For those who care to look, signs of the fall season in the Northeast are all around us. The air has gradually grown cooler, with some relief from the summer’s heat. Meanwhile, the trickle of farm equipment on the backroads has begun, kids are heading off to school, and homeowners are getting their houses ready for the winter season.
Once the leaves begin to drop, it is time to begin the list of fall maintenance tasks that will ensure your home is ready for the cold months ahead. One of the most important of those is caring for your roof.
Why Does a Roof Need Fall Maintenance?
Your home’s roof is one of the most vital parts of its structure, especially in cooler climates like the ones we see in the Northeast. It is the roof that keeps the effects of the elements away from your family and possessions, all while keeping the warmth your heating system provides inside where it can effectively keep you comfortable. Ensuring your roof remains impervious to Mother Nature while sealed against energy loss can keep your family comfortable and keep your expenses down this fall.
Regardless of the type of roof you have, checking for overall soundness and keeping a keen eye on anything unusual is an essential part of year-round roof maintenance. Similarly, common practices such as storm debris removal can be done as needed, year-round. However, other tasks are more specific to metal roofs and the upcoming fall season.
What Fall Maintenance Tasks Are Necessary For a Metal Roof?
Roof maintenance is important – and that’s true whether you have a metal roof or a more traditional shingle roof. However, most homeowners find their metal roof to be far less demanding of maintenance than those of other materials. In fact, low maintenance is one of the primary reasons people across the Northeast choose metal instead of asphalt shingles, tile, or wood shakes. Still, performing a few minimal tasks in the fall can help a quality metal roof outlast any other material out there.
Here are a few to keep on your to-do list this autumn.
1. Schedule or Conduct Regular Inspections
Roof inspections should be a part of any homeowner’s maintenance regardless of roof material, and they can occur at any time of year. However, having a reminder to check your roof is sometimes necessary. Planning a roof inspection with each season is a smart preventative measure that can protect your home. In the Northeast, fall is the perfect time to schedule your inspection.
Whether conducted by a professional or the homeowner, regular inspections can help pinpoint issues unseen by the casual observer as well as track any changes that could become an issue as the winter progresses. If you choose to hire a professional team, expect them to inspect the sealant, check the seams for gaps, test any fasteners for loosening stress, and all panels for movement stress.
2. Remove Dirt, Mildew, and Other Elements
While it is common for a roof to collect dirt and dust, it is important to remove the summer’s buildup before winter strikes. Snow, ice, and wind could move loose dirt and cause unwanted scratching; simply remove with a soft broom or cloth. Rust, too, can shorten the length of your roof’s life span and become an eyesore; remove all you can with a soft cloth and soapy water before smoothing, priming and painting.
Mold, mildew and other environmental buildup should be removed with a solution of ⅓ c powdered laundry detergent, one quart of bleach, and three quarts of water. Mix the solution, apply, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, wipe off with a soft cloth.
3. Care for Gutters and Drains
Sagging, cracked, or broken gutters can damage the edges of your roof and pose a hazard during windy and snowy conditions. Replace any sections necessary to prevent damage to your metal roof. However, even if your gutters are in good condition, they still need your attention during the fall months.
Ensure your gutters are clear of leaves, sticks, and other buildup. Clogged gutters can become excessively full and begin to sag or crack; a full gutter can also redirect water back onto the edges of your roof, causing corrosion and other damage. Remove all excess debris from your gutters to ensure the correct flow of water off your home’s roof.
4. Remove Leaves and Other Debris
Just as debris buildup can cause issues with your gutters, leaves, branches, and other debris on your metal roof can cause problems a fine layer of dust cannot. While most debris will wash away with regular rainfall, some areas of your roof – usually in dead valleys where two slopes of a roof meet – tend to trap fallen leaves and sticks. There, environmental debris collects water, producing scratches, mold, and corrosion.
While it can be tempting to simply spray your metal roof from the ground, be cautious – falling branches can be dangerous, and water from beneath can become trapped under the metal surface of your roof. It is best to use a hose and soft, extendable brush. Sweep debris off your roof from a position level with the roof’s edge.
5. Confirm That No Other Metals Are Touching the Roof
While it may seem extremely unlikely for metal materials to wind up on your roof, they are potentially more damaging to the surface of a metal roof than any other material out there. Metals such as copper and iron can react with your metal roof and cause corrosion, staining, and can even compromise your roof.
As such, it is worth the time to check for metals in the fall before winter sets in and adds excess water runoff to the mix. Look for stray nails, kids’ toys, or even parts of your satellite or HVAC setup. In particular, pay close attention after other tradesmen service these components, as metal scraps may be left behind.
Stay Ahead of the Game With Fall Maintenance
Above all, it is important not to feel intimidated by fall metal roof maintenance. Most of these tasks can be accomplished on a weekend afternoon, or you can even contact a local metal roof contractor to assist you. Keeping a handle on these simple tasks for maintaining your metal roof investment will help ensure your roof stays beautiful, functional, and energy-efficient for years to come.