Keeping your roof healthy and intact is a big responsibility for any homeowner. But did you know that the troubles your roof may develop can sometimes be linked to how steep its slope is? Shallow-sloped or flat roofs can have different types of problems than steeply sloped roofs.
Here are some of the challenges you should expect with each type of roof pitch and how the steepness of the slope can encourage or discourage a leak.
Low Slope Leaks
Gravity is the force that drives water to shed from your roof. The closer your roof is to vertical, the easier it is for water to fall right off it. Conversely, a roof that's flatter (closer to horizontal) places itself as an obstacle between the water and the ground. This means gravity will be trying to pull the water right through the roof.
A good roof pitch will balance how much gravity is working for your roof versus against it. For some roofing materials, a steep pitch is best. But no matter what material your roof is made of, a shallower slope and a flatter roof will increase the potential for low slope leaks — where the force of gravity causes water to seep through the roof before it sheds to the ground.
If your roof has a lot of problems with low slope leaks, there are several things that could be going wrong. Your roofing material may be inappropriate for the amount of slope or it could just be getting old. Your roof may also have sunken spots where the water is puddling, or it may just be flatter than necessary. To stop the leaking, you can have one side of the roof built up to increase the pitch slightly.
Vulnerable Spots on Steeper Roofs
Although a gentler slop makes your roof more vulnerable to water seeping in on its way to the drip edge, a steeper pitch can often place more stress on specific areas of the roof. For example, the spot directly behind a wide chimney could be highly vulnerable if there's a steep-pitched roof slope feeding water into it.
In this case, the chimney traps water in the spot, causing gravity to work against your roof's integrity. A similar spot is in the valley between two roof slopes. Valleys often end up being lower-slope than the rest of the roof, and they have to handle a lot more water than most spots because of the way large slopes of roof drain into a single valley.
Many roofing contractors understand this and take special care to fortify these valleys with special waterproofing material as well as meticulous valley flashing.
Multi-Slope Roof Junctions
If you have a two-part slope, with a steeper slope higher up that feeds into a shallower slope ear your roof's edge, you may have to deal with the vulnerabilities of both types of roof slopes. And the junction of the two slopes provides a unique opportunity for leaking because there's a low slope that gets a lot of water draining directly onto it at a steep angle.
Each type of roof can have better chances of success with regular care. Maintenance and inspection can help to catch problems before they become leaks, and replacing old roofing with newer materials can give your roof a better chance of withstanding the weather despite any pitch-related vulnerabilities.
No matter what kind of roof problem you're dealing with, B & F Roofing & Siding Co can help. Give us a call to learn more about our roofing services or to schedule a visit so we can assess your roof situation.