With spring right around the corner, it’s the time of year that we start thinking about the chores we need to do to get our homes and yards ready for the summer. There’s more to spring home maintenance, however, than mulching the gardens and planting flowers. One essential chore that you don’t want to forget is your spring roof inspection. Checking for possible damage from the harsh winter winds, rain, snow, and ice is the best way to stay on top of repairs that will keep your roof functioning properly in the coming year, protecting your investment while it protects you and your family. If you aren’t sure what to look for as you look over your roof, keep these spring roof maintenance tips in mind.
Spring Maintenance Checklist
- Soffit and fascia. If you’ve heard these terms but aren’t sure what they mean, it is important that you familiarize yourself with them. The soffit is the area between your roof overhang and the side of the house, and the fascia is the board that finishes the side of the overhang and gives it a completed look. This area has vented portions that help with your attic ventilation system and is often a place where birds build their nests and other creatures seek shelter from the elements. Inspect the area, and remove any bird nests, bee and wasp hives, rodents’ nests, and other debris or critters collected in the area. This will protect your home, keep it looking cleaner, and help to keep pests away.
- Gutter care. One of the most important yearly maintenance tasks that homeowners tend to forget or ignore is cleaning out their gutters and downspouts. These integral components to your home roofing system collect leaves, twigs, and other debris throughout the year and lose their ability to function properly in directing rainwater away from your home. When they are filled with debris, water can back up and get under your roofing materials or behind your siding, causing damage to your home’s interior structure, foundation, and even your landscaping. As you clean out the gutters, be sure to also check the downspouts for clogs and ensure that there are no areas where the gutters are coming loose from their fasteners.
- Check and repair flashing. Flashing is the sheet metal used around chimneys, dormers, skylights, vents, and in the valleys of your roof to direct rainwater to your gutters and prevent leaks. Just like the rest of your roof, the flashing is subject to damage from weather elements, and spring is a great time to make sure it has not come loose due to winter snow, ice, and wind. If you find flashing that has come loose, it may allow spring rains to leak into your home and damage sub-roofing materials or interior walls and ceilings. Be sure to nail the flashing down and ensure that it is sealed so that water is kept out of your home. However, if the damage seems to be severe, it is always a good idea to call a roofing professional to handle the job.
- Inspect your shingles. If a roof needs replacement, the damage can usually be seen from the ground, but on a newer roof, there may be damage from the winter weather that is not so obvious. It is a good idea to get on the roof in the spring and look the shingles over for any signs of buckling or curling. Depending on the severity of the weather in your area, you may even be missing shingles. Be sure to have these areas repaired as soon as possible to ensure the integrity of your roof. If you are not comfortable with heights or you have a particularly steep roof, you may want to call a professional roofing contractor to do your inspection. Contractors know exactly what to look for and are equipped to make repairs as needed to keep your roof functioning properly.
- Inspect for other damage. In addition to shingle damage, your roof can suffer other consequences of severe weather conditions. If you have a metal roof, there may be scratches in the paint or rust spots, slate shingles may be cracked, and aggregate stones on asphalt shingles may be worn away. It is essential to locate these problem areas and complete the necessary repairs before small problems become more complex and costly. Keep an eye out for stains, which may indicate the growth of algae or mildew, and popped up nails that can lead to leaks that may further damage your home. A skilled roofing professional can address these issues and make the necessary repairs to protect your home and increase your roof’s longevity.
- Since your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, it is an area where downed tree branches, leaves, twigs, and various other types of debris may collect. Be sure to pay particular attention to valleys, areas around dormers, and other dead spaces where these items tend to get stuck and create a gathering place for more debris. Remove any debris you find from your roof, and check the area for mold growth. If mold is present, be sure to clean the area well. This task will improve your roof’s appearance and help ensure that it is protecting your home as it is meant to.
Keeping up with spring maintenance is an ideal way to keep your home looking great and locate areas that may need some attention before bigger issues arise. Remember to keep the age of your roof in mind and seek a roofing contractor’s help if there are major issues or if you think you may need a replacement. Many homeowners are choosing metal roofs when the time for replacement comes. Metal roofs create a lovely modern aesthetic, offer great versatility in design, and are good for the environment because they can be installed over your old roof to keep old asphalt shingles out of the landfill. However, their most attractive feature for many homeowners is their long lifespan, which often means you will never need to replace your roof again.