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PREMATURELY AGING ROOFS IN TEXAS

As a Texas resident or property owner, you may have noticed while driving over your neighborhood or other areas in Texas a huge number of old looking shingle roofs that look deteriorated, stained and with deficiencies. This problem of prematurely aging roofs and algae growth is simply alarming here in Texas, and it is spreading like wildfire as many of the new homes being built today will follow suit. This problem of shingle roofs aging at an accelerated pace and getting stained with algae is not only affecting the look and appeal of your home and your chances to sell it, but it is also affecting the functionality and efficiency of your roof even when it may not be that old. Although this situation is very visible and has been visible everywhere in Texas for many years now, it seems like nobody is paying attention or doing anything to resolve it.

When so many roofs next to each other in a community are looking prematurely aged and stained with algae as we see everywhere in Texas, these may give an impression that the homeowners may not care, may not worry about property values, and perhaps are not willing to do anything until leaks and damages start showing inside their homes. The ugly dark stains and outdated roof fixtures that is ruining the good appeal of so many homes and communities here in Texas are even more visible in bigger houses and in steeper roofs. Only recently built subdivisions have shiny looking roofs and it usually takes just a couple of years for the stains to build up and the problems to come. This situation of prematurely aging roofs and algae growth is also hurting realtors who may be trying to help you sell your home as the poor appearance of the roof becomes a red flag to any potential buyers, decreasing the chances to sell the property for a good price.

It is hard to believe that with so many professionals and contractors that can help tackle this huge overwhelming problem of prematurely aging roofs, this problem has existed for so long and has not been properly addressed still today. In our opinion here are the reasons we believe may be contributing to this lack of action and to this visible problem that has spread throughout our entire state:

1. Unfortunately, shingle roofing information is not common knowledge as so many homeowners of different nationalities living in Houston or Texas may have never owned a home with shingle roofing before. For this reason, many of our multinational Texas communities may not know how to take care of their shingle roofs. In other instances, the language barrier prevents roofers and other professionals from bringing valuable information that can help homeowners do something about this problem as we can’t communicate with them. So many other homeowners that have lived all their lives in Texas or in the US may have experienced storms before and may have replaced the shingles of their roofs after a claim at some point of their lives but may have not learned the functions of the fixtures and systems that a shingle roof has and how to care for them. Another situation that prevent homeowners from restoring or upgrading their roofs is the fact that most homeowners cannot climb their roofs and be able to see the problems that we, the roofers, can see.

Not being able to see these problems by climbing into their roofs also poses another issue as the homeowners cannot also supervise any work being done on their roofs. Not being able to see their roofs or supervise any jobs sets many homeowners in a position to believe that if no leaks are showing inside the home, the roof must be ok, which may not be true. We found that over the years, the options of roof restoration to increase the appeal and efficiency of roofs and to prevent leaks may have not yet been offered to Texas homeowners.

2. Realtors that can also advice homeowners who are selling their properties, may be faced with the situation in which the owners of their listing properties may not have the funds to replace their roofs new or to deal with a large repair job. Subsequently, not much is being done and such houses will end up selling at a lower price simply because realtors may have not been yet offered affordable roof restoration and preventive repair options to discuss with their clients.

3. Many Homeowner Association members in many subdivisions of homes with very visible stained and deteriorated roofs may have never received affordable service proposals to clean and restore the roofs in their communities as well.  Repair packages of different prices, with warranties granted on the jobs and with financing available so everyone can afford it may have not been yet offered to Associations in need.

4. Cleaning and Pressure Washing services may be able to help with this problem as they can remove dirt and algae from a roof; however, most of them are not roofing specialists that can also repair and upgrade your roofing fixtures and systems. Some pressure washing companies may not be aware that shingle roof cleaning requires a soft application since the use of high-water pressure too close and directly on the shingles may be damaging to the roof.

5. Unfortunately, most Roofing Companies that can handle this problem, do not offer roof cleaning services. Most of them are mostly dedicated to chase storms or focusing on giving estimates for full roof replacements and repairs or in already existing leaks that customers call in. The concept of Roof Restoration combined with education has been missed and for this reason, so many subdivisions of homes looks very bad and will continue showing deficiencies. As roofers we feel that what is needed to give you peace of mind, a good appeal of your home and an assurance that your roof will handle the next storm, is Roof Restoration, Preventive Repairs, Roofing Upgrades and Roof Cleaning.

The reason that we feel very strongly about many of these points expressed here is because we have not yet found in Houston a community of older or recently built homes in which the majority or all the homes show clean roofs that have been upgraded or restored.

