September may feel a little early to be thinking about prepping your roof for the fall and winter, but it’s so much easier to inspect and fix your roof now than it is to do it when it’s cold and windy or snowing.
Homeowners frequently ignore the roof and start paying attention only when there’s a problem like ice dams or interior water damage. And when they do head up to the roof, they’re often armed with a shovel or pick to break up ice and remove snow. But those tools can worsen the problem because you could accidentally puncture the roof.
Spot trouble early
It’s better to keep problems at bay by doing routine inspections and maintenance, so that you can spot small problems before they turn into costly repairs.
Here are some considerations:
1. Inspections. Inspect your roof at least twice a year in spring and fall. It's also a good idea to take a look after big storms – hail, snow, wind, and excessive rain – to be sure they didn’t cause damage.
2. Shingles and flashing. Look for shingle granules in your gutters. If the granules come off, it's a sign that the shingle is failing. If you have one failing shingle, chances are there are others too. Look for shingles that aren’t flat and are buckling, curling or blistering. Sometimes they can be fixed, but damaged shingles are often a sign that your roof is coming to the end of its life. Also, if you can see any light through your roof – even an opening the size of a pinhole -- call a roofing pro. Look at the flashing (the material used to seal and weatherproof a roof’s edges, joints, etc) around openings – pipes, skylights, and chimneys, for example – where water can get in.
3. Interior inspection. Look for water damage on celling and interior walls. Small water spots can be the start of something much larger. Keep in mind that nothing last forever. The average life of a roof is 15 to 20 years.
4. Clean up. Remove debris like leaves, twigs, and branches from the roof. They can harbor moisture and prematurely degrade the roof. Clean your gutters in spring and fall to prevent a host of problems - rotted wood, leaks, foundation damage, and mosquito and insect infestation.
5. Hire professionals. Rather than taking a DIY approach to repair such an expensive system of your home, consider hiring a professional roofer. They have the skill and experience to diagnose problems and the tools and materials to fix a roof properly. If you need a recommendation, I have one - just ask!
6. Safety. According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts, 175,790 people were injured in 2013 on ladders - severely enough to require a trip to the hospital. Before getting up on your roof, please review some safety precautions HERE.