The most common roofing problems for Boston

The most common roofing problems for Boston

Month in and month out, different environmental factors in the Greater Boston area take their toll on roofs. Angie’s List took a look at some of the most common roofing problems in Boston, and found out what you can do about them, with tips from highly-rated local roofers.

Problem: Black algae

Once a common problem limited to the southern portion of the country, black algae streaks on roofs are becoming more problematic for New England homes. Mark Negron of O’Lyn Roofing Contractors in Norwood, MA, says even roofs that are only a year or two old can get the horrible-looking algae buildups, but the problem is more than aesthetic.

The algae absorbs heat and can cause shingles to deteriorate, Negron says, so it’s important to get the algae off—safely and smartly.

“A pressure washer will void most shingle manufacturers’ warranties, and chemicals you could use will kill landscaping and could cause cancer,” Negron says. “We use an environmentally-friendly, hydrogen peroxide-based (cleaner). You never want chlorine or copper sulfate to be sprayed.”

Problem: Ice damage

Ice dams can be extremely destructive to Boston-area homes. Negron says ice dams can lift your shingles and start a water infiltration where there was none before, and once that starts you can have an enormous amount of damage.

“I think there’s a fallacy out there that you’re supposed to shovel your roof,” says John Tempesta of Tempco Roofing in South Boston, MA. “It’s a matter of opinion, but I think you could end up putting sharp shovel points into your roof. It’s okay to shovel some of the weight off, but don’t shovel down to the rubber or whatever your roof is made of.”

Ice can also pull off your gutters, if you’re not keeping an eye out. Negron has seen icicles several feet large hanging off roofs, and suggests looking for a cure to ice damage, not a fix. If your roof isn’t insulated properly, he says, no air can move through, causing snow to melt under the heat of the sun and re-freeze at night causing ice damage and icicles. By improving ventilation and insulation, you can avoid winter roof destruction.

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