Roofing Maintenance Tips
Like changing the batteries in smoke detectors or skimming the pool, routine maintenance saves money in the long run. Performing roofing maintenance can prevent small, easily repairable problems from becoming costly, escalating issues down the road.
Inspect the shingles for excessive wear or damage, and ensure that caulking around vent pipes, chimneys, and counter flashings remains intact. These areas are most susceptible to leaks.
Roof flashing is the part of a roofing system that ties elements together and eliminates seams. It is found around chimneys, plumbing vents, skylights, and other penetrations on a roof. Roof flashing also helps to protect the underlying parts of a roof from water leaks. If the flashing is damaged, it will need repair or replacement.
If you are concerned about your flashing, have a professional do a detailed inspection of your roof. They will be able to spot any damage and make repairs before it leads to a leaky roof. They will also be able to tell if the flashing was installed correctly in the first place.
You can help prevent flashing problems by cleaning it from time to time. You can do this by using a soft brush and a mildly acidic cleaner. This will remove any debris or corrosion that may be causing damage.
It is important to check the flashing closely at least once a year. This can be done as part of a general roof inspection or on its own. The flashing should be clean and free of corrosion. If you find any, then you should clean the area and apply a protective coating to prevent further damage.
Flashing can corrode, even if it has galvanized coatings. This is because of the dramatic temperature changes that can cause it to expand and contract. When this happens, it can cause the flashing to warp, which allows water to seep through the roof.
Another common issue is that the caulking around flashing will degrade over time. This is not uncommon, and it is something that should be repaired as soon as possible. If the caulk is worn away or missing altogether, then the flashing is exposed to moisture and will rot.
In order to prevent this from happening, you should caulk the flashing on a regular basis. Ideally, you should do this twice per year. You should also replace the caulk on the shingles, which will also help protect the flashing from moisture. You should also install kickout flashing, which is a piece that covers the gap between where the step flashing ends and the gutter begins. This will prevent the rainwater from flowing directly down onto the flashing and causing rot.
Inspect the gutters.
Gutters are installed along a roof’s edge to catch and direct runoff. They naturally collect leaves, twigs, debris, and other detritus while doing so, but a gutter that becomes clogged or damaged can fail to displace water from the structure effectively. Over time, this can lead to puddling, leakage, and structural damage.
As part of a complete roofing maintenance checklist, homeowners should inspect the gutters at least twice a year. This may involve climbing up a ladder to look inside the gutters and downspouts (with caution) or using a ferret inspection camera from the ground.
Inspecting the gutters from the ground can help spot inconsistencies in the gutters, such as sections that appear to be sagging or damaged. It can also help determine if the gutters require cleaning or replacement. Check for leaks at seams and ends, as well as any spots where the sealant appears to be wearing away. In most cases, these leaks can be easily repaired by stripping off the old sealant and applying a new one.
During the winter, gutters can be affected by ice dams that prevent melting snow and ice from draining. If left unchecked, this can cause water to seep under the shingles and into the building’s walls and foundation.
Homeowners should regularly clear their gutters of debris and ensure that the gutter downspouts are properly diverting water from the house. A downspout that doesn’t properly displace water can saturate the soil and wick moisture into the foundation of the building, which can cause wood rot or mold.
Finally, homeowners should regularly trim tree branches that hang close to or level with the roof, especially during strong storms. This will prevent the branches from breaking or falling onto the roof during a storm, and it will also reduce the amount of debris that ends up in the gutters.
Inspect the shingles.
Inspecting the shingles is a critical step in any roofing inspection. Although a certain amount of wear and tear is normal, damaged shingles should be replaced as soon as possible. This will prevent water from seeping through the holes left by missing shingles and protect the remaining shingles from sun exposure.
Look for granule loss (the texture on the surface of a shingle) and curling. Curling is an indication that the shingles are nearing the end of their lifespan and may be more susceptible to damage in the future. The loss of granules is also a sign that the shingle’s adhesive properties are breaking down and that moisture is leaking into the roof.
Also, be sure to check for popped nails and shingles that are coming loose from the roof’s structure. These popped nails should be hammered back into place before the rain comes and the shingles are exposed. Inspect the shingles for cracking, fading, or discoloration, as well as for any moss or algae growth. Moss and algae can eat away at the shingles, which can lead to leaks and water damage within the home.
If the shingles are made of asphalt, the inspector should also look for signs of damage to the underlying membrane and the flashing. In addition, the inspector should inspect for any wood rot or mold in the attic. The inspector should also inspect for any evidence of roof leaks inside the home, including water stains on the ceiling and walls at the wall/ceiling juncture and the attic entrance.
The inspection of a cedar shingle roof should be done by a professional who is trained in identifying damage to the underlayment and the framing of the house. During the inspection, the inspector should also examine the attic, gutters and downspouts, soffits, fascia, and venting to make sure they are working properly. It is also important to look for critters that are taking up residence in the attic, as they can cause structural damage to the building and create a biohazard with their feces. Finally, the inspector should check for ventilation and air circulation in the attic to help prevent moisture buildup, which can eventually lead to a collapsed ceiling and rotting in the wood framing of the home.
Inspect the flashing.
Roof flashing is often one of the first areas where water leaks develop. Flashing covers exposed parts of the roof and acts as an important barrier between the interior of your home and the elements. Because of this, it’s a vital part of any roofing system and should be inspected regularly.
If you’re squeamish about climbing a ladder, you can do a visual inspection from the ground with binoculars or a window. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to perform the inspection for you. This is a fairly inexpensive task that can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs.
When inspecting roof flashing, you should look for cracked caulking or rust spots. It’s also important to check the flashing itself to make sure it is still securely attached to the roof and to the shingles. It’s common for nails or screws to wiggle loose over time, especially as the flashing flexes with temperature changes.
If the flashing is not secured correctly, it can cause water to penetrate the shingles. It’s also important to inspect the flashing around chimneys and other penetrations. Leaks around these areas are more common than they might seem, as many of them are due to improper flashing installation.
You should also inspect the flashing on roof-mounted equipment, like satellite dishes or roof-mounted AC units. If the flashing is corroded, it could lead to roof cover failure and allow water to enter the building. You should also inspect the equipment for rust on metal panels and screws and make sure the roof-mounted equipment curb is securely attached to the flashing.
Whether you’re doing a routine roof inspection or a more extensive inspection, it’s important to catch any problems as soon as they arise. Addressing small issues right away will prevent them from escalating into larger ones.