I’ll be putting together some spring cleaning tips for your home, starting with today’s post on your roof. Your roof provides the primary protection of your home from the elements — “A roof over your head” — and needs to be maintained, just like all major systems in your home.
Primarily, you need to keep debris and water from collecting on your roof. Typically, this isn’t a major concern on the open areas of the roof, instead in the cracks, crevices, and penetrations in your roof. However, debris can also pile up on the open areas if you have large trees or bushes that overhang your roof and drop lots of vegetation on the roofing surface. Please take all necessary precautions for working high above the ground and hire a professional, if necessary. For general spring cleaning maintenance, you need to look at the following three areas to maintain your roofing system in it’s peak functioning condition.
- Penetrations, valleys, crevices
You really need to keep your gutters free of debris and clean. The gutter system removes water from your roofing system. If you don’t keep them clean, water can pool on the roofing surface and do a lot of damage and shorten the life of your roof. Usually, you can do this every spring with your spring cleaning project list, but if you have a lot of trees and vegetation on your property, you may need to do it twice per year. You can spray the gutters out with your garden hose, but I find this makes a big mess. I use a 5-gallon bucket and a garden trowel to get all the debris out of the gutters and downspouts. This is a much cleaner method.
Get your mind out of the “gutter.” I’m talking about your skylights, exhaust pipes, roof vents, and so on. These are “holes” in your roofing system and need to be maintained to ensure the integrity of your roof. Check for broken roofing tiles or shingles around the penetrations, caulking that needs to be replaced, broken or cracked glass/plexiglas, and excessive rust.
Additionally, you need to look for any areas where water and debris may gather on the roof. Two valleys coming together creating a low spot, a ridge coming into a valley, your roof eave meeting a roofing surface and creating a pocket for debris to collect, and so on. Anywhere that creates an opportunity for roofing failure due to water and debris. Clean those areas up and repair any damage.
This is one of the most often overlooked areas of roof maintenance. When I drive around the neighborhoods in my area, you see beautiful trees and bushes decorating the yards of homeowners. Unfortunately, I also see this beautiful landscaping destroying roofing systems.
Trees and bushes that “overhang” a roof (this includes branches from trees that are a good distance from your home) drop vegetation, grow onto the roof, hold water against the roof, and dramatically shorten the lifespan of a roofing system. Every spring as part of your spring cleaning regimen, you need to trim these overhangs away from your roof. This can be very dangerous, as your working near the edge of your roofing system and reaching up to cut overhangs. Please take the necessary precautions or hire a professional.
Using a chainsaw or nippers, trim the branches back away from your roof, taking care not to let the trimmed branches damage your roof by falling on it. Remember to look overhead, not just on your roof for branches that may be dropping debris from above.
Make sure to do these three simple tasks as part of your spring cleaning routine and your roof will last much longer. Just like your teeth, if you ignore your roof, it will go away.
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