Top 3 Common Roofing Structural Problems

Interior view of roof depicting common roofing structural problmes

What’s hidden underneath your roof’s outer layer of underlayment and shingles is just as important as all the components we talk about on the outside: gutters, shingles, and flashing.

Your roof supports do a lot of hard work. Arguably, it’s the most important work because without proper roof supports, or with roof supports that are damaged, your roof won’t last long no matter how new or pricey your shingles are.

The reason you don’t hear about these issues as often is that the work must be done the first time correctly before your roof decking is installed. Usually, this is the case.

However, sometimes structural issues can present later in the life of your roof. Eventually, you will have to deal with them before they endanger your entire roofing system or even your whole house.

If your house has been constructed with one of the following roofing structural problems, you will probably find out sooner or later that they will have to be remedied.

Common Roofing Structural Problems

Wrong Materials

When the structure of your roof is being built, typically a beam or beams will be installed that supports the entire length of the roof.

Because of the weight of the materials involved, the supports must be adequate to bear all that weight for many years. Inadequate supports can become an issue when, for instance, a new roof made of different materials than the existing roof was put on without adding support.

Some older homes were not made to hold up large roofs shingled with asphalt or cement shingles. Over time, glue-laminated, laminated veneer or steel beams have come to be used in roofing support over solid-sawn beams.

Solid sawn beams are made of ordinary timber. However, we now have stronger materials that we frequently put into use when building homes. The heavier or wider a roof is going to be, the stronger beams need to be used.

If you have a house whose original roof was made of lighter material, or if you wish to change to heavier stuff, always make sure that adequate support was added or that your roofing contractor will consult a structural engineer to make sure your supports can handle the added weight.

Poor Bracing

Beams are not the only structural concern for roofs. If you have a rafter-style roof, you will also have braces between beams to help with roof support. In this instance, as with beams, the placement of both the beam and the brace is what keeps the roof sound.

As with any structure, the beams, braces, and walls are constructed to make the best use of the support that’s available. Braces must be built against interior walls for this reason.

If the person who built the rafter chose instead to make the braces bear the entire weight, the braces will eventually weaken and collapse. This condition could lead to a sagging and crooked roof among other severe problems.

Poor Maintenance Can Affect Structural Support

Maintenance of your roof is the number one way to keep your roof healthy.

If your roof develops a leak that goes unnoticed or has a significant problem with ventilation, the water or condensation build-up can cause your roof’s structure to rot.

Once the structure of your roof starts to rot, it can start a ripple effect of more pests and mold growth. If that happens, you may have to start over again with new supports.


No matter what your roof’s issue, roofing structural problems are not something you should wait to fix. If you notice any of the problems outlined above and live in Southeast Michigan, call today. We would be honored to help!

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