Your home is probably your single greatest financial investment. You can save yourself
money, time and frustration by preventing damage to your roof following these simple
How to know when it’s time to replace your roof
While many new roofs come with warranties of 20 years and even 30 years, most houses
have asphalt shingles with only a 15-year life-span. If you know your roof is nearly
15 years old, call a professional for a roof inspection.
You can tell that your roof might be worn out if you see curled or scalloped edges
on shingles, lumpy areas, discolored and worn areas, or cracked or missing shingles.
Problems associated with worn-out roofs
Eventually, worn-out roofs begin to leak. Leaks caused by normal, age-related roofing
failure are usually not covered by your insurance. Water entering through leaky
roofs can damage attic insulation, penetrate and destroy ceilings and walls, soak
and eventually rot your house’s support structure, and cause unhealthy mold and
Preventing ice damming
Even if you rarely get snow in your area, you can prevent roof damage and damage
to the interior of your house by properly insulating and ventilating your attic.
Doing so can also make your house a much more comfortable place.
Insulation - Without proper attic insulation, the heat from your house rises
into the attic and heats the underside of your roof. This can melt the bottom layer
of any snow on your roof. Often, the melting water re-freezes near the edges of
your roof. This can create an ice dam, which blocks the melting water from safely
dripping off the edges of your roof.
This water build-up can creep under your shingles, drip in through your roof, soak
through your attic, and ruin the interior of your home.
The cure: a little inexpensive insulation.
Check to make sure your attic has enough insulation. Your local home center can
tell you how much you need in your area. Talk to an insulation professional, get
an insulation inspection, and consider adding more insulation if you need it.
Don’t forget to ventilate - Make sure your attic has proper ventilation.
The insulation in your attic doesn’t stop the heat from passing up and out of your
house. It just slows down the process. You still need adequate attic ventilation
to exhaust the heat that comes up through your house. With most of the heat exhausted,
your roof won’t warm up as much, and you won’t get as much trouble-causing melting
underneath any snow on your roof.
Remember, you want to keep the warm air in your living space as long as possible,
and get it out of the attic as quickly as possible. Insulation and ventilation make
Most houses need about 1 square foot of ventilation screen for every 300 square
feet of attic space, and some need as much as 1 square foot for every 150 square
Adding ventilation is usually a quick and easy job for a qualified worker. It’s
especially easy and economically efficient to add ventilation when you are installing
new siding or rain spouts.
Preventing roof, deck, awning and carport collapse
The roof on your house is designed to hold the weight of typical snowstorms. But
even well-maintained houses collapse under the weight of extraordinary snowfalls.
Many homeowners lose structures far more susceptible to collapse than roofs: decks,
awnings and carports.
If a heavy snow has built up on your roof, consider calling a professional for a
structural evaluation and perhaps for snow removal. Don’t try to remove the snow
yourself, except for snow on your deck, if you can do so safely.
Avoiding the greatest danger — falling branches and trees
Throughout the United States, trees cause millions of dollars of roof damage each
year. You’re probably more likely to experience damage to your roof caused by falling
trees than you are from any other source. And although your insurance policy covers
many types of roof damage and liability caused by trees, you could still face deductible
payments and lawsuits that
exceed your policy protection.
Tree experts offer several tips for minimizing the danger that trees present to
your property. First, don’t plant trees too close to your house. If you buy a tree
from a nursery, follow the recommended planting distance from your house, your neighbor’s
house or other structures.
If you already have mature trees on your property, maintain them well. Hire a licensed,
insured professional tree service to properly trim the tree and to keep branches
from dangerously overhanging your property or your neighbors’ property. You can
be held responsible for damage that your trees cause to your neighbors’ property.
In most instances, your neighbors may trim any parts of your trees or shrubbery
that overhang their property. Be a good neighbor, and have a professional make sure
that your trees don’t endanger your house or your neighbors’ houses.
We’ll be there for you
Even careful homeowners can experience a loss. If you experience a loss on your
property, here’s what to do:
- Protect the property
- Make an inventory of damaged items
- Contact your independent agent or Penn National Insurance
- Contact the police if the loss involves a crime or injury that you might be held
And above all, don’t panic.