Small indicators of roof problems can often be spotted by a professional roofer during regular maintenance visits. They might include discoloration on the ceiling, indicating potential leaks, or excessive granules in the gutters, suggesting shingles are nearing the end of their life cycle.
A thorough inspection includes looking at the condition of soffit material, down spouts and all drains. It also entails checking the flashings, gutters, and equipment curbs.
Trees are beautiful and provide many benefits, including shade that cools your roof and prevents soil erosion around the house. However, they can also cause problems if their branches hang over your roof. When this happens, it’s important to have them trimmed regularly. The professionals at Texas Traditions Roofing share a few reasons why it’s so important to trim tree branches as part of your roofing maintenance plan:
Keeping tree limbs away from the roof keeps them from rubbing against the surface of the shingles and causing damage. In addition, it prevents organic debris from accumulating on the roof. This includes leaves, twigs and needles that can trap moisture on the shingles and lead to rot. Additionally, it can prevent rainwater from flowing through the gutter system and causing clogs that can lead to water backups.
Trimming the limbs also keeps animals like squirrels and raccoons from accessing your roof. They may simply want to take a rest up there, but they can also do more serious damage. They can scratch the shingles and pierce the roofing membranes. They can also drop nuts and other fruits that crack or stain the shingles.
The ideal distance between the shingle surface and the tops of the limbs is about six to ten feet. This allows the branches to sway in the wind without touching the roof and reduces their chances of falling on the roof during a storm.
Finally, it’s important to keep trees trimmed regularly so they don’t overhang a powerline. This can create a fire hazard in the event of a lightning strike or live sparks from a nearby power line.
If you have a lot of large trees on your property, it’s a good idea to hire a professional tree service to trim them twice a year. They will make sure that the limbs are at least six to ten feet away from your home, which keeps them from causing damage and reducing their lifespan. This also makes it less likely that they’ll fall on your home during a storm, which can be expensive to repair.
Clean the North Side of the Roof
This area usually gets the least amount of sun and stays damp longer than other parts of the roof. It’s the perfect environment for the growth of black mold spores, which form those ugly dark streaks that mar most homeowners’ rooftops. These spores grow over time by eating the limestone filler in most shingles, which causes them to darken. If left untreated, the streaks can spread to other shingles and even the house’s structural elements, leading to costly repairs.
Sweep or blow off leaves, twigs and other debris on a regular basis. Over time, these items can trap moisture that promotes the growth of moss and algae.
If you’re planning to clean the north side of your roof yourself, be sure to wear rubber gloves and a face mask to protect against toxic fumes. Avoid using a pressure washer, which can damage the shingles. Instead, mix a solution of bleach and water. Make sure to wet any foundation plantings before spraying the mixture on them. Chlorine bleach kills mosses, mildew and lichen. It’s safer for plants when diluted with water and mixed with a heavy-duty cleaner, such as trisodium phosphate. Professional cleaning services take this into account, spraying the solution sparingly to prevent harming the plants below.
You should also inspect the flashing on your roof regularly. This metal strip seals gaps between components, such as the chimney and vent pipes. If it’s corroded or damaged, water can leak into the house.
A good flashing inspection can help prevent leaks and rot. It’s important to look for any gaps between the flashing and the shingle tabs. Also check the flashing around the chimney and vent pipes to be sure it’s intact.
A strip of zinc or copper placed under a row of shingles near the peak of your roof can also help prevent black mold-like stains. Shingles laced with these metal molecules will run down during a rainstorm, killing the spores. This is a relatively expensive option, but it’s worth the investment to keep your home’s exterior looking beautiful.
Clean the Gutters
The gutters are one part of the roof that can go unnoticed until there’s a problem. Clogged gutters prevent water from flowing away from the home, which can cause rot, foundation damage, and leaks in the walls, ceilings, and siding. Fortunately, cleaning the gutters is not difficult and can be done by yourself or with the help of a roofing contractor.
The best way to clean the gutters is with a power washer. This tool blasts away the dirt and debris that has accumulated in the gutters over time. If you’re going to do this, wear work gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from the flying debris. Be sure to wear sturdy work shoes as well. It may also be necessary to use a ladder to reach the top of the roof and the corners of the gutters. Be sure to check the condition of the ladder before using it and secure it properly.
It’s a good idea to clean out the gutter downspouts as well. A clogged downspout prevents water from draining from the roof, which can cause problems like shingle leaks, bubbling wall paint, and mold. If you notice a blockage in the downspout, you can try directing the hose into the downspout outlet and using a gutter hedgehog to dislodge the obstruction.
When you’re cleaning the gutters, be sure to take care not to scratch or dent the sheathing or fascia boards. This will make the wood more vulnerable to rot and insects. If you notice any scratches or dents, be sure to repaint the boards with exterior latex paint.
It’s a good idea to clean the gutters and downspouts on a regular basis, especially during autumn when leaves fall from the trees. Gutter issues are one of the most common causes of water damage to the home, so be sure to keep your gutters clear! For example, if you live in an area with a lot of rain or snow, cleaning the gutters more often can help to prevent ice dams from forming, which can be very damaging to the roof and the home.
Caulking is a vital part of any roof installation. It helps keep the flashings on a roof tight and creates a seal against rainwater. Unfortunately, if the caulking isn’t properly maintained, it will start to wear down and will eventually cause leaks. That’s why it is so important to have a roofer inspect and replace the caulking during a regular maintenance visit.
A commercial roofing contractor can help with this task if you find that the caulking on your roof is worn or cracked. They can install the proper caulking to provide a watertight seal around penetrations like chimneys, vents, and skylights. They can also repair the flashing and caulking around these penetrations to prevent leaks.
Leaks can also occur around the edges of windows and doors. This is a common problem and can be caused by poorly installed caulking or a loose window frame. If left unchecked this can lead to rot and mold and may cause water damage to the surrounding walls and furniture. Often this type of leak will only be visible in the interior.
Another place where leaks can occur is around the edges of dormers. This is because they channel water into corner boards, window edges, and siding. This can cause problems with wood and paint as well as rotting of the metal trim at the corners of the roof. The best way to avoid these types of leaks is by regularly re-caulking these areas with bituminous caulking available in tubes.
Finally, the most common source of roof leaks is at the vents and pipe boots. These are not usually fixed with caulking alone as the cracks in the housing often require a full replacement of the vent boot or a new piece of flashing. Missing nails at the base of these also cause leaks and can be replaced with rubber washer screws to prevent future problems.