Common Roof Problems

Roofs are complicated structures that not only provide shelter from inclement weather, but also integral support to the structure of your home.  Unfortunately, roofs don’t last forever, and they require regular maintenance and repairs.  Below is a list of some of the most common roof problems homeowners are likely to experience.

Ice Dams

Especially in climates with colder winters, ice dams are a common problem wherein indoor heat loss causes snow at the top of your roof to melt.  Water drains down your roof and then refreezes at the overhangs because the roof tends to be cooler here.  Ice dams can damage shingles and eventually lead to leaks and major structural problems.  To prevent ice dams, you need to insure proper ventilation, proper insulation, and proper underlayment.


In recent years, chimneys feature a saddle – a small pitch at the back of a roof designed to improve water drainage.  Unfortunately, in the past, most chimneys didn’t include this feature so water accumulates at the back of the structure and cause damage.  A quick solution is to install a chimney saddle which is a relatively easy project for any roofing professional.


Flashing refers to pieces of metal that are installed to prevent water from seeping in or around roof projections or intersections.  Chimneys, valleys, pipes, and vertical walls will be protected with flashing; unfortunately, flashing can deteriorate over time and needs to be replaced.

Siding or Sunroof Gaps

Sometimes, small gaps between siding and sunroofs can contribute to leaks.  While during initial installation, these gaps would not be a problem, they can expand over time.  You should have a professional roofer inspect these areas of your roof to prevent water damage.


Anywhere on a roof where 2 separate planes intersect, we call this a valley.  Valleys typically receive a lot more water volume than other aspects of your home because water is draining from 2 or more pitches to the same point.  When valleys are not installed properly, and underlayment and shingle installation are not adequate, leaks and water damage are common.  Regular roof inspections help to ensure valleys are well protected, but you should also only work with qualified roofing professionals when installing a new roof.  Proper installation is the most important factor in preventing leaks in roof valleys.


Shingles are always installed with nails, which seems somewhat counter-intuitive – why would you want to create holes in a structure that you want to prevent water from permeating?  In fact, improper nailing is one of the most common installation errors by roofers often resulting in detached shingles and significant roof leaks.  Again, it is especially important to work with experienced, qualified roofers whenever you are installing, replacing, or repairing a roof.