Taking care of your roof ensures that it looks good and will keep your home protected year-round. It might still be summer, but making the roofing system a top priority on your fall home maintenance to-do list not only boosts curb appeal, it safeguards the structural integrity of your home. Before fall and then winter arrives, get your roof ready for the colder seasons ahead.
Start with a visual roof inspection.
Get out the ladder, stand on the third rung from the top, and use binoculars to conduct a visual roof inspection. You will want to avoid walking directly on the roofing shingles unless it’s absolutely necessary. Look for any signs of damage such as:
- Missing, cracked, or curling shingles
- Warped or rusted flashing
- Damp patches that never seem to dry up after a rain shower
- Worn sealant around skylights or dormer windows
- Moss, mold, or algae growth
- Dented or blocked vents
Plan to repair any damage to roofing shingles such as punctures, curling, and holes that allow water in between the shingles and the underlayment promptly. Hire a reputable roofing company to do the work for you if the house is more than one storey, has a steep roof, or the damage is widespread.
Clear away any debris.
After inspecting the roof, you will be able to see how much debris such as twigs, leaves, branches, pine needles, and any other interesting items the wind has left behind. Remove the debris with a soft bristle broom or roof brush. Avoid damaging roof shingles by gently sweeping and applying minimum pressure. If you can clear away the debris using an extension pole, it’s safer for you and your roof.
Then clean the gutters.
Once the debris is removed from the roof, clean the gutters. Homeowners sometimes forget that gutters and downpipes are part of the roofing system. If they become clogged, blocked, or damaged (dents, broken hardware, etc) a gutter system can overflow, harming the roof, soffit, fascia, and siding.
Look for signs of leaks inside your home.
Roofing problems, particularly leaks, are often hard to detect for two main reasons: they can develop slowly over a long period of time, and typically the source of the leak is difficult to determine, especially on the roof itself. If your home has an attic, a stained attic ceiling is one the first signs that the roof is leaking. Also check the attic’s walls for staining and/or damp insulation.
When there is no attic, water from a leaking roof can collect on the underside of the roof and develop into a large enough puddle to stain ceilings of the interior rooms of a house. These types of leaks can become a serious concern if they interfere or come into contact with electrical wring.
Since roof leaks, as mentioned above, can be hard to locate, if you can’t readily identify where the leak is coming from and repair it yourself, call a roofing contractor for a consultation and estimate.
Remove moss from your roof.
While damp patches on shingles and stained interior ceilings and walls are obvious signs of leaks, moss also can be an indication of water getting into places out of the sun’s reach. Moss covering a roof doesn’t hurt just your curb appeal; it adds weight to the roof. Since moss is a living organism, it can eat into the shingles, damaging them.
To remove moss, apply a store-bought moss removal spray or make your own moss killer by combining water, mild liquid detergent, and bleach together. Hire a professional roofer if the moss covers more than half the roof’s surface area; you’ve tried removing it but it keeps coming back; or the roof pitch is steep.
Check for uninvited guests.
Especially if the gutters and downspouts haven’t been cleaned in a while, the gutter system could be the ideal place for birds, squirrels, rats, and insects to make their home. Birds and small animals who use the roof as a runway or a route to food sources and then back to their nest can damage shingles and make them vulnerable to leaks and mold growth. Once pests invade the roof or the gutters, they can gain access to inside a house through any gaps and cracks in the home’s exterior. Signs of uninvited guests include droppings, nests, sounds of flapping wings, teeth marks, and bald spots on shingles where the protective granules have been worn away by “traffic.”