Sometimes roofing problems are more than surface level. The roof over your head is protecting everything inside your home, and more importantly, those who occupy it. It’s clearly worth taking care of.
The issues that plague your roof could be running much deeper than you think. Real roof problems in Louisville may actually start below the floorboards.
The foundation is an essential component of your home. It supports everything, floors, windows, doorways, walls, and yes – the roof. When your foundation is damaged, it manifests a myriad of problems throughout the home. The answer, or rather the problem, is quite simple: When your foundation shifts, your roof can also shift and be damaged as a result.
Homeowners all around the Louisville area are unaware of how foundation problems cause roof damage. Foundation problems don’t occur overnight, so they can be difficult to detect with the untrained eye. Today, our team at Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal is here to uncover the truth, protect your roof from damage, and keep you safe.
Your Roof and Your Foundation: How Are They Connected?
All homes start with a foundation at the bottom and finish with a roof on top. These two construction bookends are strongly connected. If the foundation is strong and reliable, oftentimes the roof is as well. However, when there is a shift, crack, or break in the foundation, there’s a good chance you’ll find similar problems on the roof.
5 Common Foundation Problems That Lead to Roof Damage
The most common problems you will find on your roof come from wind, rain, lightning, or those strong Louisville storms. This is usually in the form of cracked, broken, or wind damaged shingles. However, when the structure of the roof is compromised, and you can see or feel wavy, saggy, bowed, bulging, dipping, or curvature on the roof line, the likely culprit is the foundation of the home.
The compromised roof structure and lack of foundation may also cause leaks. A leaky roof will lead to more concerns, including moisture, mold and mildew.
Being educated and aware of warning signs and understanding how foundation problems cause roof damage may help to prevent small problems from turning into big issues and costly repairs.
1. Improper Drainage and Undercutting
If your home’s gutters are not draining far enough from your home, this can be one of the most common ways that foundation problems cause roof damage. When the soil around the foundation gets soaked from roof drainage, that moisture will often find its way into the basement, crawl space, or the concrete floor. If this happens, and your foundation begins to shift, and you’ve started the cycle of damage.
One possible remedy is to extend your downspouts at least four (or up to eight) feet away from the foundation of the house. Downspout extenders are very affordable and can be bought at any hardware store in Louisville, KY.
Along with downspout extenders, it’s important to ensure your gutters are clear from debris and cleaned on a regular basis to ensure proper water flow. These inexpensive solutions can save you thousands of dollars down the road.
2. Tree Roots
Tree roots are another contributor to foundation problems. To sustain growth, roots of trees have to acquire water and nutrients. Over time, the roots of your tree can extend two to four times the diameter of the foliage.
In the average front yard, there’s a good chance your tree roots will run into your foundation. When this happens, the roots actually absorb moisture from the foundation, causing the soil to shrink and the foundation to drop. That drop in the foundation causes serious damage, ultimately resulting in a saggy or wavy roof. This is a common reason for how foundation problems cause roof damage.
The only remedy for this situation is to eliminate or cut back the tree so it is no longer impacting the foundation. If you have concerns, you can schedule an inspection of your foundation by a Louisville expert. To prevent serious damage, you’ll want to pay attention to tree growth and how that may be impacting your foundation in the future before the tree gets too big.
Shifting or movement of soil can trigger complications in your foundation. Some shifting is normal and hairline cracks are generally typical, even in a new home. However, while some cracks shouldn’t be a cause of the alarm, others are serious and require immediate attention.
When the size of the cracks continues to increase, or you notice V-shaped cracks that tend to widen towards the bottom, that’s a sure sign of a problem. These wide cracks cause the roof to bow or sag and lead to cracks in the walls as well.
If your home is experiencing any of these problems, consider taking immediate action to find the root of the problem. Left unattended, the problem will only exacerbate and affect other structures such as the roof as well.
4. Foundation Levels
A good foundation should be perfectly level. However, problems such as poor construction, soil movement, or soil shifting can interfere with this. Foundation tilting is normal in Louisville, but when the overall level of the foundation changes unevenly, it triggers problems. This is how foundation problems cause roof damage. When the foundation is uneven, so are the floors, walls, doors, and eventually, the roof.
5. Foundation Heaving and Settling
To better understand how foundation heaving and settling affects your home, it’s important to understand the difference.
Heaving occurs when a foundation or concrete slab is forced upward by the expansion of soils underneath. This movement can cause the floor and wall to crack.
Settling is a term used to describe a home’s gradual sink into the ground over time. While slight settling is normal, over time, this can lead to serious issues if not taken care of. Early signs include tilting chimneys, jamming doors, sticky doors, and wall cracks.
We all know Louisville weather can be a mystery, and can change on a dime. During the dry season, the soil shrinks, which leads to settling. During the wet season, the soil expands, as it retains too much water and the foundation heaves.
If not handled properly, this is how foundation problems cause roof damage. When heaving and settling keep interchanging, the result is a damaged home and a damaged roof.
Tips to Avoid Roof Damage: DIY for Louisville Homeowners
There are a few tips you can follow to help keep your home’s foundation, and roof, in good condition. If you have any major concerns that your home and family are at risk, it’s time to call in a professional.
Clean Your Gutters Regularly: We’ve already covered this, but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s so important. Keep your gutters clear of debris and excess leaves so they drain properly and move water away from your home like they’re supposed to. This is one simple task you can tackle on your own!
Water Your Lawn: Hot, dry wind and intense heat can often cause the soil to shrink beneath the foundation. The lack of support around the foundation can cause shifting and settling. When this happens, settling may cause cracks to appear throughout the structure. During those intense Louisville, KY summer heat waves, watering your lawn regularly can keep the moisture level more consistent and lessen the chance of shrinking soil.
Schedule Routine Maintenance: We can’t stress this enough. In order to keep all aspects of your home in good condition, schedule routine roofing maintenance, professional foundation inspections, and even plumbing inspections.
- Roofing Maintenance: At this point, it should seem obvious. Professional roofing contractors know what to look for, where to look for it, and why it matters. Our team at Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal in Louisville offers free roofing inspections to ensure maintenance is upkept. Schedule yours today.
- Foundation Inspections: As we learn how foundation problems cause roof damage, it’s also essential to know that only foundation experts may see underlying causes or concerns. Be safe, not sorry, and let a professional come walk your home on a routine basis.
- Plumbing Inspections: Water is a common culprit of foundation problems. Sometimes you don’t even know you have a leak until it causes major damage. If leaks are not fixed, the foundation will continue to shift. A plumbing inspection, by a licensed contractor, can ensure that your pipes are strong, and your foundation is not at risk.
Start Today: Schedule Your Free Inspection
A home’s foundation is vital to the strength and stability of the entire structure. When it’s compromised, the whole structure is bound to experience problems. Protect your home and family and make time to make inspections (both roofing and foundational) a priority. If you’re experiencing roofing issues, even ones that seem minor, start today with a formal, professional, free roofing inspection from Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal in Louisville, KY. Just contact us today to get started.