10 Steps for Fall :: Your DIY Roof Inspection
Winter creeps up on all of us extremely fast, and in the Midwest, it can be here any day. Have your roof ready by completing these 10 steps to stay ahead of potential costly repairs come spring.
Do it yourself, or hire a professional roofing contractor – the choice is yours – but either way, make sure it gets done. Your roof is one of the major systems forming your home, and it needs yearly attention in order to last for years to come.
Step 1: Start by doing a general walk around
Sounds obvious, but before moving onto steps 2 thru 10, make sure your roof is in generally good shape. Look for signs like loose shingles, missing sections of roofing, stains, leaks, warped wood, mold, rot, or anything else that might send up a red flag. If it looks out of place, or makes you think twice, contact a roofing contractor (like The Blue Roof Company).
Step 2: Inspect and clean the gutters
Look for early warning signs like holes, cracks, missing downspouts, etc. and make whatever repairs need to be made. It’s also a good idea to run a bit of hose water through them to make sure they’re still carrying water away from your foundation. You can even take a leaf blower and get most of the debris out with very little work.
Step 3: Trim overhanging tree limbs
Never let branches touch your home, or become too close that a good wind will have them continuously against your precious roof. Always cut dead branches out of the way, and keep an eye out for overhanging branches that could be bothersome if they fall. Cleaning them up now will help keep your home and roof protected from costly damage that might result from falling limbs.
Step 4: Pay a visit to your attic
Poor ventilation is a danger to your roof. Adequate ventilation is essential to proper roof function, and allows fresh air into the attic, resulting in stale, moist air being pushed out. If the ventilation is not adequate, you can expect common problems like mold, mildew, rust, soggy decking, heavy icicles and ice dams. It’s critical to properly ventilate (and insulate) attic spaces to avoid these pitfalls.
Step 5: Replace caulking
Caulking isn’t supposed to become wrinkled, crinkled or cracked. If you see any of that, replace it now. To do this properly, the old caulking must be removed first. Take your time, and do this correctly or you will simply be wasting your time.
Step 6: Check Flashings
Secure any loose flashing and replace all that show signs of damage or leakage. Pay special attention to areas around chimneys, plumbing vents, and other roof projections. This is one of the foremost problems when water gets into homes. 9/10 times water is entering through something that is simply loose or has been blown off by high winds.
Step 7: Chimney inspection & cleaning
Do not skip this.
It is extremely important to have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year. In the midwest, wood burning stoves are very popular in rural areas, and offer a great deal of energy savings when used during the winter months. Inspections and regular cleanings will help ensure that everything will function as desired, and will also prevent fires. Chimneys and roofing go hand in hand, but both should be inspected regularly.
Step 8: Check anything that connects to the roof (Dish or Sat TV antennas)
These are items that break the seal of the roof, and are always causing issues. Check these structures to make sure wind has not pulled them loose (or blown them off). A small bead of silicon or roof tar can fix a small leak that causes BIG problems.
Step 9: Keep an eye out for pests
Squirrels, raccoons, mice, and birds may see your home as a welcome relief from the cold weather. While it would be nice to provide all of the animals of the world a respite, they can cause extensive (and expensive) damage to your home and to your roof. Look for any animal signs or for any areas that a cold animal might like to warm up.
Step 10: Go inside, and look up
The last step in winterizing your roof actually takes place on the inside of your home. Look up at your ceilings and look for any signs of leaks or stains. It not always easy to tell exactly what caused a ceiling stain, but the location of that stain can often point to signs. For example if your stain seems to be directly below a chimney, the stain is most likely a direct result of poor flashing.
Taking these necessary steps will bring you peace of mind in knowing that the most important part of your home is in good shape and can continue doing the job it was designed for….protecting you and your family from the elements.
If you ever have concern or questions, or simply don’t have the time to inspect your home, please give us a call to help. We’re always available by phone, email, or text. We can also be reached on social media, and we love to hear from our local community home owners.