Central Texas Weather and Your Roof
Storm Guard of Austin
The weather in Central Texas can bring it all - intense heat, severe storms, tornados and even hail. Your roof needs to withstand all these elements, but sometimes Mother Nature is just too much.
If severe weather damages your Austin home’s roof, it’s important to repair or replace it quickly. Vulnerable roofs are prone to leaks and other issues that can escalate and cause further damage to more areas of your house.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the ways weather can wreak havoc on your roof and what you can do preventively (and reactively) to fix any issues caused by the weather. We’ll cover the following weather scenarios we commonly experience here in Central Texas:
- High winds and tornadoes
- Sun, heat and humidity
- Leaves (yes, these can cause problems to your roof, too)
Let’s get started.
How Severe Weather Can Damage Your Roof
Severe weather comes in many forms, but commonly the biggest problem-children for roofs in Austin are wind, rain and hail - or a combination of all three.
How High Winds Impact Your Roof
High winds can rip off shingles and tear off tree limbs, which can easily become projectiles headed straight for your roof. One fallen tree limb can puncture your roof entirely and leave it exposed to rain. And that’s just during a strong wind event. There are also tornadoes to worry about.
Though generally less frequent than other weather events, these stealthy storms come in fast and hit hard. Tornadoes can rip off your roof with the same ease that it takes for you to lift a blanket over your bed. They can also down trees, power lines and cause other structural issues.
If your home has been in the path of a storm, it’s always a good idea to get your roof professionally inspected once the dust settles. Even if there aren’t any signs of obvious or significant damage, strong winds and heavy rains can leave your roof weakened. Over time, this can become increasingly problematic.
In nearly all instances, it is far cheaper to repair your existing roof preventively than it is to wait until you’re left with no other choice but to replace it.
Your Roof and the Rain
Water is any homeowner's enemy, and a leaky or exposed roof provides an all-too-convenient path for water to enter your home. Insulation can quickly get saturated and soon you’ll be staring down another kind of opponent - mold.
Heavy or frequent rains can make it difficult for your roof to keep up. If puddles being to pool on your roof and aren’t able to flow out and away from your home, it can lead to water damage on your roof, in your attic or ceilings. It can also cause problems for your foundation.
Moreover, if you have any weaknesses on your roof - whether it’s in the flashing, shingles, or gutters, water will find and expose those weaknesses. Unfortunately, you may not notice any warning signs until you’re already faced with a significant issue.
Keeping up with roof maintenance is the easiest, cheapest and overall best way to keep your roof strong and performing at its peak during rain events. It’s also the best way to prolong the life of your roof, and it will be the cheapest option by far in terms of your overall roofing costs.
How to Know if Hail Has Damaged Your Roof
Whether as small as a pebble or large as a baseball, punishing hail can beat down on a roof and leave it weakened (at best) or in need of a full replacement (at worst). If you are concerned your roof has been damaged by hail, here are a few signs to look for:
- Dents and dings on your roof as well as in other places like your gutters, siding, windowsills, air conditioner and other outdoor items
- Granule loss on your asphalt shingles - while some missing granules may not seem like a big deal (it’s not a hole, after all!), this type of damage can accelerate the aging process of your shingles and should be promptly repaired
- Cracks in your shingles
- Loose shingles or any exposed roof surface
- Weakened seals which are essential for securing shingles to your roof
- Black-colored dots on your shingles
Significant hail damage is generally fairly obvious even from the ground, but it’s best to contact a roofer to professionally inspect the damage from above. If you experience hail damage to your roof, give our team at Storm Guard of SW Austin a call to help you assess if you need to repair or replace your roof.
Best Ways to Strengthen Your Roof for Storms
Because we can’t escape the weather, it’s important that we do everything we can to put up our best lines of defense to protect our roof (and, in turn, our families inside the home).
Here are some maintenance checks you should routinely do on your home so you can spot any roof weaknesses before rainwater has a chance to seep in.
- Look at your shingles - If you notice loose or damaged shingles, take action immediately to repair or replace them. A few damaged shingles can easily turn into several damaged shingles, and if they are loose, they will be an easy target for strong winds.
