Roofs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are made out of a variety of materials. One type of roof that tends to have more than its fair share of problems is the low pitch roof. A low pitch roof has little slope to it and may even be nearly flat. This reduces its ability to shed water and debris quickly, which can sometimes lead to maintenance issues. If you have a low pitch roof, be aware of the potential problems with them and learn what you can do to minimize the risk.
Common Low Pitch Problems
If your home has a roof with a low pitch, then your roof is more susceptible to leaks because of standing water or slowly moving water. You may also experience excessive wear and tear on the roofing materials, as they remain saturated with water for longer periods of time than roofs with a steep slope that allows for quick runoff. Ice dams are also a problem on low pitch roofing. Ice dams happen when snow melts from underneath and refreezes, forming barriers of ice on the eaves of the roof. Various moisture problems occur more frequently on low sloping roofs and result in billions of dollars in maintenance in the roofing industry each year, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory website.
One solution for preventing undue damage to low pitched roofing is to install proper attic insulation. This is especially important in areas with cold winters that see a lot of snow. Improper attic insulation allows heat to escape from the living area through the roof. This melts the lowest level of the snow. The snow slides down to the eaves of the house and refreezes, causing ice dams. Ice dams can damage roofing materials and may lead to leaks inside the attic and into the home. Until the snow melts away, the problem continues to get worse. It is already difficult for snow to slide neatly off a low pitched roof, and if an ice dam several inches thick is frozen at the eaves, then more and more snow and ice will accumulate, leading to further problems.
Another way to prevent winter problems with a low pitch roof is to make sure your home is properly ventilated through the roof. The ice dam issue is a serious one for those with slightly sloped roofing, and improper ventilation can mean you still have the problem no matter how good your attic insulation is. Some of the heat, regardless of insulation, can seep through to the roof unless the heat is released through vents to the outside to help equalize the temperatures between the inside and outside of the roof. Installing plenty of ventilation to release excessive warm air from the home in the winter is an important solution to low pitch roofing problems during snowy weather.
If you are experiencing leaks in your low pitch roof, it is not unusual. Water collects on flatter areas of roofs and can find its way through the roof and into the home where serious damage can happen. Be sure your roof drains water adequately and that all flashing around objects on the roof is in good condition. An additional solution to consider to protect your roof from leaks it to add a waterproofing product such as an adhesive membrane that installs over your roofing material to make it impermeable to liquids. You can have a roofing contractor install one of the available waterproofing products or use simple self-adhering products for a do-it-yourself project to stop leaking through roofs that tend to collect water because of a low pitch.
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