Our company, Affordable Texas Roofing, wants to bring roof aging awareness to the community and affordable roof restoration and preventive repair packages developed specifically to upgrade and restore the look and functionality of your roof for only a fraction of the cost of a new roof.

  We believe that Texas homeowners among other groups are entitled to having this information so they understand and can make an educated decision about their roofs. Here are the causes that we find are making the roofs age too fast, get stains, and show deficiencies and leaks too quickly:

POOR VENTILATION AND OUTDATED LOW QUALITY MATERIALS, SYSTEMS AND FIXTURES PRESENT IN MOST ROOFS

 

   So many recently built houses as well as the older ones here in Texas feature low-cost materials, systems and fixtures that may be outdated or of an inferior quality. When you see houses and shingle roof properties with 20 Yr. shingles, unpainted rubber boot pipe jacks, plastic and metal roof vents, old chimneys, turbines, staples, felt paper, cheap wood, walls without flashings, skylights, flat roofs etc., you can be sure that it will not be long before they start leaking, breaking, rusting or losing proper functionality. Usually little or no upgrades are being done to most roofs since many homeowners are not educated about this problem or they have not seen leaks inside yet. Most roofs have either been repaired for leaks or completely replaced when they were not even that old, just because no other alternatives were offered to the homeowner.

The ventilation of your roof is extremely important as it may either shorten or prolong the life of your roof. Unfortunately, it is quite common to see houses with a large attic and just 1 turbine or 2 turtle vents to allow the hot air to escape the attic. This lack of ventilation creates a bad situation when the shingles of your roof begin to bubble and burst from the intense summer heat applied to both the interior and the exterior of the shingles. Since your shingles are made of asphalt, which is a petroleum product that can bubble with extreme heat, the shiny ceramic granules of the shingles, that is what protects the roof from the sunrays, will be removed little by little when these bubbles pop making your shingles age faster. The extreme summer heat also affects all the other roofing fixtures that have not been painted and for this reason, in order to protect them, they should be painted. To properly ventilate your roof, the right combination of vents must be present in both the lower and the higher parts of your roof. Think about the ventilation of your roof about the same way you breathe. When you inhale, it is the equivalent of your attic also inhaling the fresh air in from the lower soffit vents to the attic. And when you exhale and let your air out, it is the equivalent of when the attic is exhaling the hot air from the top vents of your attic. The combination of both will make your attic cooler, will help you prolong the life of your shingles, will eliminate moisture, will reduce your electric bill and will expand the life of your A/C unit.

Not only you need to make sure that most of the hot air is escaping out of the attic, but you must also make sure that you have enough soffit vents below so fresh air can enter the attic and can push the hot air out. Unfortunately, this problem will also continue affecting many new homes being built today simply because these cheap low-quality roof fixtures, systems and materials are still being used by some developers and builders on numerous homes and properties. In the case of older homes, it is understandable that some of the modern fixtures and systems may have not been available, but for recently built homes, we feel that there is no excuse. It is hard to believe that placement of better fixtures and systems is not happening when the difference in price between the new ones and the old ones may be just a few dollars. Please note that this is the main cause of why so many roofs are aging prematurely here in Texas. A roof that is not properly ventilated will not last long. The same its true about having quality roof fixtures. If they are not present, your roof will leak at some point. Another piece of information that you should know is that in the event of a hail storm, if your roof has lost tons of granules because of poor ventilation, your insurance company may deny your claim stating that because not enough ventilation and granule lost, it is hard now to recognize hail hits when there are not many granules left on your shingles.

SHINGLE MANUFACTURERS HAVE CHANGED THE COMPOSITION OF SHINGLES

This is one fact that many homeowners, realtors among others may not be aware of and that is also contributing for ruining the appeal of your shingle roof. Roofing shingles have transitioned from Organic Shingles containing high concentration of Asphalt (more expensive) to Fiber glass Shingles with a lesser concentration of Asphalt mixed now with Limestone (rocks and shells extracted from the bottom of the sea). Although Fiber glass Shingles are now cheaper to produce, they unfortunately will accelerate algae growth because algae feeds of Limestone. For this reason, those dark algae stains on roofs that you see everywhere will be spreading rapidly, especially when the roofs have humid or shaded areas from trees blocking the sun or other structures close to the house. Due to our climate here in Houston (humid subtropical) and the fact that we are also close to the coast, the possibilities of shingles getting stained by algae are among the highest found in all the states of our country. It is important to know that you cannot claim algae stains on your roof with your insurance company. Insurance companies do not cover for dirt, algae or mold as they categorize them as cosmetic issues rather than damage. Dark algae stains spread over the granules and the roof loses its shine. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the roof shiny and clean to maintain the good appeal of the property.

