Roof Maintenance – How to Keep Your Roof in Good Shape
A properly maintained roof is a home investment that will last longer, reduce energy costs, and keep the interior in better condition. It also catches problems before they become major issues.
Regular maintenance tasks include cleaning the gutters, removing moss, and inspecting caulking. In addition, professional Roofers West Chester can ensure that the insulation and ventilation are working correctly to improve energy efficiency and lower utility bills.
Inspect the Flashing
Over time, it’s very common for flashing to become loose. This happens because either the screws that anchor it in place come undone or the metal wears away from the spot where it’s attached to wood framing. This leaves flashing susceptible to leaks and rust, which can lead to the deterioration of the roof covering.
The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to correct. Simply remove the screw or nail, cut a piece of flashing that is several inches larger than the hole, and secure it in place with roof cement. It’s also a good idea to add a liberal coating of roof cement around the edges of the flashing to prevent water from leaking in the future.
It’s important to pay special attention to the flashing in the areas of the roof most likely to leak, such as the perimeter, walls, penetrations and equipment curbs. A detailed inspection will help you identify problems with these areas of the roof before they result in major damage to the roof covering and interior of the home.
For example, a chimney requires two pieces of flashing to prevent rainwater from running under the flashing and leaking into the house. A detailed inspection will reveal whether the flashing has been properly installed. Chimney flashing should be anchored to the bricks with mortar rather than to the shingle surface, and it should be protected from exposure to the sun’s heat by a protective flashing.
A roof inspection will also help you identify any places where the flashing is not adequately sealed or covered. For example, if the flashing is not sealed to the edge of the roof, moisture can creep down and cause rot or leaks. Check for a seal around all penetrations, including electrical boxes and vents. Also check for a seal around concrete rings that anchor pipe and equipment stand pipes, as well as any metal flashing that covers these penetrations.
A regular roofing maintenance schedule will keep your roof in good condition. A roofing professional can perform a thorough roof inspection and repair any problems that are identified.
Trim Tree Branches
Tree limbs that hang over your roof can damage it in a variety of ways. They scrape against shingles during windy days and may strip off layers of asphalt, leading to leaks, mold and deterioration. They can also fall during storms, causing serious property damage. Fortunately, you can protect your roof by regularly trimming the branches that overhang it.
Ideally, the tips of all tree branches should be at least six feet from your home. However, some large trees may need to be planted 20 to 30 feet away from your house to keep their branches a safe distance from your roofing.
If you have a large, mature tree near your home, it is a good idea to call in a professional arborist to trim the branches that overhang your roof. It can be dangerous for you to try to do this yourself, especially since it involves climbing up a ladder and working at a high elevation. One wrong cut could lead to expensive repairs to your roof or even your house.
An experienced arborist can trim tree limbs without damaging your roof. They can do it quickly and efficiently, too. They can also recommend other tree services, such as tree thinning or a canopy lift, that can improve the health of your tree and prevent future problems with its limbs.
When removing a large branch, start by locating the branch collar (the area where the branch connects to the trunk). This is easier to spot on some trees than others, but you should look for a ridge or circle around the base of the branch. This is where you should make your first cut, cutting about a quarter of the way through the limb. Next, move up a few inches from that and cut another quarter of the way through the branch. Finally, remove the remaining limb from the top of the branch.
Avoid pruning a tree too much, as it can cause problems with its growth habits. For example, some trees drop heavy nuts that can do significant damage to a roof. If you have a walnut tree or any other type of fruit tree near your roof, consider having it removed by an arborist instead of trying to do it yourself.
Depending on where you live and the surrounding environment, it is very common for debris to accumulate on a roof. If there are trees in the area, twigs, pine needles, leaves, and branches will all fall from the tree onto the roof on a regular basis. This debris should be removed as often as possible to prevent damage.
The easiest way to remove this debris is with a blower. This works well for light debris like twigs and leaves. However, the blower must be used with care to avoid causing any further damage to the roof surface. It’s also important to choose a day that is not rainy or windy when you are cleaning the roof. A slick or windy roof could cause you to slip and hurt yourself.
It’s also a good idea to clean the gutters while you are working on the roof. Keeping the gutters free of debris will help ensure they function properly and prevent water from building up on the roof. This can lead to ponding and other roofing damage.
Another benefit of a clean roof is that it’s easier to see the areas of the roof that may need repair. Often times, a small missing shingle will go unnoticed until there is a major storm that causes the roof to leak or collapse. By regularly cleaning the roof and inspecting it for damage, you can catch these minor issues before they become bigger problems.
When the shingles and other parts of the roof are free of debris, it’s also a great time to check for any leaking spots inside the home or attic. If there are any, this is the ideal time to have them fixed by a professional.
Whether you’re removing the debris with a broom, blower, or water hose, be sure to work from the ground and only use a gentle amount of pressure. Too much pressure can damage the roof, especially if there are any cracks or cuts. Also, be sure to always clear the debris from the gutters before you rinse the roof with a hose.
Inspect the Shingles
A roof inspection should include a close look at the shingles. This is especially important in areas that experience frequent hail storms. While hail damage may seem cosmetic, dents or dimples in shingle granules are the first signs of erosion that can gradually eat away the top layer of shingles and lead to leaks in rainy seasons. The color of a shingle is also an indication of its condition. A shingle that has lost its silvery-gray patina may have mold, moss or algae growth growing on it, which can damage the underlying material and cause leaks. If a shingle is discolored, it should be removed and a moss-killing solution applied to prevent regrowth.
In addition to examining shingles, homeowners should walk around the entire perimeter of their roof and inspect the flashing. This is particularly important in areas that are difficult to access from the ground or a ladder, such as under eaves, overhangs and gutters. The flashing is the metal strips that seal gaps between different components of your roof, such as chimneys and vent pipes. Flashing is also prone to corrosion and rust, so homeowners should look for any signs of these problems.
If you have a roof that is primarily made of asphalt shingles, you should look for any shingle curling or buckling. These are signs that the shingle is reaching the end of its life and should be replaced. You should also check for any shingles that are loose or lifting. A gentle pull on a shingle will determine if it is loose, which can allow water to seep underneath the shingles and damage the roofing materials and framing of your home.
If you notice any of these problems during your roof inspection, it is recommended that you call a professional roofing contractor to examine your roof. They are trained and experienced in assessing damage to a roof and coming up with an appropriate repair plan. Besides identifying damaged shingles, a roofing professional will also examine the attic for moisture and structural damage. They will also ensure that your attic has adequate ventilation to prevent condensation, which can rot the wood framing of your house.