- Check your flashing - This is the material used on the seams and joints of your roof. When flashing is damaged, water can seep in and begin to cause problems with your insulation and elsewhere inside your home. Flashing is not meant to last forever, and it becomes especially susceptible to damage in sun-drenched areas like Central Texas. Call in a professional to help reinforce any deteriorating flashing.
- Get your gutters in order - Your gutters and downspouts do the important work of carrying rainwater out and away from your home. If you have leaks, water won’t go where it’s supposed to and you could end up with water damage in your home.
- Examine your yard - Protecting your roof also means making sure your yard is in good shape. Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed. If you know a big storm is on the way, tie down or put away lawn furniture and take a close look around for any other items that could easily cause roof damage or become a projectile in a storm.
Storms are unpredictable, but one thing that is in your control is the maintenance you do to your roof. Call us at Storm Guard of SW Austin for your routine roof inspection and help reinforcing your roof for storm season.
The Impact of Sun, Heat and Humidity on Your Roof
Even the most durable and weather-resistant roofing products won’t last forever in a climate like ours here in Central Texas. The sun is powerfully unforgiving, and we’ve all seen what it can do to our gardens (and our skin!). That same force beats down on our roofs, too.
Over time, repeated exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can make shingles crack, become brittle and cause other damage to your roof. Moreover, as the temperatures change from daytime highs to overnight lows, roofing materials expand and contract. Though hardly noticeable to us, this slight shifting of materials does slowly wear down your once-strong roofing materials.
How to Combat Heat and Humidity’s Effect on Your Roof
In Austin, heat and humidity combine for a double-whammy hit to our roofs. Too much heat or too much moisture can reduce the lifespan of your roof and lead to water damage if excess moisture accumulates.
The more frequently our roofs are exposed to intense weather conditions, the more quickly they wear out if they aren’t maintained and repaired at the first signs of a problem.
One solution to battling heat and humidity is to insist on quality waterproof roofing materials. A lot of materials claim to be waterproof, but when actually put to the test, they just don’t cut the mustard compared to higher quality products.
It’s also important to make sure your home is well insulated and ventilated. Insulation will help your home retain a consistent temperature and minimize moisture accumulation. Ventilation allows your home to breathe and prevents it from becoming too hot. Property ventilation in your roof can also extend the life of your roof.
As you consider your roof’s age and condition, be sure to factor in all the weather impacts it must withstand. Routinely evaluating its weak points, especially near seams and the part of your roof that’s most exposed to the sun, is helpful for spotting problems before they morph into major expenses.
Think Leaves Won’t Damage Your Roof? Think Again.
Our last weather topic to discuss is less about the day-to-day weather we encounter and more about seasonal changes that can impact our roof. It’s leaves.
When we think of leaves, we think of big piles in our yard perfect for the kids - and kids-at-heart - to jump in. We don’t necessarily think about the ways in which they can damage our roofs.
But they can.
If leaves sit on your roof for extended periods of time, they can begin to cause serious problems.
One of the biggest problems is excess moisture that forms under the leaves, especially if they are clumped or piled together. Even though fall is less hot and humid than summer, moisture will still accumulate on your roof. Add any rainfall to the mix, and you could start to see rotting near the leaves and under the shingles much more quickly.
Here are a couple remedies for keeping leaves off your roof:
- Trim nearby tree branches regularly - this will help to both keep more leaves off your roof as well as allow more sunlight to help dry up any roof moisture.
- Keep your roof clear - hire a professional or very carefully and safely climb on your roof and clear away any leaf piles.
- Clean your gutters - gutters that are clogged with leaves and debris will prevent them from doing their job of carrying away rainwater.
Leaves seem so light and free. It’s hard to imagine them damaging your roof, but they can if they’re left unattended. Stay on top of your fall yard and roof maintenance to keep your roof in tip-top shape, especially as you head into the winter months.
If you’re concerned about your roof holding up in Austin’s weather, please get in touch with us right away at Storm Guard. A quick roof repair might be all it takes to keep your roof doing what it does best - keeping you safe and dry - and most definitely without a middle-of-the-night water emergency.