With the weather finally warming up, early summer is a great time of year to perform annual roofing maintenance. These tips will help you get your roof in tip-top condition this season.
Check your roof for signs of wear, tear and water leaks. First, head into the attic to inspect the rafters, beams and sheathing. Look for signs of water damage on the exposed wood in your attic. Water damaged wood will be darker than the other wood, and may have a hollow, rotted sound if you knock on it with your hand.
Next, get up on the top of the roof using a step ladder or extension ladder. Have a partner hold your ladder and ask the partner to stay with you on the ground so he or she can help if you encounter a problem during your inspection. If you can't get up on the roof of your home safely, walk around the exterior of your home with a pair of binoculars and inspect the roof from a distance.
While inspecting the top of the roof, look for curling or missing shingles. Pay attention to the flashing around the chimneys, vents and skylights. Look for cracks, rust and other damage on the flashing. Finally, check the large shingles that fold over the spine of your roof. These shingles, known as ridge caps, are usually the first shingles to show deterioration when a roof starts to age. Ridge caps that have become curled at the edges need to be replaced.
Clean Your Gutters
Your gutters play a big role in the condition of your roof. Gutters that leak or have become clogged can cause water to back up over the roof, which can lead to water damage. To protect your roof, clean your gutters and clear the clogs. Standing on a ladder, use a trowel to remove leaves and twigs from the gutters. Put the debris into a bucket hanging from your ladder.
As you're emptying the gutters, look for shingle granules. Presence of a few granules is expected, but piles of granules could indicate that your shingles are deteriorating quickly. Spray down the inside of the gutters and downspout with a strong jet of water from a hose. If the downspout is clogged, use a plumber's auger to remove the clog, then spray the inside of the downspout after clearing the debris.
If you notice any signs of roof distress during your inspection or while cleaning the gutters, contact a roofing contractor in your area to get a professional opinion.