Residential Roof Maintenance Is Important
A properly installed roof system is key to any building or structure. Sadly, roof leaks happen and can cause major issues for the building owner costing thousands of dollars or more. To avoid these situations, it is imperative to have a proper roof maintenance plan. Before we continue, let me say that it is best practice to consult the contractor who installed your roof to see if they have any recommended roof maintenance programs or suggestions. By using a certified contractor, you can be assured that you will not void your warranty and will receive the best possible service. Doing any work on a roof can be extremely dangerous and could also void manufacturers’ and contractors’ warranties.
If you don’t own a commercial building and are wondering if you can do anything like this for your home. Well, luckily, yes you can. Here are some tips for how to get the most out of your roof at home.
1. Regularly Inspect Metal Components
This is strongly recommended and in some cases is required to maintain a system warranty. Like a commercial roof, penetrations still account for 95 percent of leaks. Check any vent pipes, vents, gutters, and anything else that breaks the plane of the roof. Clean out your gutters regularly. Clogged gutters can back up and cause water to enter your home as well as drip over and lead to major foundation damage. Check for rust, rusted metal not only doesn’t function as it should, but the oxidized material could expedite the break down of shingles or other metals nearby. A detail to pay close attention to as you do this is the caulking. Caulk shrinks over time and can leave exposed edges and fasteners.
2. Trim any trees that pose a threat to the roof
Trees shed organic material. Leaves and twigs fall on the roof and over time they decompose. This allows for the growth of moss, algae, and other plant matter. Growing plants can lift shingles and separate the protective material from the home. It also becomes a food source for bacteria and some animals that can further break down your roof.
3. In the winter, keep an eye out for ice dams
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining. The water that is trapped behind the dam can soak into your decking and leak into your home. Moisture that enters your system can lead to mold and mildew inside the home, which can cause respiratory problems. Ice dams are caused by a variance of temperatures on your roof. The roof gets its heat from the home and the variances are typically attributed to heat loss by air leakage, the chimney, and exhaust systems. The warm system melts the snow, and the cooler section allows ice to freeze and build up down slope forming a dam of standing water. To avoid this, you should clear snow from your roof. Do this carefully and ideally with some form of “roof rake”. If you want to control this situation ahead of time, make the ceiling airtight and find any air leakage points and address them.
4. Inspect shingles for their integrity and watertightness
Whether they are asphaltic, wood, slate, metal, or any other type. The condition of your shingles will tell you the condition of the roof. As shingles age they are exposed to the ultraviolet light of the sun. After time they can dry out and become more brittle. When it comes to asphalt shingles you should check for granule loss (the texture). If your shingles don’t have any texture, it is probably time to replace them. If everything looks fine from the ground and up above, you only have one more place to look.
5. Review your attic for insulation and waterproofing
The decking of the roof will show any water damage that has occurred due to leaks. If you see something don’t panic, it could be old damage. Determine if it is from a current or past leak and act accordingly. If you do catch something, act. Just like in commercial roofing, a small problem that goes untreated will come back bigger and become exponentially more expensive.
If you think your roof may have some of these issues but are not comfortable tackling roof maintenance yourself, contact JR & Co. today! One of our trained and certified inspectors will come out and take a look to give you peace of mind you need regarding your home’s largest asset.