STORMS, EXTREME WEATHER AND OUR CLIMATE HERE IN TEXAS

 

This one is another cause as of why, so many roofs are aging prematurely. Texas ranks every year among the 1st or one of the top 3 states in the US with more storm insurance claims filed every year. From hail storms to wind storms, tornadoes and hurricanes, we have seen them all as they affect shingle roofs directly. During those heavy winds that usually wind storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and hail storms bring, many of your shingles will get loose, crease if they were already loose or may fly away exposing the nails below where water can sip in. The effects of these high winds may even be more noticeable in 20 Yr. 3-Tab Shingles as this type of shingles can only hold winds up to 60 miles per hour. When the winds from these storms do this to your shingles, the probability of leaks inside your home may be higher if nothing is done about it. The extreme summer heat that we experience every summer also plays a huge role accelerating the aging of shingles on the houses with poor ventilation. The shingles will basically cook in broil and bake since extreme heat is received by your shingles on both sides. The extreme heat also affects all the other roofing fixtures found on your roof such as rubber pipe jacks, turbines, roof vents, skylights and others but especially the ones that have not been painted. Houston’s humid sub-tropical climate also ranks our state among the highest for shingle discoloration in the whole United States due to algae as we are in close proximity to the coast. During our summer months the weather is hotter and the air blowing in from the Gulf is hot and humid, having absorbed the water molecules as it passes over the warm Gulf waters to the coast. For this reason, here in Texas, algae growth will continue spreading every where, especially, as we mentioned, in damp or shaded areas. It is very important to know that although there is no scientific evidence that the algae growing on your shingles will damage them, it certainly makes your roof looks much older than it is. This negative appearance may give the impression to anyone that your roof needs to be replaced when in fact it may not be the case.

LACK OF GOOD WORKMANSHIP, GOOD ADVICE AND FAULTY INSTALLATIONS OR REPAIRS

Roofing shingles as well as roofing fixtures and systems must always be installed by experienced roofing crews so you can be sure of their good functionality, longevity and warranties. When cheap roofing fixtures have not been replaced with high quality ones and are left unpainted, chances are that the roofer you hired did not look for your best interest and did not advise you well to prevent roofing problems. We can see how the appeal, functionality and efficiency of a roof suffer when in experienced, careless and unsupervised roofing crews or roof repairmen do not do proper installations or repairs with superior quality materials. It is not uncommon to see that after a storm, many roofs that are being replaced may have not been inspected by city or county officials due to the large amount of work and claims that have piled up. Although permits may be pulled by the roofers to legalize the installation of the roof, this does not mean that the city or county sent a professional to inspect your roof installation. For this reason, it is very important for a homeowner to find a reputable roofer that can do the installation well or that can supervise the one done.

The shingles on your roof have specific areas where they are to be aligned and nailed. When in experienced roofers use staples, the shingle manufacturer may not warrant their job and the shingles will not hold as well as they should in a storm. When a shingle roof is either hand nailed or air gunned, the nails must be nailed straight and not at an angle as this will weaken the grip of the shingles making the shingles loose and eventually fly away in strong winds. When air guns are used to nail your roof, it is also important to know that the pressure of the guns must be calibrated before the job starts.

Each air gun used must be tested first and calibrated to the right pressure so this way the nail enters right and not too short or too far. Another problem that we find shows lack of workmanship and lack of good advice is when a roofer places shingles into a flat roof area with a very low pitch. Specially when felt paper was used below rather than Ice and Water Shield that can protect much better. This practice causes in so many ways leaks as the water from a flat roof can’t drain well and end up rotten the wood below. Faulty roof installations or repairs will end up causing leaks and will make shingles fly away from your roof, among other costly roof problems such as rotten wood. Remember that as a homeowner, you must make right decisions when it comes to your roof. Hire a reputable and experienced roofer that knows roofing and do not settle to fix a major roofing problem with very little money as you may be forcing your roofer to install or use the same low-quality materials that we do not want on your roof and that will start failing soon. It is very important to know that when these faulty installations are present on your roof, these may give your insurance company a reason to not approve your claim stating that the damages found on your roof were not necessarily caused by the storm but originated or caused by the poor workmanship, roof installation or repair that someone else did before.

