There are three necessities in life; food, clothing, and, of course, shelter. The latter of these three things is the subject du jour here and now because it’s a pretty important component of your home, wouldn’t you agree? After all, roofs take the brunt of weather both bad and good, effectively catching rain, wind, sleet, snow, and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Why then, do we neglect our home’s hats so blatantly and often? Typically, it takes a full blown leak or collapse before we decide to look up. Thankfully, you can avoid any unwanted skylights by following a few basic maintenance techniques and knowing when to take a step back and call the professionals in.
The best thing you can do for your roof is to practice prevention by adhering to these three basic and not-too-dirty maintenance procedures.
Clean Your Gutters
Yes, gutters are considered part of your roof, and an important part at that. These industrious inventions help to effectively dispense troublesome water from wreaking leak havoc on your roof, but don’t do any good if they’re clogged with leaves and gunk. Be sure to clean your gutters on a consistent basis.
Locate A Leak
If you simply can’t wait for rain, taking a garden hose and gently spraying the roof simulates wet weather quite adequately. Remember that water can infiltrate one part of a roof and travel downslope to another area before appearing as a wet spot or leak in your ceiling. That said, there are a few usual suspect areas you’ll want to check first. On a nice dry day, with proper precautions in place, take a look at the areas listed below.
Buildup accumulates more frequently in the valleys and intersections where two roof areas come together. Water flows over these meeting points and tends to collect, causing leaks.
Extensions & Irregularities
Scan the entirety of your roof. Look for missing or damaged shingles, and pay special attention to boots, seals, flashing, chimney, vents, pipes, and skylights, as these areas tend to be more leak-prone.
Fix a Leak
Once you find the source of your leak, you can fix it yourself if it’s not too out of hand. Flat roofs can be patched using a primer and patch combo found at any hardware store. Just follow the simple instructions you receive.
For asphalt shingles, first, remove the damaged shingle, cut a new shingle to size, then raise the flap above the now shingle-less area with a crowbar or putty knife and slide the new shingle into place, Fasten with roofing nails and seal the new tab with a bit of roof cement.
When to call in the experts
If your roofing workload looks like it will be more strenuous than the simple precautions and fixes listed above, then pick up the phone and call a trusted roofer! It’s not worth your time, money, and safety to attempt to completely reconfigure the most important component of your home. The most important piece of information when it comes to the roof, and for that matter, all home maintenance, it to know when to stop and call in the pros.
After all, you need time to work on those other two necessities, too.
Originally written by Cameron Poague of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties.