If there’s one part of your home that can be considered the most important, it’s your roof. It’s the part of your home that not only keeps you warm and dry but also helps protect your investment. However, roofs are still prone to damage, regardless of material type, without proper maintenance.
The best way to mitigate costly roof emergencies is to develop a maintenance checklist to help you conduct routine inspections.
Although these inspections can be conducted yourself, working with a professional for enhanced inspections and avoiding potential injuries is always recommended.
Portland homeowners should take these steps to maintain their roofs and keep them in top shape.
How Often Do I Need to Maintain My Roof
Homeowners should inspect their roof at least once a year and after any severe weather event, such as a windstorm or hailstorm. However, the frequency of going through every step of a roof maintenance checklist will depend on the roof material.
The four primary types of roofs you’ll find include:
- Asphalt shingle
- Cedar shingle
Asphalt and tile roofs must be checked at least once every three years, while cedar shingle roofs can last up to five years without routine checks. Metal roofs require annual checks because they’re prone to damage such as rust and rust cracks.
However, it helps to remember that the maintenance frequency also depends on the weather conditions. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, you will require more frequent checks.
Type of Damage to Watch For
The type of damage you want to look for will also vary depending on the roof type.
- Shingle roofs should be checked for any loose or missing shingles and secured flashing around chimneys and vents.
- Metal roofs should be checked for any rust cracks or spots
- Tile roofs should be checked for any cracked or chipped tiles
You must also consider the shape of your roof. For example, you must check for ponding water if you have a flat roof. Removing ponding water is essential because it can cause your roof to deteriorate prematurely.
No matter the type of roof, though, it’s essential to clear away any debris that might have accumulated on the roof and gutters with every change of season.
Best Times for a Roof Inspection
The ideal time to conduct a roof inspection, other than after weather events and seasonal changes, is in the springtime. That way, you can identify any potential problems and get them fixed before they can cause further damage and before the hot weather sets in.
Once you know the type of roof material you have and how often you need to check your roof, you can start creating a DIY checklist. However, it is beneficial to ensure you mark everything you need on your checklist by working with a professional, at least the first time around.
Consequences of Poor Roof Maintenance
The most common reason homeowners avoid roof repairs and roof inspections is that they don’t have the time. However, when caught early enough, a vast majority of roof maintenance tasks only take a few minutes to complete.
It’s also much easier to break up larger roof maintenance projects into smaller tasks that can be completed in portions over time.
The second most common reason is not understanding how to maintain your roof. This is when working with a professional comes in — even if it’s for one inspection.
A professional has the expertise you need to get the job done right and they can help you create a roof maintenance schedule that works for your specific roof.
Roofs are susceptible to damage from severe weather, debris accumulation, and age. If left not repaired, that damage can lead to leaks, mold growth, and even roof replacement.
More often than not, it pays to take some time to routinely check your roof and make simple fixes along the way. Simple fixes like trimming overgrown branches on your favorite cherry tree can help prevent costly leaks, moss removal and animal infestations.
Roof Maintenance Checklist
Whether you’re creating your own roof maintenance checklist or working with a professional, it’s important to include the following items at a minimum to keep your home, and yourself protected.
Trim Your Trees
As briefly mentioned earlier, trimming your trees can be a quick and simple fix to prevent costly damages. Leaves and branches rubbing against your roof can cause damage in a number of ways.
The most common is wear and tear from the contact, which can eventually lead to leaks and moss and mold growth. In addition, overhanging branches provide easy access for animals looking to nest on your roof.
Clean Out the Gutters
Your gutters play one of the most important roles in your roofing system because they funnel water away from your home. If leaves and debris build up in your gutters, they can cause water to back up and seep under your shingles, leading to leaks and potential moss and mold growth.
It’s especially important to clean them out before and throughout the fall months.
In addition to cleaning out the gutters, while you’re up there, it’s a good idea to also check for any loose screws or holes that may need a quick patching up.
Check for Cracked Tiles or Shingles
Cracked tiles and lifted or warped shingles can lead to significantly bigger problems if left untreated. The reason is that water will seep in over time and cause damage to the wood, which will cause damage and potentially require replacement.
It’s important that your tiles and shingles are checked after a severe storm to check for any damages caused by flying debris in addition to your routine annual or bi-annual checks. If you see any sign of damage, it’s vital to get it fixed as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.
Seals or Cracks in the Chimney
As a part of your checklist, it’s important that you check your chimney for any cracked seals or bricks. This is because cracks in the brick or seal can let in harmful elements like excess moisture.
Roof Flashing Sealant
Roof flashing is an essential part of your roof because a properly sealed roof flashing helps keep water out by acting as a sealant between all the roof joints. Damaged or torn flashing is dangerous because it makes the roof much more vulnerable to leakage.
Look in the Attic for Leaks
It’s great news if you have an attic as a homeowner in a rainy state like Oregon. That’s because attics are a great way to identify any leaks quickly. Additionally, attics serve as the first line of defense in preventing any leaks from spreading further into your home. If you have an attic, it’s best to keep it clean to help prevent any excess moisture from building up. Controlling moisture is extremely beneficial for homeowners because it can help create a more energy-efficient home and prevent mold growth.
Water Damage on the Siding
Siding is another important part of your home that’s susceptible to water damage from unmaintained roofs. Some signs that you may have water damage on your siding include:
- Bubbling or cracked siding
- Peeling paint
If you notice any of these water damage signs, it’s important that you get a professional to come out to your home as soon as possible to take care of the problem.