Maintaining your roof may not be one of the top items on your weekend chore list, but what if you knew that taking 5 steps a few times per year could potentially save thousands of dollars on repairs or save even more by extending the service life of the system and delaying the need for a full replacement for years. Here are 2 sets of maintenance steps that can keep money in your pocket and your roof in place for years longer than average service life estimates.
Maintenance for the spring and fall:
1) Do a visual inspection – In the fall, look for accumulations of leaves and debris that should be cleared to prevent them from clogging the drainage system during the first big winter storm. The spring inspection should focus on potential damage to the roofing system from winter storms. For the highest level of protection, do these inspections after extreme weather events as well.
2) Check and clear gutters and downspouts – Much like the visual inspection, check the drainage system in the late fall for clogs resulting from trees dropping their leaves. Run the hose to ascertain that downspouts are running free as well. The spring maintenance routine should focus on the integrity of the system, especially if gutters and downspouts were holding accumulated snow over the winter.
3) Check all flashing – When water seeks the easiest path to flow into a structure, it’s often through weakened flashing that surrounds vents, pipes and chimneys that are cut through the deck. Look for dents and places where flashing has separated from the structure, both of which may be indicative of compromised seals around roof penetrations.
On an “as needed” basis:
4) Keep trees trimmed away from the roof – Trimming tree branches away from the roof prevents several problems including; the depositing of leaves and debris, the wearing down of roofing materials (especially the granules on asphalt shingles) from branches that constantly brush against the roof, and denying access to animals that may try to go from the roof to the attic.
5) Be aware of roofing materials that you see on the ground – Roofing materials that are found on the ground are an indication that there is a problem with the system, either due to long term wear or some sort of event. An example of long term wear on an aging roof would be increasing amounts of granules from an asphalt roof or chips and splinters from wood shake materials. Other common events that damage roofing materials aren’t weather-related at all and occur when structures such as satellite dishes or air conditioning systems are installed. In these instances damage may occur in two ways; roofing materials (particularly tile and slate) are broken as the installer walks across the roof or the installation of the structure snaps the shingles.
Engaging in these regular maintenance steps can keep your roofing system’s performance at its highest level and lead to repairs while problems are at their earliest stages. The benefits are twofold; your roof will last longer and cost of repairs will be minimized.