Monday, December 3, 2007

Today is "Roof Over Your Head Day"!

Here are some roof care tips to help you take care of that roof over your head:

- Keep your roof as free of debris as possible, which is critical to the integrity of any roof system.

- Only walk on your roof when it is absolutely necessary to perform maintenance such as cleaning the gutters, skylights or the roof itself.

- Inspect your roof annually, to help identify most roof problems. View your roof from several vantage points.

- Stand at a distance from your roofline so that you can see the entire structure. Pay special attention to the ridge and rakes, since this is where roofing material detaches from first.

- If you see any problems, get up on the roof and look for: loose or popped nails, loose or missing flashing around vent pipes, chimneys or wall junctions, cracks or gaps in caulked areas, holes in the valleys, rotting (test the pliability of material at theeaves using a putty knife. You should be able to push in a screwdriver's tip no more than one-half inch.)

- Inspect your roof from the inside. Enter your attic and inspect the underside of the structure. (You should do this even if you have not witnessed leaks in your living quarters; there could easily be undetected leaks in the attic that will cause problems down the road.) Look for the obvious signs of water damage: stains, matted or crusted insulation, etc.

- Even if your inspection (or, if the leak found you instead of vice versa, your interior downpour) reveals leak problems, it does not necessarily mean that obtaining a new roof is imminent. The age of the roof and the signs of deterioration ultimately determine if repairs are a viable option or if you will require complete roof replacement.

- The signs of deterioration on any type of roof system can be attributed to a combination of abuse from the sun's ultraviolet rays, storms, insects and temperature change adjustments. (Ultraviolet rays are probably most damaging, so it is quite common for one area of your roof–that which receives the most intense sun for longest length of time each day–to suffer more severe deterioration than others.) Damage caused by termites, hail, wind, rotting or settling of the house structure or chimney is frequently hidden from view.

- If a leak surfaces, carefully inspect the roof as described previously. Denote with spray paint any holes that you find. Also look for obstructions in the roof's valleys. (They can hold water and cause it to backup under the shingles.)

- Inspect and clean your gutters regularly. Water can intrude into your home from poorly functioning gutters. In addition you may want to consider having gutter guards installed which will prevent this from happening.

- If, after a thorough external inspection, you are unable to locate any obvious sources of the leak, it's time to do an internal examination. Enter your attic on a bright, sunny day. Then turn off any lights and cover any windows in the attic to darken the space. Any light then seen shining through will reveal cracks or holes from which your leak may surely stem. Be sure to also inspect the areas around vent pipes, chimneys and skylights; these are places that have had the roof decking cut and resealed, so they are often culprits for broken seals or flashing. Should all else fail, you may need to flood the suspect area of the roof with your garden hose while someone in the attic watches for the drip to appear.

- Because shingles are small, self-contained units, they are easily replaced without disrupting the rest of the roof. Your tools of the trade for this task will include spare shingles, nails, roofing cement and caulk. If, upon closer scrutiny, you find that the entire roof is badly worn or that the damage is more extensive than you had estimated, you will likely need to replace the entire roof.
- It is best to have a professional roofing company do any major roofing job; expert assistance, in this instance, is well worth the expense if, for nothing else, the headaches and hassles that it can save you. Also, deciding to make replacing your roof do-it yourself project and then calling in last-minute help from professional roofers can end up costing you as much-and perhaps even more-than gaining well-planned professional for assistance to complete the entire job.

Find more tips at

If you need a recommendation on a good local roofer, I'll be glad to provide one for you.


No comments: