Winter is here which means storms, heavy rain, wind, ice and snow will all impact on your roof. That’s why it’s best to keep up maintenance all year round to avoid any damage to the exterior of your home because in reality, damage costs caused by a leak will almost certainly exceed the cost of fixing the issue quickly.
Here, Darren Searles, general manager at JJ Roofing, shares some useful tips on how to keep your roof in good condition:
1. Regular inspections are important. First check inside your house. Look for dark or browning spots, or blistering and bubbling paint on ceilings; these are indicators of water damage. Also, check for damp spots forming near fireplaces.
2. If that’s all fine, move on to the loft. If possible, do this on a sunny day; you’ll see sunlight lancing in through worn or broken shingles. If it’s rained recently, any water damage should be obvious, but also inspect for signs of previous leaks or damp.
3. With the interior of your home checked, it’s time to move on to the outside of your roof. The first and most important thing to consider is safety; do not walk on your roof. If you’re comfortable with heights, view your roof using a ladder, preferably with someone on the ground taking notes for you. If heights make you uneasy, find a good position to view your roof with a pair of binoculars. If neither of those options work for you, call a roofing maintenance professional.
4. You’re checking for more than missing shingles or tiles. Dark patches or lines likely means damage. Also, look out for curling and cupping or a large number of chipped and buckled shingles. If your roof is visibly uneven and spotty it could be an indication that your roof is getting quite old and might need replacing.
5. After inspecting the shingles or tiles, turn your attention to your chimney. It’s important to check the flashing and make sure that it isn’t peeled away, dislodged or otherwise damaged. Skylights, vents and any structures that penetrate through the roof should be checked to ensure sealant isn’t cracking or peeling away.
6. Next, moss. First, you need to know the difference between black algae spots and moss: Black algae isn’t nice to look at, but it only affects aesthetics. It doesn’t harm your roof. However, moss is a problem because it holds water; it’s very important that it’s removed. If you catch moss early, you may be able to just sweep it away, but if moss has established itself for a while it needs to be killed off. You should opt for a product that has potassium salts of fatty acids rather than a product with a toxic formula that includes zinc sulphate. Only apply the mixture where the moss is growing. Again, if this isn’t a job you’re comfortable with, contact a roofing maintenance professional.
7. Cleaning your gutters is an important job, especially around spring and autumn. If debris piles up too high in the gutters, it prevents water from flowing through to the downspouts. If this happens, water can end up soaking into the roof and start to rot parts of it. Gutters also prevent damage to the foundation which can lead to wet basements, staining, erosion, and massive bills to fix the damage.
8. While you are up there, why not install a Gutter Brush? This is designed to easily and efficiently keep debris out of your guttering system. It requires very little maintenance although we recommend giving it a jet wash once a year.
9. Finally, take a look at what’s around your roof: are there overhanging trees? Branches that lead directly to your roof not only provide easier access for squirrels, they can scrape and damage your roof and send shingles flying in strong winds. There’s also the potential for branches to break off in a storm and cause significant damage, and the shade they provide allows moss to grow more efficiently, so keep branches trimmed about 10ft away from your roof.
FINAL TIP: Your first thoughts should always be about safety, and if you don’t have the proper tools and safety equipment and clothing (and some experience of the work involved) please contact a professional for help.