You know that the elements, from wind to rain and hail to snow, can wreak unthinkable damage to your roof, but there are other, less obvious means of destruction that are equally or more costly and nonetheless apt to cause you, the homeowner, a severe and prolonged migraine. Do you know them? More importantly, do you know if your home is at risk?
When humidity is high, the air is dense with water molecules and, unfortunately, those molecules can be very damaging once they reach the attic. The higher the relative humidity, the more water there is in the air to be absorbed by surrounding materials, such as wood, drywall or the oriented strand board that most roof decking is made of.
The key to lowering humidity is to maintain an even, comfortable temperature throughout the home and, thus, prevent the thick and sticky air from rising. Open more windows and install ceiling fans to control the movement of air, both to keep occupants more comfortable and to prevent humidity from invading the areas immediately under your roof.
Even a temperature-controlled structure faces moisture issues, beginning with the bathroom and laundry room. Since the moist, hot air involved with taking a shower or drying your clothes rises, it's headed to the attic, where it will cling to every surface, eventually creating a moldy mess. The flow of air carries little spores of budding mold, which attach to walls, ceilings and floors, breeding the black, spotted and often dangerous fungus that lead to rot.
Although fiberglass insulation would logically be impervious to mold growth, the dirt that accumulates on it becomes the perfect habitat for living organisms. Cellulose insulation (the blown-in type) is usually chemically treated to prevent this destructive sequence of events from unfolding; however, moisture in the attic resides on the outside of the insulation, nesting closely to the wood, which is susceptible to growth and rot. This means that all the moisture created within the home or apartment must vacate the structure long before nearing the attic, lest the mold growth ensue.
The flow of air in the attic (or knee wall, crawl space or other room closest to the roof) should be controlled in much the same way a conductor directs musicians in an orchestra. Beginning with the soffit vents, outside air is drawn in to the baffle (vents), where it's channeled up and out via a ridge vent, usually located at the apex or top of the roof.
The different vent parts gather and move air at a certain tempo, creating a harmonious (and effective) flow of air. When this process is compromised, the roof might fall completely apart.
Calamitously Cut Corners
While it's never a good thing to be too hard on yourself, it's important to realize the limitations of your own knowledge. Many homeowners, especially those who have apartment buildings to rent, run and repair, think that the DIY method of roofing is best and try to cut corners; however, while it will likely save you money in the short term, it could really cost you down the road. A healthy roof involves many components, far beyond the materials used to put one together. There's physics, engineering and even meteorology involved, which is why a professional roofer should, at the very least, be consulted before any repairs or modifications are undertaken.
Although ignorance may be bliss in some cases, when it comes to your roof, knowledge truly is power: the power to prevent the damage to your roof that leads to leaks, headaches and bankrupting repairs. Whether you need a new roof now or are looking to avoid a replacement in the future, knowing every element of danger your roof faces is key, and a roofer can lend some serious help, especially in the areas of prevention.
To learn more, contact a resource like JCB Roofing.