks all the way up to major issues that completely compromise the integrity of the roof structure.

Flashing Failures

Roof flashing is a thin material, typically galvanized steel, that is used to direct water away from important areas of the roof (such as chimneys, dormers, and skylights). Damaged flashing could cause water to leak in underneath the shingles and cause water damage to your roof supports. Severe water damage can lead to the need for an emergency repair situation. 

Damage From Hailstorms

Hail may not be all that common, but when it does strike, it can be one of the most damaging forces to a roof. Hail is particularly dangerous if there is already previous damage to the roof, or the roof is poorly maintained. To reduce your chances of a roof failure, keep your roof in good condition, and safely check for any damage that occurs following a hail storm so that it can be addressed in a timely manner before becoming a more serious issue.

Some emergency roof repairs are preventable, but others are simply out of the homeowner’s control. Homeowners should always take care to have proper roof maintenance and practice preventative strategies in order to lessen the chances of a complete roof failure or a harmful situation occurring. If you do experience a roofing emergency, follow best practices to keep yourself and your family safe and immediately reach out to a roofing professional.