You might not spend too much time thinking about it, but your roof is a valuable part of your home, and it’s always wise to make sure it’s in good shape. Here are a couple of guidelines to review to get a good idea of your roof’s condition so you can better keep it and your home in shape.
The gutters are an important part of maintaining your roof. When they go too long without getting cleaned, the leaves and other small debris building up in them can act as a bridge for water, directing it towards your roof and potentially causing a wide swath of issues from water damage, mold and mildew growth.
It’s recommended that you clear out your gutters in the spring and in the fall when the leaves are beginning to build up. You can clean out your gutters by flushing them with a long hose, digging out debris with long tools, or by calling in a professional gutter cleaning service.
Take time out of your daily schedule to walk around your home and see for yourself whether anything is obviously wrong with your home’s exterior. Is there any noticeable rot in your siding or wood beams? Your roof could have damaged, loose, or missing shingles, or other general signs of damage.
A good time to check your home is after heavy winds or other inclement weather. Also keep an eye out for the telltale signs of damage from small wildlife like pests or rodents, such as new holes or trails, or animal scat. Be on the lookout for wasp or hornet nests, and keep the number for pest control handy as well.
Even if you’re keeping your gutters clean, leaves and moss could still pose a problem. This is especially true if you have tall trees situated near your home. If leaves begin to pile up on your roof, the amount of moisture they trap could be enough for weeds to start growing there, thus weakening structural integrity and attracting pests.
Use a rake or a hose to knock off as many leaves as you can safely. In some cases, moss might not be removed as easily, and some scrubbing with soap and water or a moss and mildew solution might be necessary. In such cases, you might consider implementing some color match roof coating after the fact to maintain the roof’s appearance, in addition to sealing and priming it against wear and tear.
Leaves aren’t the only trouble trees can cause for your roof. Trees pose a risk of falling over into your house should the weather be severe enough. In addition, branches that have grown too far can interfere with your shingles, siding, and gutters, breaking off parts of your house. Trees can also snap off branches and start to accumulate on your roof. Small animals like squirrels can even use suitably overgrown branches to land on your roof, leading to other problems with nesting and pest control. Therefore, keeping those branches trimmed is a must.
If you aren’t too keen on getting high up on a ladder and trimming branches, professional tree services are readily available to help. Should you wish to do it yourself, take proper precautions when climbing ladders and sawing off branches, and make sure your tools and equipment are in good working order for the job.
After a heavy snowstorm, snow and ice will inevitably pile up on your roof. To protect your roof from being overwhelmed by the weight of the snow, take a long broom or snow shovel to get rid of it. Be careful not to be too aggressive, as ice dams, or the layers of ice that form on the roof in winter, tend to glue themselves to shingles. Trying to rip or hack this ice off can damage your roof and uproot shingles and gutters. To help prevent ice dams, keep the attic insulated and leak-free, and try to break off icicles from your gutters to avoid ice buildup.
Above all else, absolutely do not get on top of your roof and apply salt to break up ice dams or remove snow. While suitable for roads in wintertime, salt used for snow- and ice-melting, known as sodium chloride, is highly corrosive and will destroy your roof if applied, significantly increasing the risk of roof collapse and massive roof integrity loss. The last thing you want in the dead of winter is for your roof to crash in on you, snow and all.
Some of the work for roof maintenance can be delegated to professionals, but realistically, being a responsible homeowner means handling some of these conditions yourself. Always be careful and think first when tending to your roof, as taking care of it will take care of your house, and yourself, in turn.