Basic Roof Maintenance

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Having a roof over your head is one of the necessities of life. Roofs protect us from harsh weather elements and give us two of the things we cannot live without: warmth and shelter. Because roofs are so necessary, taking care of them is important. Yet, their necessity isn’t the only reason why maintenance is important. According to the Journal of Architectural Engineering, 2006 data approximated the average cost of roof repair to be between 269 dollars a square meter. It is this cost, as well as factors such as labor, that makes roofing a million dollar industry.

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However, there is good news for the consumer: many roofs are designed to last. Thus, with a little TLC you may be able to avoid any costly repairs and replacements. In order to keep the roof in peak condition, consider the following maintenance tips:

Checking for Damage after Storms 

Hail (and other weather elements) can cause extensive damage to your roof. If your house has experienced heavy rain, large hail, or strong wind, inspect it for cracks, leaks, and breaks after the storm has passed. This will allow you to get on top of anything that needs to be fixed and avoid further damage.

Perform an Annual Inspection

Just as people should go in for yearly physicals, roofs also need an annual examination. Early detection of roofing problems can save you a great deal of money. In order to increase your odds of detecting damage early (and proactively avoid damage), perform the following tasks:

Take the proper safety measures, including wearing a harness, donning shoes with a good grip, and securing the ladder before climbing.

Remove anything large that may be on your roof, such as tree branches. If tree branches are touching any part of your roof, trim them back so that your roof isn’t forced to hold extra weight.

Clean out gutters and drainpipes and rid them of debris.

Perform a Biannual Inspection 

In addition to taking the above steps once a year, you should also do a more thorough inspection every two years. Take the following steps when carrying out this task:

Make sure the weather is calm (it can be dangerous to be on the roof under bad stormy or windy circumstances). Choose either the beginning of fall or the beginning of spring for these inspections (but make sure your roof is completely free of ice).

Inspect the shingles for damage or rot (pay closest attention to shingles that undergo the most sun exposure) and look for any loose or missing shingles.

Check the chimney (if you have one) for cracks.

Check the flashings (sheet metal placed in the joints of a roof).

Remove any branches or other debris from the roof.

Finally, be sure to clean out the gutters and look for gravel-like specks–if these are present in your gutter, the shingles on your roof may be deteriorating.

Inspect the Interior

Look in your attic for dampness or leaks; using a flashlight check for dark spots on the wood around the vents and chimney; look in the rafters, beams, and sheathing for signs of water, rot, or mold; check to see if the sunlight is penetrating through the roof

Roofs are expensive–and this alone makes their upkeep important. Taking an hour or two every year can mean the difference between a working roof over your head or being up to your eyeballs in debt.

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