Have an older house with a super old roof? Or, is your roof just in extremely rough shape? Are you worried that the old roof is about to give up on you or worse yet, collapse in on itself? For many homeowners, the thought that their roof might collapse one day is a real concern, and while a collapsing roof is not the most common home accident, it does happen and can pose some serious safety concerns for your family.
It can be difficult to tell if your roof is about to collapse. This is especially true if you have not had your roof formally inspected in several years or longer. A professional roofing contractor or home inspector can provide you with the information you need to know the risks of your roof collapsing. But if you are not able to have a professional come to your home there are a couple of warning signs you can be on the lookout for.
How Do You Know If Your Roof Is About To Collapse?
If you are like many other homeowners, living under an older or under-maintained roof, and you are concerned about your roof’s overall safety, there are a few warning signs you should be on the lookout for.
Here is a quick list of warning signs that your roof is at risk of collapsing and that need to be addressed right away:
- Signs of interior ceiling sagging
- Warning signs that outer shingles are sagging
- Your roof frequently leaks, and the leaks are severe
- Bent or warped utility pipes or conduits in the ceiling
- Cracks or damage in the exterior masonry
- Look for warning signs that your doors or windows are more difficult to open and close and pay attention if they are popping open on their own
- You notice signs of deformities in the support structure and/or framing of your roof.
These are the most common warning signs that your roof is damaged and needs attention from a professional roofing contractor right away before something more serious happens.
Can A House Roof Collapse?
Yes, the roof on your house can collapse, that is the bad news. But there is some good news, or at least a small silver lining when it comes to the prospect of your roof collapsing. Roofs almost never collapse entirely all at once. So, it is extremely unlikely that you will find yourself awoken in the middle of the night by your roof coming down around you.
Instead, what will more likely happen is that smaller sections of your roof will collapse at a time. Now, this can still be dangerous, and it is much better to do everything in your power to prevent these collapses from happening in the first place.
What Are the Causes Of Roof Collapse?
If you have an aging roof that is showing warning signs that it is under duress, then you are probably wondering what could cause your roof to actually collapse. Well, there are a few events that might cause this to happen. A major factor that can cause your roof to collapse is added weight. Heavy rainfall can add a good deal of weight to your rooftop and can lead to some severe leaking and more damage to your roof. Snowfall is especially dangerous for weaken roofs because unlike rain, snow will pile and accumulate on your roof and stay there for a prolonged amount of time. A snowstorm is an old roof’s biggest enemy.
Dry rot is another common cause of roof collapse. Warning signs of dry rot is brittle wood in your roof, you can test this by taking a screwdriver and trying to penetrate the wood in the roof, if the screwdriver goes through the wood or pieces of the wood flake off, you have dry rot on your hands.
How Do I Stop My Roof from Collapsing?
It is always better to do everything in your power to stop your roof from collapsing. Not only does a collapsing roof pose a major risk in your home, but a collapsed roof is much more expensive to repair than a roof that simply shows signs of damage.
So, how can you stop your roof from collapsing:
- Firstly, have a professional roofing contractor inspect your roof and look for weak points and potential risks.
- Make sure your roof is up to code.
- Ensure your attic is well insulated, so it can handle extra weight from rain and snow.
- Stay off the roof! Do not add unnecessary weight to your roof, even for a short period of time. Do not get up and walk around on your roof, leave that to the professionals.
- If you have an older roof, avoid installing solar panels or air conditioning units on your roof. And maybe consider removing these if they are already up there.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair A Collapsed Roof?
The exact cost can be difficult to say. Materials and the scope of work will affect the cost to repair your collapsed roof but on average you can expect to pay between $3 to $10 per square foot to repair your roof. However, if the damage is really bad, you can expect to pay more.
Does Insurance Cover Ceiling Collapse?
It may vary a little depending on your policy and insurance company but yes, most homeowner insurance plans will cover your roof collapsing. There may be some expectations or loopholes that your insurance company may try to use, so be sure to read your agreement closely.
Final Thoughts on How To Handle A Collapsing Roof
A collapsing roof sounds much scarier than it probably is. Most roofs only collapse in small portions at a time, instead of all at once. But this does not mean you should not take the threat seriously. If you are concerned that your roof is in danger of collapsing, call your roofing contractor and have them perform a safety inspection on your roof.