You wake up to the sound of heavy rainfall. Your roof which has up until this night withstood the elements fails and in an instant, your warm and cozy bedroom is exposed to the rain and the outdoors. This is the last thing anyone wants to deal with, yet many homes experience roof damage and usually at the most unpredictable of times.
In the event of severe damage to your roof, your home will be exposed to sunlight, rain, wind, and animals. The roof’s design and the quality of its materials contribute largely to its effectiveness and longevity. However, roof maintenance, an essential factor, is often overlooked right up until it is damaged and can no longer be ignored.
We often forget how vulnerable roofs are due to the sense of permanence they project. In reality, constant exposure to sunlight, rain, wind, hail, snow, and birds gradually weaken the roof, slowly eroding its performance. Roof maintenance ensures your roof can protect your home from the elements.
How Often Should You Carry Out Roof Maintenance?
While it is true that the average lifespan of a roof is 20-25 years, it only makes it this far if you’re regularly carrying out roof maintenance, at the very least once a year. Ideally, roof maintenance should be performed 4 times a year.
Roof maintenance is best carried out by a professional, however, you can perform routine roof maintenance if you know what to look for. This requires you to develop a roof inspection checklist. Your checklist will help you ensure you don’t miss any significant detail.
Roof Maintenance Checklist
- Indoor Inspection
Proper roof inspections begin inside the house. Examine the parts of your house that will be directly affected if your roof is damaged. Look for evidence of possible roof damage. This includes signs of water damage like peeling paint and water stains, signs of leaking and drips, bird nests, sunlight streaming in through a crack or hole in the roof, etc. Early detection is key.
- Recent Repairs
You should immediately look for areas of your roof that have undergone repairs in the past. This is because places that have been repaired in the past are typically more vulnerable to damage than parts of your roof that haven’t experienced any damage. Ensure that previous problems are still fixed and don’t need fresh repairs.
These are thin waterproof materials used to direct water from areas of the roof that are most at risk of leaking. During a roof inspection, flashings should be checked carefully. This is because most leaks start from these areas. Inspect for damaged flashings and seals, these will need to be attended to quickly. Also, ensure your flashings aren’t pulling away from your roof and leaving gaps, these are a sign that your roof’s membrane has been damaged.
The roof’s field is where significant damages occur. Because of its size, it should be inspected thoroughly. Take note of any surface wear, holes, degradation, or localized ponding. Problems in your roof’s field should be taken seriously and addressed without delay. This is because damages in this area are often significant.
The roof’s surface should be given a careful lookover. Pay attention to any areas that collect water. Also look out for holes, cracks, and other forms of damage. You should also check for damaged pieces, as these can cause potential leaks in the future. Also, pay attention to any moss or fungus growth on your roof. They damage the roof’s surface and should be removed as soon as possible.
Inspect your roof for any build-up of debris. These are especially dangerous and are notorious for causing premature damage to roofs. Unlikely villains like debris build-up can obstruct water flow on the roof and facilitate localized ponding, which weakens the roof and can lead to significant damage or an eventual collapse.
Though the consequences are not always this severe, debris can cause the water to stagnate under the shingles, leading to drips and leaks. Debris can also build up in the gutter, stopping the flow of water, and wreaking more havoc.
- Drains and Gutters
Inspect drains to ensure they aren’t clogged. Your home’s other exterior features like pipes, chimneys, drains, and skylights should also be checked. Inspect your pipe and equipment supports to ensure they’re still strong and aren’t sagging, these can damage your roof’s membrane and cause unwanted problems.
Tips For Carrying Out Roof Maintenance
Before carrying out routine roof maintenance, ensure you’re well-equipped. This means inspecting equipment such as roofs, railings, and ladders. If any of these are damaged it could make roof maintenance a hazard for you or a hired professional.
Personal protective equipment is also a necessary safety measure. Ensure you have suitable footwear with a strong grip. Failing to do this will leave you vulnerable to a fall. Wear a safety harness if you have one and gloves with a firm grip.
Roof maintenance should be carried out in the daytime to minimize the risk of accidents and injury. However, daylight can also be dangerous due to sunlight entering your eyes. To avoid this, wear a hat and maybe even avoid doing roof maintenance on sunny days. Roof maintenance should also be carried out after intense weather. A thorough inspection should be performed and any damage should be repaired immediately.
The bottom line
Early detection of potential problems will save you the stress of having to replace your roof prematurely. Regular roof inspections, at least once a year, can help you detect potential problems long before they can do harm.
Whether you carry out maintenance yourself or you hire a contractor, as long as it is done carefully and regularly, your roof will have a long life span.
Once you’re done with your maintenance check, you don’t have to go up there for another 3-6 months. And the next time you wake up in the middle of a storm, you can rest easy knowing your roof will hold and keep your home safe, dry, and protected.