A well-maintained roof helps prevent costly repairs and replacement. It also prolongs the life of the building.
Debris should be removed from the roof surface as it restricts drainage, accelerates membrane deterioration, and poses puncture hazards. Gasket head fasteners should be inspected to ensure they are not loose.
Leaks occur frequently at flashings, perimeter parapet walls, penetrations, and equipment curbs. The flashings should be inspected for physical damage and deterioration.
The soffit and fascia might seem like decorative elements intended to make your roof look finished, but these boards have a much more important role. They keep moisture out and increase ventilation in the attic, allowing your roofing structure to survive long-term weather damage. As such, they should be inspected regularly to check for damage and worn materials.
A damaged soffit and fascia are often the first sign of problems in the roofline, as they protect the rafters from water intrusion and other outdoor damage. If these components are damaged, then they can’t do their job well, resulting in a wide range of other issues, including rot and mold.
The simplest thing you can do to see how your soffit and fascia are doing is to walk around the exterior of your home and take a close look at them. Look for cracks and holes, which can give a clear indication of their condition. In addition, check for rotting or discolored wood, which can also give you a sense of their health.
One of the most common signs of damage to your soffit and fascia is mold and mildew. These substances may show up in the form of dark patches or flaking paint, and they’re a sure sign that it’s time to call for repair services.
You should also check for any evidence of pests. This includes rodents, birds, squirrels and mice, which might have chewed through the insulating material or wiring to enter the home. If these creatures are allowed to do their damage, they can cause a whole host of other problems, including fires and smoke in the attic.
While most homeowners do their gutters on a regular basis, they don’t always do the same for their soffit and fascia. It’s a good idea to inspect these areas at least once every spring and fall, or as needed. This way, you’ll be able to catch any damage before it becomes worse. Then, you’ll be able to schedule the repairs that are necessary to keep your home safe and comfortable.
Inspect the Flashing
Flashings are strips of metal or other materials used to seal joints and transitions on the roof that don’t get covered by shingles. They’re often installed around chimneys, vents, valleys and skylights to prevent water infiltration where these features meet or intersect the roof cover. Damaged flashing can allow water to penetrate the roof cover and cause serious problems. It’s essential to inspect the flashing on a routine basis.
If you’re comfortable getting on the roof, you can perform a visual inspection of the flashing. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can have a trusted roofing service do it for you. It’s a good idea to hire a company with certified employees who have the training and equipment needed to carry out a safe, effective roof inspection and any necessary repairs.
While a small portion of the roof, the flashing plays an important role in keeping rain and moisture out of the house, masonry and other structures. It should be inspected for physical damage as well as deterioration from weathering. Common areas where flashings are exposed and easily damaged include curbs where window washers tie off ropes, access points for ladders and hatches, and roof penetrations such as chimneys.
Inspect the flashing from both ground level and inside the attic. Look for gaps or waviness, which may indicate that the flashing is separating from the roof or has been pulled loose. Also, look for rust and corrosion that can speed up the deterioration of the flashing.
Loose or missing flashing leaves the roof vulnerable to leaks and rot. It’s important to inspect the flashing regularly, especially after heavy storms.
During your inspection, it’s a good idea to check for signs of rot on the underside of the shingle and in the gutter system. If you find rot, have it taken care of promptly to avoid further damage and protect the integrity of the roof over time. Likewise, if you notice a section of shingle that is sagging or uneven, have it repaired immediately to prevent further problems. Also, if you spot any moss or lichen growing on the shingle or gutter, have it removed immediately.
Trim Tree Branches
Tree limbs can do a lot of damage to the roof, especially during a storm. They can also be a safety hazard for your family and guests when they grow too close to the house, so it is important to trim them regularly.
The first step is to remove any broken branches that are still attached. This will minimize the risk of decay agents entering the wound and weakening the attachment. For larger branches, it is a good idea to hire an arborist as they have the proper training to make clean cuts that will reduce the chance of future problems.
It is also a good time to thin the crown, which means removing branches that are rubbing against each other or crossing over one another. A well-thinned crown helps a tree resist wind damage better than an unpruned one. If you are going to prune a large branch, the best way to do it is to make a “stub cut,” which involves cutting the branch just beyond the swollen area (called a branch collar) that is located at the base of the branch on most species of trees. The stub is then supported by the broader portion of the branch collar and allowed to heal over the cut. This is much better than a flush cut, which leaves a stub that may not be able to support the weight of a branch and could decay or break off.
Branches that extend over the roof should be cut back to help prevent a buildup of moisture and the subsequent growth of mold or mildew on the shingles. They should also be trimmed to prevent them from overhanging the gutters, which can cause water to backup and rot the fascia or the walls of the home. Keeping trees 10 to 20 feet away from your house is ideal, but this can be difficult to accomplish depending on the type of tree and its canopy.
It is important to keep utility lines clear as well. Overgrown branches can contact and damage power lines, which can result in power outages and fires. Similarly, the branches of a tree that are too close to a house can create a fire hazard and cause damage to the roof or foundation.
Clean the Roof
Cleaning the roof is one of the most important preventive maintenance steps. It removes mold, mildew, lichen and moss as well as cleaning the oxidation on metal roofs. This helps extend the life of the roof and keeps it looking good. The best way to do this is with a low-pressure washing system that uses water under 1,000 psi. It’s safe to use on most roofing materials. You should use plastic drop cloths to protect plants, shrubs, walkways and other features that you don’t want sprayed with the cleaning solution. You should also wear a dust mask to protect your lungs from the dirt, debris and chemicals. It’s also a good idea to have a partner who can help hold the ladder and grab any tools or products you need.
After the roof is cleaned, you should inspect it for damage that needs to be repaired. You should check for any leaks or drips and note them for your contractor. You should also clean out the drains and water test them to ensure that they are not clogged. It is also a good idea to trim any tree branches that are hanging over the roof and may promote the growth of algae or moss.
In addition to removing the organic matter that is growing on your roof, it’s also a good idea to treat it with a biocide to inhibit future growth of moss, lichen and algae. This will keep your roof looking great for longer and save you the cost of having to clean it again in a few years.
After your roof is clean, it’s a good idea to rinse it down with standard water using a garden hose. This will wash away most of the grime, but you may need to go up there with a brush and wipe down the tiles individually if you notice problem spots that aren’t being removed. Be careful not to scrub too hard, or you could damage the shingles and create a leak that would lead to serious water damage inside your home.