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The Main Things That Damage Roofs

July 10, 2019 by ROTban Services Corp.

Nature damages roofs, and so do people! Conversely, your roof can damage you, too!  If it doesn’t work, it can rack up huge costs in interior repairs and replacements.  Also, if you or anyone falls off your roof, it can be an incredible pain – physically and financially.

There are three main things that damage roofs.  Nature, workers and tools. 

Nature damages roofs through high winds, excessive heat and UV rays, hail, little critters, and nature’s decomposition methods – moss, fungus and algae.

You’ve probably seen the catastrophic nature events in the media.  Shingles ripped off roofs leaving bare wood, and hail that dints cars and destroys roofing materials.  Most people don’t really expect roof damage to come from racoons and rats that tear through the products, but many of my customers and friends experience this, sometimes at great cost in terms of repairs outside and inside. Even birds do damage to some extent.

Then, in rainforest and temperate climates, nature’s relentless decomposers are multiplying, spreading and growing.  Moss, mold, mildew, fungus and algae.  They have a good purpose in nature, getting rid of dead organic material.  But they do damage to the structures that protect everything you own and your loved ones.

I spoke of roof workers.  Do-it-yourself people and many contractors, while servicing homes, do damage to roofing.  For example, many homes are designed with windows above roofing.  When it’s exterior window cleaning time, the washer will most likely be walking on the roof.  Surprise, this is wear-and-tear to a greater degree than you may imagine.

Before touching on other workers and the tasks they do, it’s important for owners to understand the roofing material.  Every kind of roof material, except maybe recycled rubber, is damaged by roof traffic.  Asphalt roofing is by far the most common product used, so let’s use this as an example.  Shingles are basically made of bitumen, a heavy oil. It’s very waterproof and quite flexible.  Most shingles today have fiberglass mats inside the bitumen and are made of two pieces of the bitumen laminated together for strength and beauty.  They are coated with granulation – either sand or ceramic particles the size of grains of sand.  The granulation does more than give a wonderful array of colours and accents.  Vastly important, the surface they create protects the bitumen mat from the UV rays of the sun.  Without them, the bitumen will bake, dry out, curl and split – becoming useless to protect your home.  That’s re-roof time, and it is not cheap!  The fact is, UV rays are getting stronger.  Granulation is your main hope of having long lasting roofing, combined with the thickness of the shingle.  Now the hotter the weather, the more damage is being done by walking on the granulation.  The heat melts the bitumen.  Surprisingly, most re-roofing is done in the summer, and yes, the roofing is being damaged during the installation.  The hotter the weather, the more the damage.  The granulation is easily sluffed off the sloped surface by any kind of shoe.  Think of walking on a sandy surface on a 20-degree sloped sidewalk.  Some damage, some slipping cannot be avoided in any weather.  But granulation is also being pressed in to the bitumen, disappearing there, so that there is less colour.  Less colour is less protection for your roof.

Gutter cleaners often walk along the roof just above the gutter.  In my career doing roofing and roof maintenance, I’ve seen many dark trails where the granulation has been worn away.  Anyone working on roofs will choose the easiest and safest paths, and you can clearly see these paths – swaths of wear and tear.

To some extent, roofs in heavily treed areas that have bits of branches and leafy debris do need to be cleaned, but this also creates wear and tear.  See about the tools that do the most damage just a bit further down in this article.  Leaf blowers are the safest way to go – and be sure proper safety gear is worn and a safety plan is done.

Think also of Christmas light installations and decorations of all kinds.  They are fun, but your roof is expensive, important and delicate. Most importantly, we must discuss roof moss removal workers.  That’s my specialty and I’ve spent a lot of my life studying, experimenting, creating and testing to find the right way to do this.  I found it decades ago, and after many trials, started using it professionally.  I’d like to tell you about it.  But roof moss removal is an easy trade to start doing.  It looks easy, and people who are attracted to a bit of danger and need a job are attracted to it.  People who don’t like to be watched up close are also attracted.  Funnily, many criminals, when asked about their career, will say “roofing”.  That’s not a good sign.  But roof work is a profession.  There is high quality roofing education and standard administrator in BC, the Roofing Contractors Association and Training Center.

Tools that damage roofs other than shoes are: safety ropes and improper installations of roof anchors; hoses of any sort dragging around the roofing, (pressure washing hoses being many times worse than garden hoses); brooms, brushes and scrapers.  Scrapers!?

It’s important to re-emphasise that roofs damage people, too.  Countless numbers of homeowners and workers have died or had serious, life altering injuries while working on roofs.  Ladder climbing and roof walking are serious threats to health and well being.  If you plan to allow anyone to work on your roof, ensure they are properly covered by Worksafe BC and follow the many rules laid down – to save life and limb.

ROTban Ultra Cleaning Corp has paid the price in study, system development, solution development and creating a long-term history – 21 years of well documented success.  You really will be better off by involving us in your roof moss removal or roof stain cleaning investigation.  Please allow us to give you an informative and timely quote, and if all is well with that, maybe we can have a long relationship resulting in clean, beautiful roofing that lasts.