Roof Maintenance Tips to Help Prevent Costly Roof Leaks

One of the most costly experiences when it comes to home ownership is having to fix a leaky roof. Aside from the monetary aspect, most property owners don’t have the necessary expertise to hop on the roof and fix the problem themselves anyway. Having a routine maintenance schedule can help you avoid the hassle of having to deal with the problem of a leaky roof. If worse comes to worst, I would strongly recommend that you make use of a professional roof contractor when it comes time to fix a leaky roof. Even for professionals, finding the source of the leak can be its own mountain to climb as water rarely lines up with where it comes into the roof. Once on the roof, I have a few simple tips that you can follow to help locate and prevent potential leaks and possible damage causing problems.

The Usual Suspects

Protrusions through your roof are often the most common causes of a leaky roof due to the fact that they halt the natural flow of water off the roof. These are the first places that should be checked during a routine maintenance inspection, and are often the main sources of leaks.

  • Chimneys: are your top source of leaks. Your chimney needs to be properly step, or counter flashed, and should be properly sealed using a bitumen or other water-repellent material.
  • Skylights: tend to trap water between them. Check that the flashing is in good order and not loose, and check if the skylight itself is not possibly leaking.
  • Plumbing Vents: need to have properly applied and uncracked neoprene or rubber seal to prevent water entry. Check whether they need to be sealed or painted, and have a look if there is any damage that has been caused by critters, either to the pipe or the flashing.

The Living Edge

Not only is the drip edge an aesthetically pleasing feature, it plays an important part in keeping water away from your fascia boards, and off the roof. A missing or badly damaged drip edge is a common source of leaks in eaves as well as a common cause of wood rot in fascia boards.  Heavily wind-driven rain is often the cause of water entering the gap between the roof deck and the fascia board. Your drip edge also helps to keep unwanted insects and critters out of your home.

Step Flashing Areas of Interest

There are some areas around your roof that should be fitted with step flashing, as these areas are common sources of leaks throughout your house. Once on the roof, time should be taken to give the following a thorough inspection:

  • Dormers
  • Roof-to-wall transitions
  • Any place where a low-quality sealant or mastic has been used in the past

Don’t Neglect Your Attic

Although the roof usually gets the brunt of it when it comes to leaks and water damage, often the attic is overlooked as the actual culprit. Improper ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning, condensation, vent fans, and animal or bug infestations can all lead to major problem in your roof. What to look out for:

  • Algae stains on the interior plywood
  • Mold
  • Soaked insulation when it hasn’t been raining
  • Black rings or rust around nails – it’s the first sign that moisture is condensing in your attic
  • Check your ventilation, it may be causing your attic to overheat or accumulate moisture

A thorough inspection, performed regularly by a professional roofing contractor, can monitor and assess your roof’s condition to help prevent any large and costly damages. It is recommended by the National Roofing Contractors Association that roof inspection and maintenance be performed regularly to help avoid any future problems. I hope this helped, and happy roofing.

Tips for maintaining Your Flat Roof

If you are the proud owner of flat roof, then having it looking its best and maintaining its value is absolutely essential. Having a regular checkup and maintenance schedule will ensure that your roof will withstand the harsh environmental changes from season to season, and will slow the overall aging process. Not only will a regular maintenance schedule provide you and your loved ones with a greater degree of safety and peace of mind, but it will also protect the investment that you have made in your home. The following are a few pointers on how to best maintain your flat roof, and keep it lasting for years.

Ponding on Your Roof

Flat roofs are at particular risk of Ponding. This occurs when water accumulates in pools on the roof, and the roof in turn becomes saturated. This is a serious structural condition that can lead to leaks and water damage, and should be dealt with swiftly and correctly. It may even be the leading cause of your roof collapsing, creating further damage to the interior of your home. The only corrective measure for this issue is to install tampered installations.

Splitting in Roofing Materials

While inspecting your roof top, keep an eye out for splits or long cracks. If they are present they will be visible parallel joints of your installation, and will often appear spongy. These types of cracks are often caused by poor workmanship, freeze-thaw conditions, or surface stresses. Surfaces where ponding occurs will have a similarly spongy feel.

Roof Material Blistering

Blistering is another thing to look out for when conducting your roof inspection. Blistering develops in the felt layers and substrate, from air that has been trapped, creating a separation in the felt layers. If you happen to find roofing spots that are raised and spongy-looking, they are more often than not a sign of blistering.

Roof Material Ridging

Ridging usually occurs in bituminous roofs between the insulation joints, and is due to moisture that condenses under the felt. Ridges may appear as long and narrow cracks, and are more often than not the result of the roof membrane being poorly attached.

Membrane Fasteners

Fasteners become loose if they are either not long enough, or have been compromised due to water saturation. If your roof uses a fastener system, it should be thoroughly checked for loosed fasteners.

 Felt Movement

Felt layers can come loose for a number of reasons, the most common of them being exposure to excessive heat, or if the wrong bitumen is used on your roof. These issues could cause all or some of the felt layers on your roof to shift or move over time.

Snow Removal

Heavy snowfall is a real danger to flat roof home owners, putting enormous amounts of pressure on your roof, and possibly endangering your family’s lives. An accumulation of 12 inches of snow or more, and it will be time to get it removed. It is best to hire someone that has the relevant equipment and experience as removing snow from your roof can be quite a dangerous assignment.

I am sure that these flat roof maintenance tips are going to help save you money, and prolong the life of your precious roof. Remember to do regular checks and inspections on your roof, and take care to practice the highest safety measures to ensure your continued good health. Good luck.

