Inspecting Your Roof

By now, your roof has probably been through the mill: alternating snow storms and freezing rain takes a toll on the average shingle.  In between the late-season snow flurries, there are flashes of pending spring, and frost-free weather.  What a great time to assess winter’s carnage!  Catching any roof damage early will save you time and money in the long run.

Ideally, you will get in the habit of inspecting your roof twice a year; Spring and Fall are the best times to check your roofing system, and tackle any major projects.  There are four key areas for inspection: leaking gutters, excessive debris, attic ventilation, and flashing.

bad gutterGutter work is messy, but essential.  Gutters allow all sorts of precipitation to drain from your roof, and spring’s frequent showers make well-running gutters essential.  To keep things moving, clear the gutters of all the errant leaves, sticks, and debris that have collected.  Also check to make sure your gutters are still installed properly, and safely secured to the house.  Improper structure can lead to all sorts of build-up and overflow, and none of that is good for your roof.

roof-with-debrisIt’s time for a careful spring cleaning.  When the coast is clear, i.e. the snow and ice have melted, and your roof is relatively dry, think about calling HandiCo to climb up and check things out.  If you decide this is a job you’d care to try, exercise extreme caution.   Check any valleys and linings for stray twigs, leaves, and other garbage.  The random pile of leaves can cause an obstruction, preventing run-off, causing water to collect, possibly freeze, and make trouble.  Keep this situation under control.

ice-damsCareful inspection of your roofing system includes more than just your roof!  Remember to assess the efficiency of your attic ventilation system.  The heavy snow and ice from this winter can not only cause damage to the exposed roof, but it can also warp trusses and rafters, not to mention have an impact on your home’s heating costs.  Another common problem, ice dams, usually occur after a heavy snowfall, and a serious cold snap. Warm air inside your home leaks into the attic, and warms the underside of the roof causing some of the snow and ice on the roof to melt. The melted water will drain along the roof, under the snow, until it reaches the cold overhang. The overhang tends to be at the same temperature as the outdoors, and the melted water will refreeze, forming an ice dam and icicles. The ice dam can damage the roof, and any water will run through the damaged areas and into your house. Before you know what’s happening, you will find a water spot spreading across your ceiling.  Stay ahead of this mess!

A properly installed attic ventilation system will help air circulate efficiently in and out of your attic, which decreases the chance of snow and ice build-up.  Seal any air leaks, and add additional insulation in your attic to be safe.  Be proactive! Combat potential damage, and do your wallet a favor.
And, while you’re up-and-at-it, take a look at the flashing.

flashing

Flashing is the structure used to protect the edges of your roof.  Flashing can also be found on roof piping, chimneys and roofing vents.  Maintaining its integrity is key and it’s the main barrier between the under part of your roof and the elements.  Flashing can rip or tear, and loosen in an active weather season like winter, and when it is damaged, can allow water to seep into your home, ruining ceilings, insulation, electrical work…the list goes on…  Avoid a major problem, and repair any damaged flashing as soon as possible.  Again, call HandiCo for this work; it will cost a lot less than having to replace the roof.

Still, leaks happen.  Once you’ve discovered a leak, the situation is often easily fixed.  Check back next week for tips on finding-and-fixing leaks.  Happy Spring, Homeowner!

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