HOMEOWNERS’ LACK OF ROOFING KNOWLEDGE AND INABILITY TO SURPERVISE

All Homeowners must understand that the roof of your home is the most important part of your house and it is the one that protects all your interior and personal items. Your roof takes all the pounding from the sun, rain, snow, wind, and storms and for this reason, NO CHEAP materials, systems or fixtures should ever be used on them. When homeowners do not understand roof damage or caring for their roofs, chances are that a quick cheap fix or no action at all will back fire and the problem will keep coming back. Most roofing problems that we are seeing all throughout Texas happen simply because those roofs have not been properly restored or upgraded. The fact that you may not be seeing leaks inside your home does not mean that water may be entering your home without you knowing. You must make sure that a roof inspection is done on your roof, and that a video or many photographs are taken so you can see any areas with deficiencies or problems in your shingles, fixtures and systems. When few shingles have been ripped or blown off your roof, the exposed nails will allow water to penetrate your roof so therefore if many are visible in your home, the chances of leaks will drastically increase. It is very important that homeowners know a little about shingles, the functions of their pipe jacks and their ventilation system that they may be using in order to eliminate deficiencies and leaks and to increase the life of your roofs. Lack of supervision with roofing jobs is another issue that fuels the aging of roofs. Most homeowners cannot climb to see the condition of their roofs or supervise any installations or repairs being done by a roofer or somebody they have hired. Therefore, videos or photos must always be requested from the roofers, so you can see what has been done on your roof.

Homeowners often make the mistake of choosing roofers with not much experience, with no roofing designations, not listed on the BBB, without references, not knowing their credentials, and not getting a good explanation of the scope of work to be done. Another situation that shows the lack of supervision exists when brand new homes are being given to the homeowners to start living it once finished by the developers and sold to them without being properly inspected before. In this situation the crews that were assigned to finish the roofs of that particular complex were not properly supervised and poor workmanship may have happened. If your area has been struck by a storm, you should immediately call your roofer and request a free inspection for hail or wind damage to make sure your roof is fine. Homeowners must always remember that roofers work for you and are willing to do videos of your roof so you can see the condition of it. One common mistake that homeowners make after a storm is to call their insurance company first. This practice is not recommended because your roofer should be able to see if your roof has been substantially damaged first.

Then, if enough damage is found, he will advise you to call your insurance company to file a claim. It is always recommended that once you file a claim, your roofer can be present when the adjuster comes to inspect your roof. We do not want to have the insurance adjuster working unsupervised. He may miss some damages on your roof if you do not climb the roof yourself and a roofer is not there to represent you either. If not, enough damage is found for an insurance claim, a reputable roofer should be able to tell you so and explain what he can do to repair your roof and upgrade any deficiencies that it may have. Remember that insurance companies pay for damages found on your roof and not for how old your roof is. For this reason, you must make sure that your roof has good fixtures and good ventilation systems in place so this way, if damaged by a storm, your insurance adjuster will see the damages and pay for them rather than blame you for not taking good care of your roof.

TREES ALL OVER THE ROOF OR IN CLOSE PROXIMITY

This is another issue that affects shingle roofs of many Texas homes. We all enjoy the shade from trees, but property owners should be aware of the problems that they may cause to your roof. When trees are all over the house, chances are that the branches that fall can impact your shingles making holes, removing granules and damaging your roof. The branches close to your roof can also become like a saw rubbing up and down the shingles during high winds removing the granules of your shingles, which is what protects your roof. When trees are all over or in close proximity to your roof, you also have plenty of leaves falling on the roof creating humidity and possibly rushing water to penetrate the perimeter shingles of your home when the gutters get full of them. This moisture and damp areas created by the leaves on your shingles also contributes to attracting algae as the pile of leaves keep the moist on top of your shingles. Another problem with having trees way to close to your house is the fact that birds and squirrels can easily be running around your roof dropping debris or damaging roof fixtures. Something very important to know and remember is that asphalt shingles tend to suffer a great deal when trees are over them, so it is important to trim the branches of your trees.

If these interfere with your roof and damaged is created as a consequence of them, most likely you will not be able to claim roof damages with your insurance company as the adjuster coming to inspect your roof may deny your claim for having untrimmed branches around your house. Your insurance company may very easily blame you for not cutting or trimming the tree denying the possibility of hail or wind damage claim that you may have.

   Now that you know what causes prematurely aging roofs here in Texas, it’s your time to take action and restore and upgrade your roof to prevent any future costly problems. It is important to understand that if you do not do anything for your roof, nobody will. If shingle roofing is not the strongest method to roof homes here in Texas, then you must renovate and upgrade your roof to make sure that good materials, fixtures and systems are in place. Being well informed and taking action by keeping your roof upgraded and clean will greatly help to prevent leaks, to sell your property well if you want to and to give you peace of mind as you will know that your roof will be able to handle the next storm.