Developing Your Roof Maintenance Checklist

It is recommended by roofing professionals that you have your roof inspected at least twice a year, usually before and after the extreme weather seasons. Regular roof inspections and maintenance can, and will, increase the longevity of your roof, while not inspecting your roof has been known in some cases to void your roof warranty. Of course, there are definite advantages to checking your own roof. Other than saving you money, self-checking will give you a more intimate understanding of your domain, to help you make more informed maintenance decisions in the future.

When deciding to do your own inspection and maintenance, developing and having a checklist is critical. It will ensure that you do not overlook any important elements that need a proper inspection. Additionally, your proof of proper maintenance can be submitted as proof for insurance and warranty claims. Here are some important elements that need to be included in your checklist:

1. Interior Signs of Roof Problems

Before climbing onto the roof, it is important to check the interior for signs of any problems that may be lurking. Look for signs of water damage, such as: mold, mildew, drips and leaks, water stains, or peeling paint. Be particularly vigilant with this inspection as water often tends to cause damage away from the place where it comes in. Areas of your roof that hold heavy loads, either snow or equipment, should have their beams and trusses checked annually for any structural damage, rot, or rust.

2. Check for Cleanliness

Once atop the roof, inspect for any accumulation of dirt and debris. These can cause roofing surfaces to decay prematurely, and clog your drains. Fallen tree limbs may do damage to membranes and other elements aswell. Perhaps a tree maintenance schedule is in order?

3. Check Your Roof Surface

Check for any signs of damage or weathering.

  • Flat Roof: low spots will collect standing water and are a big red flag. Note any blistering, cracking, holes or tears, and abrasions in the membrane.
  • Gravel-Top Roof: check for gravel uniformity and bear spots
  • Metal Roofs: Inspect for corrosion and loose/damaged panels
  • Tile and Shingle Roofs: Check for any loose or missing pieces and replace immediately

As a note, also check for any fungus or moss buildup and remove it to prevent roof deterioration.

4. Expansion Joints

Inspect them thoroughly for cuts, gaps, and tears, if they are present on your roof.

5. Flashings

These areas do need some extra attention. Make sure that they are not pulling away from the roof or leaving gaps, this is a massive potential for water entry. These areas should also be checked for mold.

6Drains

Backed up water, watermarks, moss, and mold are all signs of clogged drains. Flashing and seals also need to be checked and if damaged, should be repaired or replaced immediately.

7. Exterior Structural Components

Chimneys, vents, skylights, and other equipment should appear on a separate checklist as they are all of equal importance. Look for signs of aging, such as peeling paint, rust and rot, as well as the cleanliness of their surfaces. It is important to look for any structural damage that may be present.

8. Old Repairs

This is rather important, as old repairs, if not done by professionals, are often the first things to break or damage. List each repair separately so that when it comes to future inspections, you know exactly what to look for. Check to make sure the previous repair is still in good order and working properly.

I hope that these checklist tips will help you to better care for and maintain your roof. After all, it does take pretty good care of you.

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Roof

So, winter has finally come and gone. The snow is melting, birds are chirping, and the bi-annual task of checking for any roof damage is again upon us. The harsh winter weather is no stranger to causing some serious roof damage during its time with us each year, and as a homeowner, you know that your Spring to-do list includes checking and repairing any damage sustained by your roof over the winter season.

The buildup of ice and snow, dramatic temperature changes, and heavy wind can all cause flashing and shingles to come loose or break apart, leading to cracks and leaks, causing water damage and who knows how much untold misery. Here I am going to go through some Spring maintenance tips for your roof to ensure its lifespan, as well as maintain the reliability of your home.

Gutters: Inspection, Maintenance and Repairs

Gutters that are not properly maintained are going to shorten the life of your roof, and Spring is the best time to empty your gutters of large chunks of debris that have accumulated over the winter, either by hand or using a garden trowel. I would also recommend you take a power washer to your gutters, following the debris removal, to really clean out the remaining dirt buildup. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of big trees, you will have to check you gutters more frequently to increase their lifespan and effectiveness.

It is important to note that if you have tree overhangs or large branches in and around your roof, it’s best to take a proactive approach to trimming those branches. It will better serve your maintenance needs, and your roofs longevity.

Roof Shingles and Their Integrity

Once you have finished with the gutters, it’s time to conduct an inspection of the shingles on your roof and do some basic repairs, if necessary. Look for any signs of visible damage, such as missing shingles, warping, discoloration, or grain loss. These are all signs that shingles need to be replaced or repaired. Cracks that have formed in some shingles, due to the extreme shifts in temperatures, can cause your roof to leak, and damage the interior structure of your roof. These need to be repaired or replaced without delay.

Shingles can easily be replaced by simply removing the old one, and perhaps the two or three next to it, and after removing the nails and fasteners, simply slide the new shingle into place and nail it down. Cover each nail with some roofing cement, to prevent water penetration, and simply weigh the shingle down overnight to guarantee a tight and water-proof seal.

Flashing Repairs

Flashing are the metal strips that are used to seal gaps and prevent water from leaking under your shingles. They are an important part of the roofing structure and need to be properly maintained in order for them to be effective. During the winter months, the hard rains and strong winds may cause your roofs flashing to come loose, allowing water to come into your home. In turn this could lead to the accumulation of mold and the creation of unsightly water damage. It is especially important that you check the flashing around your chimney, skylights and valley regions, as these are the most prone to damage during stormy circumstances.

I hope that this has been helpful in guiding you through the task of Spring roof maintenance and its importance. I wish for you a safe and fulfilling Spring roof maintenance experience.