A well-maintained roof provides a barrier between you and the elements. Aside from protecting your home from obvious things like torn shingles, it also protects you from less obvious issues like mold and mildew and excess moisture that can cause structural problems.
Inspectors will also examine the condition of penetration seals for things like chimneys, vent pipes, and media installations. They’ll check the flashing for deterioration that can allow water to enter your home and look for moss growth. For professional help, contact Roof Repair Baltimore MD.
When it rains or snows, water flows from your roof to the ground through a series of gutters and downspouts. If these are clogged, the water can back up onto your walls or basement and cause significant damage. Regular cleaning of your gutters and downspouts prevents this from happening.
When cleaning your gutters, be sure to use a sturdy and secure ladder and have someone help you to avoid falling off the roof. Also, make sure to wear long-sleeved work gloves and a pair of garden gloves for protection against sharp branches and other debris.
Start by removing all of the leaves and other large items that have fallen into your gutters. Then, use a hose to wash away the dirt and debris from your gutters and downspouts. This will help to prevent blockages that can occur when the debris becomes wet and swells, which can result in a clogged or overflowing gutter system.
Next, inspect your gutter system for any dents or cracks, and make sure all of the gutter hangers are firmly attached to the house. Leaky gutters can create water intrusion into the home and lead to wood rot, mold, and mildew. Often, cracked neoprene pipe boots are the source of these leaks and should be replaced with new ones to prevent the water from entering the home’s ceilings or walls.
You should also take this opportunity to remove any deteriorating or damaged parts of your gutter system, including downspouts and downspout extensions. During this time, you should also check the condition of your gutter flashing. Loose or ill-fitting flashing can cause water intrusion into the home, so it’s important to make sure that all flashing is properly installed.
Your roof drains can also become clogged with leaves and other debris, which can lead to a lot of problems. In addition to blocking the drainage of rainwater, this debris can cause the gutters to overflow and pull away from your home. To prevent this, you should regularly clear out the underground drains that connect to the downspouts on your gutter system.
Trim tree branches.
The trees around your home provide both beauty and protection, but if their branches are growing too close to your roof, they can cause damage when the wind blows them and also allow leaves to fall on top of your shingles. Regular trimming of tree limbs can help prevent these problems.
When trimming a tree, make sure to use sharp tools and follow the proper steps to avoid damaging the bark or cutting off the wrong branch. Not only will these mistakes cause the branch to fall, but they can also lead to damage to your shingle roof or to the structure of your house itself.
It’s best to train a tree from the start by removing suckers as they form. These weedy-looking growths steal energy from the desired branches, so prune them out as soon as they appear. Then, regularly remove dead or diseased branches and make thinning cuts to promote healthy growth.
A good rule of thumb is to not trim more than 25% of a living crown at one time. Doing so can create a stress point that leads to damage or death, so work on it over the course of several years to maintain the desired shape.
Before making a cut, locate the branch collar. This is the swollen area under the branch that connects it to the trunk. It’s easier to see on some species of trees than others, but you can usually spot it by eyeballing it. When you cut a branch, it’s important to leave the stub slightly beyond the collar so it can heal properly without rot.
Always make the first cut, a notched cut, on the underside of the branch, about a quarter of the way up the limb. This creates a barrier that prevents the limb from falling while it’s being removed. Next, make a second cut, this time on the topside of the limb, about two to four inches beyond the notch. Finally, make a final cut down through the branch, eliminating the stub and ensuring a clean removal. Lastly, don’t forget to apply a fungicide after you’ve made the final cut. This will help prevent fungi that can cause decay and other problems in the tree.
Inspect your shingles.
Whether you have a clay tile, slate, or shingle roof, it is important to inspect your roof regularly. A little time on the ground can help you find potential problems that can be addressed before they become major issues that require costly repairs.
Start your inspection from the ground, looking at your roof from multiple vantage points to observe its overall condition and make notes. Look for things like missing shingles, which expose your home to direct weather damage. Also note any areas of the roof that appear curled, which can be a sign of aging and exposure to extreme weather conditions. You should also take note of any moss or algae growth, especially in shady areas, as these are indicators that your roof is not getting enough sun and moisture.
If you have an attic or are able to go into your house, check the interior ceilings and walls for water damage, which may be a result of a faulty roof. You should also check the attic for signs of a leak, such as water stains or mold. If you see any of these, be sure to call in a professional right away to prevent further damage.
Keep in mind that the shingles on your roof will eventually wear down and need to be replaced. It is important to monitor shingle wear and tear on a regular basis to catch any issues before they lead to roof leaks.
It is also recommended to clean your shingle roof periodically, although you should never use a power washer on your shingle roof as this can dislodge the granules that protect it from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Instead, have a professional apply a preventative roof coating that will kill any existing moss and algae while stopping any further growth. This will help extend the life of your shingle roof. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true for your roof. Investing a bit of time and money in preventative maintenance now will save you much more in repair and replacement costs later on.
Remove ice and snow.
Winter brings cold and snow, but a little forethought can keep it from damaging your roof. Besides clearing your walkways and driveway, checking the accumulation on your roof should be a regular part of your home maintenance routine. Ice dams and too much snow can cause a host of problems, from leaks to roof collapses. A few simple steps can prevent this damage and keep your roof in good condition for years to come.
Getting rid of snow and ice is best done as soon as possible to avoid the risk of a collapsed roof or an injury to you or a third party. Using a snow rake, start at the bottom of the roof and work your way up. If you have a gabled roof, start at the ridge and work toward the eaves. Make sure you remove any icicles that form as well. If you must use a ladder, be careful, as icy and wet conditions can create an unsafe situation. Always have a partner to help spot you and hold the ladder steady.
If you find a small ice dam, try spraying warm water on it to loosen the ice and allow it to melt. Be careful not to direct the water directly onto your shingles, as it can lift them and cause water damage. Alternatively, you can use a heated de-icing cable that is hooked to an exterior outlet. You can purchase these cables at most hardware stores or online. They can be expensive to operate, but they can save you the cost of a new roof or repairs from water damage.
These ice dam removal methods are temporary and won’t prevent ice dams from forming in the future. If you want to permanently solve the problem, your roofers will recommend installing attic insulation and ventilation, which help regulate temperature and eliminate moisture buildup.
A clean and functional roof is essential to the protection of your home and its contents. Regular roofing maintenance should keep your roof in good condition for many years to come. Contact a professional contractor today to learn more about protecting your home and family from snow, ice, and precipitation.