We all know that regardless of how much we’d like them to, roofs just do not last forever. There comes a time when replacement or repair is necessary, but with that being said, there are ways to ensure you are protecting your residential roof and taking proper care of your shingles in order to extend the life of your home’s roof as long as possible. After all, your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the outdoor elements!
A number of factors can contribute to the overall health of your roof, and we’re going to be covering some simple, but important, DIY inspection and maintenance tips that you should implement seasonally into your home-maintenance routines in order to help preserve your roof.
Please do keep in mind that although these tips will help you spot issues early, it is vital to have your roof inspected on a regular basis by professional roofers who have a trained-eye for areas of concern you may not notice.
Aside from ensuring your family is well-protected, keeping on top of your roofing inspections may help save you money in the long run, maintain your curb-appeal, and preserve your warranty. So, if you’re wondering where to start with routine roof inspections and how you can better care for your roof, keep on reading for our top tips!
Key Areas of DIY Roof Inspections
1. Trim Surrounding Tree Branches
Overhanging branches may pose a potential threat to the structural integrity of your home’s roof. Wind, ice, snow, and other incremental weather can cause tree branches to shake and move around, hitting and impacting your roof.
Branches may also fall off completely and damage your roofing structure. It’s important to ensure tree branches are regularly trimmed if they are near your roof to avoid unnecessary damage.
2. Ensure You Clean Gutters and Eavestroughs
Clogged gutters and eavestroughs can become a significant hazard for both your roof and the supporting structures that hold it up. When gutters and eavestroughs become obstructed with leaves, branches, and other debris, any rain will begin to rise up instead of wash down as intended, which creates an opportunity for vulnerabilities in your roof by way of moisture damage, leaking, and mold.
It’s important to ensure that your gutters and eavestroughs are clear of any debris, especially in the spring and fall, in order to avoid potentially expensive issues down the line. If you don’t feel comfortable getting to your gutters and eavestroughs yourself, it is advised to work with a professional who can help clean them out for you.
3. Inspect Your Shingles
This is one that is better done by professionals, but we’re including it because you may be able to spot some issues with your own eye as well. It’s always wise to do a visual inspection to get an overview of whether or not there is any obviously significant damage.
This tip is especially important after harsher winter months, as wind and significant precipitation may affect your shingles, but UV rays from the sun may also compromise your shingles over time, so in general, it is a good idea to visually inspect them seasonally for any glaring issues.
4. Look for Rust
Mental components of a roof such as roof flashings, metal chimneys and antenna mounts may rust over time and leave reddish or brown stains on your asphalt shingles. It is essential to inspect for rust periodically, and if you do notice any, it is important to work with a professional in order to determine the underlying cause of the rusting and how it can be improved to extend the life of your shingles.
5. Prevent Ice Dams
In climates like the ones we typically experience in Canada, periods of heavy snowfall can prove to be tricky for roofs in more ways than one. The warmth from the top of your home, specifically your attic, melts the snow that sits on your roof. As the melted snow slowly trickles down your roof and reaches cooler areas near the bottom, it can refreeze and create what is known as an ice dam.
As this process happens continually over time and additional meltwater becomes trapped, it can start to seep through your roofing structure and create stains and contribute to other issues such as lifting and peeling. In order to prevent ice dams from forming, it’s important to ensure that your attic stays cool enough throughout the colder months despite the heating in your home. This can be done by ensuring your attic insulation and ventilation are performing well, which we will cover next.
6. Inspect Attic Insulation and Ventilation
Properly insulated and ventilated attic spaces don’t just play an important role in the health of your roof; they also work to save you money on your monthly energy bills by ensuring your attic temperatures are maintained.
Without proper ventilation and insulation, your attic and roof’s structural integrity may become victim to moisture, water damage, and meltwater issues leading back to ice dams. Having your attic professionally inspected will help ensure that you have the correct amount of insulation installed and that there are no rotting issues relating to a lack of proper ventilation, but a quick check yourself may help you notice and irregularities in the way the insulation in your attic is looking.
7. Examine Roof for Animal or Pest Damage
The elements are not the only things that may pose a threat to our roofs! It’s important to keep an eye out for uninvited guests who may try to make a home out of our roofing structure – especially during the cooler months.
Bugs, rodents, birds, and squirrels all try to find space to keep warm throughout the winter, and any possible weakened entry points into the underside of your roof can be a common spot for them to attempt cozying up.
Having animals make a home inside your roof can end up causing a lot of structural integrity and performance issues over time, decreasing your roof’s lifespan. It’s important to take a look for any signs of animal activity and call a professional pest control specialist to help if you notice any.
8. Check Roof Flashing
Flashing are the strips of metal that run along a roof’s edges and help keep water out of areas that your shingles may not be able to cover properly (e.g., near skylights, chimneys, where pipes extend outside of your home, etc.).
Over time flashing may lift, crack, rust, or separate which is an indication that a main part of your roof protection system is no longer functioning properly and should be looked at. Flashing should be intact and firm against your roof, so if you notice that it isn’t, it may be time for a professional inspection before water penetration leads to more serious damage.
Aside from the main points listed above, there are a few other factors you may want to keep an eye out for as you perform your seasonal roof inspections yourself:
Cleanliness – Your roof should generally be free of debris, excess dirt, or other obstructions that could be interfering with proper function and water run-off. Clear out any debris that you feel comfortable and safe removing on your own and call a professional for the rest.
Nails – When looking at your roof, you should never be able to spot any protruding nails, as they should lay flat and flush with your shingles. If you are noticing any nails popping out, it may be time to have your roof repaired or fully replaced.
Ponding – With sloped roofs, it is important to keep an eye out for any sagging or other signs of cracking, buckling, or noticeable imperfections. If you notice any, it’s time to call in a professional roofing contractor to take a look.
Routine Roof Inspections Are Vital
Your roof plays an integral role in the protection and safety of your home. It keeps you and your family safe from the elements, and it can be easy to take this for granted. Knowing how to properly inspect your home’s roof on a regular basis may help you spot any problems or issues before they escalate and turn into larger problems.
To ensure your roof remains in good health for the duration of its lifespan, we recommend getting it professionally inspected annually as well – with fall being the recommended season to do so.
We’re Here to Help
Now that you know the top things you should be doing and keeping an eye out for on your own to preserve your roof, we hope you will begin to keep a better eye out.
T. Simpson Roofing is a team of qualified, licensed and experienced roofers who are equipped to handle all aspects of a roof replacement with integrity and skill. At T. Simpson Roofing, we can help answer any questions, take care of your annual professional inspections, and perform any required maintenance or repairs. Call us to get started with scheduling an inspection!