As the largest uninterrupted part of your home, the roof is the first line of defense against the elements. In the Pacific Northwest, we get four seasons-worth of elements. Sun, rain, snow, and ice – sometimes all in the same day. The roof takes a beating protecting us, so why not spend some time protecting it?
Many homeowners take their roofs for granted. Sure, we may clean the gutters every fall, but other than that, we just expect the roof to be there for us. There are steps you can take to make your roof be there for you as long as it’s supposed to.
Get the most out of your roof
Many of these roof maintenance tips can be performed by you. Other tasks might need the attention of a professional roofing contractor, or at least some research and caution. No matter how you choose to proceed, extending the life of your roof is the name of the game.
Cleaning The Gutters
Hopefully, you already do this at least once a year. Near the end of Fall, after all of the leaves have fallen is ideal. Keeping the gutters clean before the cold weather hits is the best way to prevent ice dams. A clogged gutter can trap water, and when that water freezes, new precipitation has nowhere to go.
It becomes held in place, freezes, and pushes back up under the shingles. When it freezes, it can push the shingles up, allowing more water to creep up and freeze. After a period of time, water will start draining directly under the shingles, posing a threat to the rest of the roofing system and your home.
Inspect Your Roof
This leads us to the next step in maintaining your roof: the eyeball test. Are your shingles beginning to buckle at the edges? After a big windstorm, are any of the shingles bent or even missing? Do you see any split cedar shakes or slate tiles cracked or broken?
Any of these issues can lead to water damage inside the house. Having broken or missing shingles repaired or replaced will keep the roofing system in good shape. Depending on the roofing materials, you may need to call a roofing company for repairs.
Get rid of the green
During your visual inspection, do you notice a lot of moss, lichens, or algae growing on your roof? This vegetation can hold water in place or destroy the integrity of the shingle. In either case, water will find its way to the underlayment and decking underneath, leading to necessary roof repairs.
Moss itself can be removed with a broom, just be careful not to push too hard or you might remove the granules that help protect the shingles. Algae and lichen – which may appear as black or white streaks – need to be removed by professionals. Once the roof is clean, add products that stop their growth annually.
Check The Edges
While certain roofing materials may last 75 to 100 years, it won’t make a difference if the flashing is in bad shape. Found around skylights, valleys, roof vents, and chimneys, flashing is used to move precipitation around obstructions without getting under the shingles.
Flashing itself is pretty durable, but the caulking around it is not. If you see flashing pulling away from the house or vents, it probably means the caulk has failed. Applying more caulk is a relatively easy and inexpensive solution. If you’re afraid of heights, we recommend calling in a professional.
Look Under The Roof
After a few inches of snow, you can always tell which homes have good or bad insulation. If the snow stays in place, it means no heat is escaping and the snow isn’t melting. If the snow is gone the next day, the opposite is true. If snow is constantly melting and refreezing, it could lead to ice dams as well.
Check county codes to make sure your attic insulation is up to code. If not, consider installing the appropriate insulation – this will save on heating bills as well as preventing unnecessary damage and/or repair costs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.
When You Need A Professional
Some signs of a compromised roof aren’t as easy to remedy, such as water stains on the ceiling. That points to a serious roof leak and may need more attention than a simple shingle replacement or caulking. That’s when it’s time to call Warner Roofing and Construction.
We’ve been installing, replacing, and repairing roofing systems for almost thirty years in the Vancouver area. We understand what four-season weather can do to a roof year after year, so we know what to look for when a problem arises. Notice something wrong with your roof? Contact us for a free estimate. We’ll get the job done right, fast, and safe.