You have a lot on your plate and adding another home maintenance chore is probably the last thing you want to hear about. But if you haven’t made it a habit to check up on your roof at least twice a year (at the change of seasons: spring, autumn) you may be in for nasty surprises. Regular inspections and maintenance are the only way to preserve the roofing system so that it will protect you and your home successfully. Inspections aren’t all that hard, as long as you know what you’re looking for and where to start. In the spirit of neighborly help, here’s a very basic rundown of how to perform your own roof check and keep an eye on its maintenance.
The first thing you can do is start being aware. Your roof is up high and chances are you don’t think to look up there too often. But many of the most serious roofing issues can be prevented or treated early enough that they won’t accrue dreaded costs and need complete re-installation. So, look up. When you’re getting out of the car or driving up the road to your house, just look up at the roof. Get to know what it looks like regularly so that you’ll know what something doesn’t look right. If you haven’t looked up there before look for uniformity, shingles shouldn’t be missing; dark spots shouldn’t cover one area. After storms remind yourself to intentionally look up and make sure the roofing is intact.
Now it’s time for something a little more proactive. Get a flashlight and go up into your attic. Look all over and note these four problems if you see them:
- Check for sagging rafters or decking. This is the structure that actually holds your roof up.
- Make note of dark spots where trails of water or mold have grown in.
- Look for water stains or large water spots. Water damage indicates that something is leaking.
- Turn off your flashlight and look all over, make sure you can’t see any streams of light. Light shining through into the attic means that there is a hole all the way through the shingles, which is never good.
Go outside with a good ladder, you need to climb up to take a good look at the roof. You’re looking for any sign of damage. From loose flashing to curling shingles and roof rot.
- Check for damage to shingles. Whether they’re missing, bald, or torn and cracked they’ll need to be replaced.
- Check in the gutters. Make sure that there aren’t leaves and other debris clogging them. Also check specifically for what looks like sand in the gutters. The granules on the shingles that help them protect you from the weather can wear off or wash away. Bald shingles with excessive granule loss should be replaced before the small problem becomes a much larger one.
- Check for strange colors on your shingles. Dark spots, green spots, rust colored spots; these can all be indicative of water damage, mold, fungi, even algae that will eat away at your roof.
By taking the time to check your roof regularly you’ll know when shingles need to be replaced or flashing should be repaired. Responding promptly to these situations and getting a roofing expert to inspect and offer professional maintenance service will save you money and stress in the long run!