Regular inspections on a biannual basis (spring and fall) and after extreme weather events help to manage problem repair costs. Basic maintenance, such as cleaning drains, and gutters and keeping the roof free of debris, also helps extend the life of a roof system. Keep the roof free of debris, especially branches and leaves. This helps the roof to shed water instead of holding it.
Inspect the Flashing
One of the most important parts of any Roofing is its flashing, which prevents water from penetrating the areas where it might otherwise leak into a home. Flashing is sheet metal fabricated into specific shapes and designed to protect the vulnerable areas of a roof, like where it meets chimneys or vent pipes. If enough moisture penetrates a roof, it can cause cosmetic and structural damage. Flashing also helps to channel water droplets downward and off a roof, keeping it dry.
A professional should examine the flashing as part of a complete roof inspection. However, a homeowner can do some of the work by inspecting the exposed flashing from below and looking for signs of corrosion. If the flashing is corroded, a home inspector may recommend repair or replacement. However, most corroded flashing isn’t a problem unless it is severely deteriorated or the caulking is pulling away from the roof.
The flashing should also be inspected for any signs of cracking or deterioration. If the flashing is cracked or leaking, it should be replaced with galvanized steel flashing to resist corrosion. A flashing that is simply corroded should be resealed with roof cement or mastic. In addition, the mortar or caulk that seals the flashing should be inspected for cracks and deterioration.
Another area of a roof that should be examined is the valleys, which are often where leaks occur. The flashing in these areas is usually strips of metal with an inverted “T” profile, which are installed along the transition from a flat to a vertical plane. Improperly installed or damaged valley flashing can let in rainwater, leading to a roof leak the next time it rains.
In addition to checking the flashing, a homeowner should also inspect the mortar or caulk around chimneys and vents to ensure that it is still sealed tightly. Any deterioration or cracking should be resealed to prevent water from getting into the home. Finally, a homeowner should look for any bare spots on the roof and consider putting down zinc or lead control strips to prevent moss and algae from growing.
Clean the Gutters
Gutters are important for directing water runoff from the roof and preventing it from damaging the siding, foundation, and other parts of the house. They can become clogged with leaves, branches, dirt, and other debris. Regular cleaning is necessary to keep them working properly. Clogged gutters also make the roof structure more vulnerable to damage from rain, snow, and wind. It is recommended that you clean the gutters twice a year, once in late spring and once in early fall as part of your home maintenance checklist.
Cleaning the gutters can be a messy and difficult job, especially if you are perched precariously on a ladder. If you decide to do it yourself, use a power washer with a high-powered nozzle to clean off the dirt and debris. Be sure to wear work gloves to protect your hands from the rough surfaces of the gutters and other sharp objects. Also, be careful not to get any of the pressure washer spray on the shingles as it can damage them.
If you are not comfortable climbing the ladder, hire a professional to do the cleaning for you. This is an affordable option that will help ensure that your gutters are clean and free of debris. While the gutters are being cleaned, it is also a good opportunity to check for any rust spots or other damage to the gutters and downspouts.
The other advantage of having clean gutters is that it provides a safe nesting place for rodents and other pests, such as squirrels. A full gutter can also attract snakes that may slither up the downspout to find a meal. A gutter that is full of debris can also cause ice dams in cold climates, which can lead to further damage to the roof and downspouts.
If you have a gutter guard system, this will prevent debris from entering the gutters and it should be checked and replaced as needed. You should also install gutter downspout extensions to extend the drainage area away from the house to prevent puddles from forming. If you have any clogs in the downspouts, they can usually be broken up with a garden hose or plumber’s snake.
Check for Debris
Debris like leaves, sticks and branches can obstruct your roof’s drainage system. This means that water isn’t able to move away from your home as it should, which increases the likelihood of a leaky roof or other problems. If debris is left for too long, it can also damage other components on the roof. For example, it can create dents or scratches in shingles that lead to algae growth.
Checking for and removing debris is essential to your rooftop maintenance plan, especially after storms. A simple rule is that anything that you can’t pick up with your hand is heavy and needs to be removed. This will help to prevent damage to the roof itself and any objects or structures located on it.
It’s also important to check for debris in the gutters as well. You may need to use a ladder to access the gutters, and it’s usually best to do so in pairs or in small groups. A hose can be used to flush out the debris. This can also be a good opportunity to clean downpipes and ensure that they aren’t clogged.
A deteriorated roof is more than just an eyesore, it can also lead to serious safety issues and costly repairs for your business. If large pieces of debris fall on workers, they can be seriously injured or even killed. This can have an impact on the productivity of your business and can result in high costs from hospital bills, worker’s compensation, liability lawsuits and repair costs.
It’s a good idea to inspect the roof after every major storm or severe weather event. A visual inspection can reveal signs of damage that you may have missed before, such as wet patches on the ceiling or spots of mould or mildew on the walls. Look for cracks in the neoprene gasket around pipe boots, dents or breaks in the tiles and any areas where shingle edges are pulling up. This can indicate the need for replacement shingles. It’s also a good idea to check for moss or algae growth. This can also be removed with a spray or chemical solution.
Inspect the Roof
It’s important to get a close look at the roof to see what areas are damaged or need repair. You can inspect your roof from the ground or with a pair of binoculars. It is very important that you do not get on the roof unless you have professional roofing experience. It can cause a lot of damage and is very dangerous. A professional can perform a detailed inspection and make any necessary repairs.
During the inspection, you should check for flashing around chimneys and vent pipes. If the flashing becomes cracked or corroded, it can let water into the home. The caulking on the roof should also be checked. If the caulk is peeling or starting to lift, it should be scraped off and replaced with a new layer. You should also check for moss or algae growing on the roof. If moss or algae grow, they can prevent the shingles from properly breathing and can lead to a leaky roof.
If you find any problems during your inspection, it is a good idea to make notes and schedule an appointment with your roofer to have them fixed right away. This will help to prevent the problem from becoming worse and save you money in the long run. In addition, it’s important to have your roof inspected prior to any inclement weather. This will help to decrease the risk of damage from flying projectiles and blocked drains.
When you have a well-maintained roof, it can last for decades and protect the interior of your home from water damage. Proper maintenance will extend the life of your roof and help you avoid costly repairs. Performing regular inspections is essential, and you should increase the frequency of your inspection during inclement weather or after extreme weather events. This will give you the best chance of catching problems when they are small and manageable, rather than waiting until they are major issues that require extensive and expensive repairs.