During the Coronavirus quarantine period, we’ve all been reminded about how much we rely on our homes and our families.
We must take care of the essentials in life and invest time and energy into making sure that all is well with them.
We have a chance to do that with the people we love most – and the same mindset should extend to the place that keeps us all safe and that we call home.
The roof over our heads is an essential that we rarely even think about.
During the lockdown, it’s an ideal time to put our energies into making sure the roof will continue to keep our families safe into the future.
If the sun is shining, it may be ideal conditions for a spring roof inspection. Below is a list of all the things you need to be on the lookout for…
What to include in your spring roof inspection?
The following maintenance checks are designed for any homeowner and should ideally be performed at least annually.
They apply to whatever type of roof you have.
You do not need to be a roofing expert or DIY enthusiast. You don’t even need a huge box of tools.
You just need a commitment to keeping your roof safe, a keen eye, and perhaps a ladder and some basic equipment.
Initial ‘walkaround’ inspection from the ground
Check your roof from the ground looking upwards or through the upstairs windows for a closer view.
You can use binoculars to get a close-up view too.
Depending on your type of property, it may be inadvisable to climb onto your roof.
Most of what you need to know can be discovered from various vantage points such as the attic or bedroom windows.
Check the underside of the roof (and flashing)
How does the underside of your roof deck look? Are there any signs of water stains that suggest leaks?
Moisture is public enemy number one with a roof.
Pay special attention to the flashings. These are the thin, waterproof strips of metal used in roof protrusions and intersections, and around the chimneys, pipes, dormer windows, and skylights.
You may be able to check this safely from your attic.
In most of Canada, because of the cool climate, condensation from the attic may cause water stains. If you are able to improve ventilation in the attic, this may correct the problem.
Check nearby trees and plants
If there are trees, shrubs, and/or climbing plants with limbs or branches that might brush your roof during spring and summer, now might be a good time to trim them so that they don’t adversely affect your roof.
It’s not only damage from moving branches that can dislodge tiles.
Nearby vegetation can cause the growth of algae, moss, fungus or lichen on your roof, which can create its own problems with moisture and rot.
Check the gutters & where water spouts are discharging to
One of the most common problems is leaf build-up in gutters.
Even in spring, leaves, twigs, pine needles, and other debris can gather or may not have been totally cleared from before winter.
Anything that blocks gutters will slow water drainage from your roof and potentially lead to problems with rot, mildew, or even structural damage.
It is also important that you don’t have any water spouts from higher roofing areas discharging onto a lower roof.
This is asking for trouble in terms of roof wear and tear. All upper-level downspouts should discharge into gutters below.
Check for open pitch pans & membrane splits
Pitch pans are metal boxes containing a pourable sealer that protects supporting connections and irregular roof penetrations.
If they are left to dry out and crack over time, they may allow water to seep into the roof system.
The climate in these parts can be harsh on a roof system.
Constant freezing and thawing place extra pressure on roofing membranes and these may split or blister over time.
This can allow water to enter the roofing system and cause problems over time.
Final tip: document your inspection
It’s a good idea to document as much as you can about your roof so that if you need to call in the repair guys, they are aware of the historical record of your roof.
If you have information about the original roofing installation (membrane type, components, etc.) add to it with each inspection, noting any issues, maintenance, and repairs.
Is an annual spring roof inspection enough?
Let’s face it – we all have a little extra time on our hands currently with the Coronavirus quarantine situation. However, when the COVID-19 threat passes, you still need a sturdy roof over your heads.
Ideally, perform two inspections per year – in the spring and fall. This should prevent any major issues from rearing their ugly heads when you least expect them and prolong the life of your roof.
A self-inspection is a great start. However, it shouldn’t replace a professional roofing inspection, even if you believe your roof is in tip-top condition.
A professional can identify and prevent problems that the untrained eye cannot, such as open seams or loose fasteners. Besides, your insurance company may want evidence of an annual professional inspection if you make a claim for repairs.
If there are any minor problems with your roof, fix them sooner rather than later, as this will save unnecessary expense.
Finally, if you’re considering replacing your roof with a more durable, eco-friendly, low-maintenance option, consider a rubber roof. You won’t be disappointed!
Looking for a more durable roof options?