A well-maintained roof serves as a barrier between your home and the elements, protecting everything inside. This includes obvious dangers like weather events and falling tree branches but less apparent protections that prevent energy waste and mold.
Regular roofing maintenance is critical to extending the life of shingles and other roof materials. This includes cleaning drains and removing debris that can retain moisture. Contact North Port FL Roofing for professional help.
In addition to examining your roof for obvious damage like cracks, lifts, or missing shingles, it’s important to walk the property and examine the gutters, as well. It’s best to do this while it’s raining so you can see how water is flowing. Look for dripping, water stains, pooled water, moss growth, and more.
If you’re fit enough to do so, climbing a ladder to visually check the roof is another way to keep tabs on it. You can also check the flashings around chimneys, dormers, and vent pipes to ensure they’re still sealed tightly. Damaged flashings can allow water into the structure of your home, so it’s important to replace them as soon as possible.
When you’re inspecting the roof from a ladder, make sure to wear proper footwear and take caution not to step on anything that might fall or break under your foot. Some recommendations for safe shoes to wear when walking on a roof include hiking boots and skating shoes, which don’t have sharp cleats that can damage shingles. You should also avoid wearing open-toed shoes, as they can easily be caught on shingles and other roofing materials.
The most effective way to evaluate your roof is to hire a professional home inspector. Home inspectors are trained to spot a wide range of issues, from shingle issues and water damage to structural problems like sagging or rot. A professional will use a ladder and a camera to get a closer, more thorough view of your roof than you would be able to see from the ground or an attic.
Ideally, you should have your roof inspected in the fall before the cold of winter sets in. New shingles can’t seal properly in frigid temperatures, and if a leak is uncovered too late, you may have to wait until spring to complete the repairs.
A good home inspector will carefully check your roof for signs of damage, including abrasions on shingle corners; cracks or lifts in the shingles themselves; curling, splitting, and discoloration; and loose, missing, or torn granules. He or she will also inspect the roof decking and framing for rot, mold, and fungus; examine roof valleys for weak spots; and note any sagging or water stains.
Trim Tree Branches
Tree branches and limbs that hang over your roof are a risk during stormy weather, both for impact damage and debris accumulation. To protect your home from these risks, make a point of trimming the branches that hang over your roof on a regular basis and move outdoor objects like potted plants, ceramic landscaping features and even furniture to another location.
When pruning a tree, it is important to use proper techniques and tools. Sharp tools ensure clean cuts that are more likely to heal well and prevent insect infestations. Also, when using pruning shears, always cut at a slight angle so that the branch falls away from the tree rather than pulling it downward. This is a much more effective and safer way to remove a branch, as it reduces the chance of injury or property damage.
Pruning to shape a tree, done correctly, enhances its natural beauty and structure. It is important to start by removing dead, diseased or broken branches and twigs. Then, thin the crown by removing branches that rub together or that are competing for sunlight and water resources. Lastly, remove lateral branches growing at a wide angle from the trunk or that are intertwined with other branches.
For mature and large trees, a three-cut technique is usually preferred over heading cuts (removing a larger section of the crown). Begin by cutting the stub extending from the end of the removed branch. Then, cut a second time, this time just beyond the first cut and within the branch bark ridge (the raised area of bark between a branch and the trunk). Finally, remove the remaining stub.
A final note on tree pruning, avoid removing more than 25% of a tree’s canopy at one time. This is stressful to the tree and can cause damage. If the tree is very old or a species that is particularly sensitive to stress, it may be best to hire a professional tree service for tree pruning and maintenance. This service will have the training, experience and tools to properly care for your trees and maintain the safety of your home.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters are vital to your roof’s performance. They collect rainwater, direct it through downspouts and away from the building’s foundation. They’re also designed to protect the fascia board and walls from water damage. When gutters become clogged with leaves, twigs, debris, seeds and other items, it’s difficult for them to do their job. This can lead to overflows, sagging gutters, and downspouts that become plugged with cement-like wads.
If you’re not cleaning your gutters regularly, your home may suffer from structural damage. Water that backs up into a building’s structure through crevices and cracks can cause rot, leaks, and mold, as well as damage the interior walls and ceiling. It can also damage the foundation and lower the value of a property.
Regular gutter cleaning is the best way to keep them performing their important functions. It’s recommended to clean your gutters at least twice a year, preferably once in the spring and again in fall. It’s also a good idea to clean them more frequently if you have nearby trees that overhang the roof or during heavy storms.
In addition to keeping your gutters free of debris, clogs and other problems, regular cleaning will reduce pest infestation. Dirty gutters provide perfect breeding habitats for mosquitoes, rats, roaches, birds and other insects that can spread deadly diseases like West Nile virus.
To clean your gutters, start by removing any debris on the ground around them. A rake is usually sufficient for this, but for more extensive cleanups, you’ll need to use a power washer with a fine spray nozzle. You can find these at most online retailers or hardware stores. These tools allow you to blast off the gunk and clean your gutters from a safe vantage point on the ground, without the need for a ladder. You can also purchase a wet/dry vacuum extension that allows you to remove the gunk and debris from your gutters while remaining safely on the ground. This type of tool is ideal for homeowners who aren’t comfortable climbing a ladder. You can also hire a professional to perform the gutter cleaning for you.
Inspect the Flashing
The flashings around chimneys, vents and valleys are very important in preventing water leaks from forming. However, it’s easy to overlook flashing when examining the roof for other problems. The best way to check flashing is to get on the roof if possible, and look carefully at all the surfaces. If you’re not comfortable climbing on a ladder, use a pair of binoculars to inspect the flashing from below and in different directions.
If your flashings were installed correctly, they should last a long time. It’s common for them to become loose and even pull away from the home over time, though. This can cause a serious problem and should be taken care of quickly to prevent leaks and structural damage.
Another common flashing problem is the presence of cracks or pitting on the surface of the material. This can lead to a weakening of the seal that keeps moisture out, and should be repaired as soon as possible.
Flashing can also become discolored over time. This can be a sign that the aluminum material is getting old and needs to be replaced. It may also be a sign of mild corrosion, which will need to be addressed shortly before it causes serious problems.
The nails or screws that hold the flashing in place can also wiggle loose over time. If this happens, the flashing will no longer be held in place and won’t be able to perform its role. It’s important to check for raised nail or screw heads and pound them down or tighten them as needed.
In addition to checking for loose flashing, you should also look for any areas that don’t have any at all. This can be a sign of major issues that should be addressed immediately to avoid costly repair bills in the future.
Flashing can be difficult to inspect for, as it’s usually installed underneath the shingles and is hidden from view. For this reason, it’s important to have your roof professionally inspected and repaired whenever you notice any signs of trouble. The professional will be able to spot potential problems before they develop into larger ones and take steps to prevent them from occurring in the future.