Spring is in the air. It’s time to open a few windows and welcome the change of season. Many homeowners will undertake some form of spring cleaning in preparation for summer. Most of the work tends to focus on the interior: clearing some cobwebs, dusting the ceiling fans, shampooing the carpets and putting a shine on the windows.
But after all the winter snow, rain and wind, the outside of the home could use some attention as well. A simple roof checkup should be performed every fall and spring.
When using a ladder and getting up on your roof, your safety is the most important consideration. If you don’t have much experience on ladders, or walking on a roof, it’s recommended that you contact a roofing contractor. Please read our blog post: “Roof access and ladder safety”.
Many people believe that April showers clean the roof, but often the rains compound problems that have accumulated over the winter.
Clean your gutters and check them for wear and damage
Many roofing problems begin with clogged gutters and downspouts. In the winter they can lead to ice build-up and ice dams, but in the spring and summer they can lead to water overflowing. Left unchecked, this can even cause damage to the foundation of the building.
If you are taking care of your gutters yourself, begin by manually cleaning the eavestroughs. Remove any leaves and twigs, as well as any seeds that may have collected over the winter. A common rookie mistake is attempting to flush the gutter with water before removing all the debris. All that gunk can quickly clog the downspout.
When you’ve cleared the gutters and given them a visual inspection, it’s time to flush out any remaining residue with a garden hose. Have someone check that the water is draining properly at the bottom as well.
If this cleanup is a big job, you may want to consider gutter guards before next fall.
Inspect the roof
Start with clearing the roof of any branches, leaves and needles.
Then check for any unsecured roofing materials. Any loose tiles, shingles or membranes should be brought to the attention of a professional roofer. Check that any fascia, coping and other perimeter metal is fastened down. If you find any loose metal, contact your roofer immediately. Moisture can accumulate under movable roof coverings, and metal edging, leading to very costly repairs.
Depending on the roofing material used, check for cracked tiles, curled, buckled or torn shingles, or excessive wear on membranes.
Look for any rust on metal flashings that may contain iron. If you come across any, and the damage is fairly minor, the rust can be removed with a wire brush and the metal can then be painted with a rust-inhibiting primer. Look for any nails that have come up.
Check for cracked caulking. Flashings, vent stacks and drains can be common leak areas. Any soft spots or noticeable holes should be brought to the immediate attention of an experienced professional.
Inspect your roof for signs of fungus, lichen, algae or moss. A few spots here and there can often be handled with a stiff bristle brush or broom; but if there are sizeable patches you’ll want a professional opinion.
It’s time to move inside
Check the ceilings inside your home for any water stains. If you can access the attic you’ll want to check for any signs of moisture, including mold or discolouration. Inspect any vents to make sure the area is properly ventilated.
A few hours every fall and spring can significantly extend the life of your roof and help you catch small problems before they become big ones. If you have any questions at all, please shoot us an email.