10 Most Common Roofing Problems

Published 10.30.2018

Every homeowner in South Florida understands their roof may need occasional maintenance and potential replacement due to damage, deterioration, and just plain old age. From small leaks to major cracking, we’ll help you identify and address the ten most common roofing problems in Miami.


1. Roof Leaks

Roof leaks are the most common problem reported by roofing professionals in South Florida. Severe weather conditions and long exposure to the Miami sun is a main factor that can lead to roof cracks and breaks, resulting in leaks. Roof leaks are also caused by lack of maintenance, poor installation/workmanship, or roof materials that have exceeded their service life.

Prevention Tip: The best way to prevent roof leaks is with regular roof maintenance. It’s recommended to implement a preventive maintenance plan that involves cleaning drains, replacing sealants and making repairs at the earliest detection. An inspection before and after any work is done on the roof is also beneficial in making sure there was no damage caused.

Repair Tip:  A leak evaluation is important to determine the cause of the roof leak. Once the source of the problem is identified, an effective repair solution can be applied.


2. Punctures

Punctures are problematic on single-ply roofing membranes and can be caused by roof traffic. Sharp tools such as screws and nails being dropped or holes caused by removing HVAC panels are prime examples of the potential damage. Weather, falling branches, and animals can also create significant holes in your roofing material. When a puncture or tear is not addressed, it can lead to other issues resulting in wet roof membrane and roof leaks.

Prevention Tip: Track contractors working on the roof with a sign-in sheet.

Repair Tip: Early detection is the best solution because it allows for a quicker and easier repair process.


3. Cracked Sealant

If the sealant around your roof flashings and skylights has reached its maximum service life and has become dry, cracked, or brittle, it can lead to leaks. Incorrect sealant application, inadequate surface preparation, and early or excessive joint movement can also result in a cracked sealant.

Prevention/Repair Tip: Identify the cause of the roof sealant failure. Choosing the correct replacement sealant is critical when restoring a failed roof sealant in order to avoid recurring sealant issues.


4. Flashing

A roof’s flashing protects the crease between fixtures like chimneys or venting pipes under the roofing material. Roofing materials, especially asphalt, begin to degrade over time. Expansion and contraction with the change in temperatures cause aging roof protection to grow brittle and crack. Years of the harsh Miami sun rays can also melt the tar, exposing portions of your flashing. If the flashing is loose, cracked or worn, it can lead to leaks and cause damage to your roof and home in South Florida. Improper installation can also contribute to issues with roof flashing.

Prevention Tip: Hire a licensed roofing contractor that will follow manufacturer recommendations regarding the proper installation of flashing. Follow routine roof maintenance to detect and problems with flashing.

Repair Tip: The recommended repair solution is to remove damaged or faulty flashing and replace it immediately, before the problem grows worse.


5. Improper Repairs

When a roof is repaired incorrectly, it can lead to rust or leaks. Improper roof repairs are expensive because of the additional cost of undoing the faulty repair and increased labor. The problem is typically caused by an inexperienced technician or incompatible materials.

Prevention/Repair Tip: Work with a licensed contractor that has been approved by the manufacturer of the roof system installed on your roof in South Florida.


6. Clogged Drains, Gutters and Downspouts

When drainage paths become clogged, several problems occur. Clogged drains, gutters, and downspouts can increase the weight load on the roof, speed up the deterioration of the roof membrane, cause leaks, and leads to growth of algae. Any gutters containing significant amounts of leaves, dirt, and other debris can cause water to flow over the side and seep into the foundation. Downspouts may be split and damaged from leaves, resulting in leaks against the building wall and foundation.

Prevention Tip: To keep drainage paths open, keep up with routine maintenance. Trim nearby trees to remove the risk of leaves clogging drains, gutters, and downspouts.

Repair Tip: Hire a professional roofer in Miami to inspect and remove debris from the roof.


7. Vegetation and Debris

On all roof types, debris should be removed and all leaves from overhanging trees should be broom swept off of the roof. This is especially the case in high rain areas such as Miami, where debris can cause many problems due to clogged drainage areas. If debris and vegetation clog critical roof areas, the roof membrane may get damaged. On shingle roofs, overhanging tree limbs can create excessive shade causing the shingles to curl and buckle. Unwanted vegetation and debris are caused by a lack of roof maintenance.

Prevention Tip: The best way to prevent the buildup of unwanted vegetation and environmental debris is to keep trees trimmed and clean the roof annually or after a storm.

Repair Tip: Hire a roofing professional in Miami to clean the roof. They have the equipment and training necessary to work on your roof and can identify any potential damage.


8. Pitch Pockets

A pitch pan or pocket is used to seal penetrations on the roof and require frequent inspection and maintenance. There are many reasons why a pitch pocket seal could be compromised. The sealer can dry out and shrink or be impacted by structural movement. Improper installation or lack of maintenance may also be the culprit. A problem with a pitch pocket always leads to leaks, and a lot of damage can occur before the leak around a pitch pocket is evident.

Prevention Tip: Routine roof maintenance and inspections of the sealer is recommended.

Repair Tip: If the pitch pocket metal is corroded, a South Florida roofing contractor will replace it with new metal and mix a two-part epoxy, and install the new pitch pocket.


9. Alligatoring

Alligatoring is a common problem among roofing systems in Miami, and is a sign that your roof is aging. Alligatoring occurs when there is a shrinkage cracking of the bituminous surface of built up or smooth surface roofing, producing a pattern of deep cracks resembling an alligator hide. South Florida’s harsh UV rays from the sun can dry and damage the roof’s surface, contributing to cracks in the roof coating.

Prevention Tip: Apply a UV protectant or reflective roof coating to help your roof last longer and prevent damage. Regular inspections will lead to early detection, and help prevent large leaks from occurring.

Repair Tip: A roofing contractor can investigate the cause of the cracks and determine the best solution for your roof in South Florida. If the issue is caught early enough, small areas can be removed and patched. If the problem is severe, then replacement of the roofing system is necessary.


10. Shrinkage

Shrinkage is most common on EPDM or modified bitumen roofs in South Florida and is often the result of poor installation, UV exposure, and aging. When the roof membrane shrinks, it leads to cracks in the upper layer which allows moisture to seep in – ultimately causing leaks, wood rot and mold growth.

Prevention/Repair Tip: The best prevention is proper installation from a qualified roofing professional and roof routine maintenance.
As the trusted residential roofing authority in South Florida, T&S Roofing focuses on uncovering the true needs of homeowners, that is unparalleled by any other contractors in the area. Through trust, transparency and a high-level of personalized service, T&S Roofing builds peace of mind and lifelong relationships with their customers.

Call us or fill out or form to schedule a roofing consultation with one of our roofing experts.