Ultimate Residential Roof Maintenance Checklist
You just got through a huge rain spell and there is a leak somewhere in your roof. You know this because of the water damage that is creeping down your walls and across your ceiling.
Unfortunately, roof leaks can be very costly to repair. Not to mention, the damage caused by roof leaks can be extensive. In order to prevent such occurrences from happening, it is important to keep up with the condition of your roof. The key to having a well functioning roof for a long lasting period of time is to perform regular and consistent maintenance checks. In order to do that, it is highly recommended and wise to have a checklist of things to inspect and do on a regular basis. It is also crucial to prioritize this checklist and then take action by making the necessary repairs.
In this article, we take you through the ins and outs of roofing and provide you with several tips, important information, and some useful strategies to ensure your roof is kept in optimal condition for as long as possible. We also go over the ways to pick the best roofing company to ensure that your roof gets repaired effectively and safely.
Related article: How to Choose the Right Roofing Contractor
Major Causes of Roof Damage
Roofs are normally pretty durable structures, so when they get damaged, it can be a big deal. Here are some of the most common ways that roofs can incur damages:
-inconsistent maintenance and repairs
-growth or plant debris
-exposure to the elements (sun, wind, rain, snow, hail)
-changes that happen as a result in increased humidity levels or ventilation imbalances
In addition, storms can cause damages that otherwise would not have occurred, such as hurricanes, tornados, and snow storms. These are more difficult to protect against, therefore, after such storms take place, it is even more important to check for any roof damage.
Four Steps to Regular Roof Maintenance
Regular roof maintenance will help you keep roof damages from happening. In addition, any roof damage that you do happen to have will be caught during these maintenance checks. This gives you the chance to repair them before they get worse, or more expensive. You will want to perform your regular roof inspection and maintenance during the spring and fall, because temperatures can qualify as extreme weather, and can cause damages. Any additional roof inspections and maintenance operations should also be done after storms.
You can hire a professional roofer to do the inspection. Or, you can do it yourself, which would save you money. Just be sure you are thorough, as missing things would cost you money.
The first step is good housekeeping.
This means you regularly clean, clear off, and neaten up the roof and its surrounding systems (like drainpipes and gutters). You will want to especially look at skylights, any solar panels, chimneys or pipes, vents, and eavestroughs (the gutter beneath the edge of the roof). These areas are of particular importance because they can be more susceptible to leaks.
Maintenance on these areas means clipping away low hanging branches, cleaning out leaves and debris from gutters with a small shovel or trowel, and making sure drainpipes are draining properly (run a hose down them).
The second step is to get a roofer to inspect the roof.
This should ideally be done twice a year. The roofer should look for any problems that could arise.
Step three is for conducting repairs.
These should be done immediately. Repairs and replacements could be made to shingles, flashing, and gutters.
Step four is keeping track of the records.
You can keep a log of any potential problems so that when the roofer comes back in a couple months, that potential problem can be reinspected. You can also take photos, that way you can compare the roof’s conditions. This will help you make more sound decisions on whether or not something needs to be replaced based on how much has changed to a potential problem area.
Creating Your Roof Maintenance Check List
Now that you know the steps to regular roof maintenance, it is important to come up with a checklist to maintain. Depending on the type and size of roof you have, you may or may not have certain things for upkeep. Regardless, we have compiled a comprehensive checklist, and simply advise you to write down the ones that apply to you and your roof.
-Check the interior of the house for signs of interior roof damage like watermarks, mildew, mould, and peeling paint.
-Check for overall cleanliness, as accumulated dirt and debris can cause premature rotting.
-Check the roof surface for signs of damage and weathering, such as missing shingles, cracks and tears, or metal roof corrosion.
-Check expansion joints (waterproof seals) for tears and gaps.
-Check flashings (impervious material to keep water from passing) for gaps, peeling back, and mould.
-Check drains for deterioration and build up.
-Check exterior structural components (chimneys, pipes, vents, and skylights) for signs of damage (bends, breaks, sagging) and for cleanliness, and signs of ageing (rust, peeling paint, rot, fungus, moss).
-Check equipment supports and pipes for cracks and sagging.
-Check stairs and railings for loose parts and structural concerns – this is an important safety concern as roofers use this to conduct roof repairs).
-Check that safety signage (hot pipes, toxic chemicals) are visible and legible in order to protect your roofers.
-Check that old repairs are still holding soundly.
Generally speaking, you should be looking for cracked, buckling, curling, or missing shingles, moss and mildew, and also shingle granules in gutters. These are all signs that your roof needs maintenance in order to prevent damage from occurring. If your roof is sagging, you want your roof replaced immediately.
Using Your Roof Maintenance Checklist
Now that you have a list of things to check for needed repairs, it is important to properly use your checklist. Some things on your checklist might require immediate attention, while others can wait for a later time.
Take some time to decide which parts of the roof you are capable of repairing on your own. Then, designate the rest to an experienced roofer. When you go through your checklist, it will be easier to delegate tasks and resolve damages more efficiently.
Next, you will want to go through your checklist and prioritize the things that need to be done. Prioritizing your checklist is pretty simple. You can adopt the ranking system of “good,” “fair,” and “poor” for each item on your list. When something is ranked “good,” this means it does not need any attention beyond regular inspection. If it is ranked “fair,” this means there is some wear to be aware of, but it is not quite yet to the point that it requires immediate attention. These items should be put on a list of things that need to be inspected, repaired, or replaced. Finally, anything that gets marked as “poor” will need immediate attention. This includes anything that has water damage, or potential water damage.
Finally, you will want to keep your checklist in the same place that you keep your warranty information. This makes it easy to cross-check between the documents to see what can be covered free of charge.
When it comes to repairing roof damage, you have several different options. You can do it yourself, or you can hire a professional roofer. Doing the repairs yourself is cheaper, but if you do it incorrectly, it could cost you more money down the road. It is up to you to decide. You may even choose to try to do it yourself the first time around. Then, when you go to inspect the roof a couple months later and notice that the damage is still there, or getting worse, you decide to hire a professional roofer. Every so often though, it is a good idea to get a professional roofer to conduct a full inspection or even a friend. The second set of eyes can help you pick up on things that you might be consistently missing.
How to Find a Good Roofing Company
If you decide to go with a professional roofer, there are several things you want to look for.
-Get referrals from your local community.
-Make sure the company has worker’s compensation and liability insurance. You can confirm with the insurance company that the certificates are valid.
-Go with local roofing companies that are well established. This also helps make warranties are more reliable.
-You get what you pay for, so make the investment rather than choosing the cheap option.
-Get the details of the job and hours in writing.
-Feel good about customer service and communication.
-Double check that the roofing company is not a storm chaser by going to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
-Feel good about the roofer’s safety by getting clear on their experience with roofs.
-Handle your own claims to be sure that you are following the law.
In addition, you will have to make a lot of decisions when working with a roofer, such as what materials to use. Do your research to save on time, money and materials for the long term. Not to mention, it is a good idea to pay the roofer only when the job is done. This way, you can ensure it meets your expectations and that you are truly satisfied with the work. Finally, try to get an extended warranty. This means that repairs and damages are covered even months down the road, which is sometimes when damages eventually do show up.
All in all, roof maintenance is a pretty hefty task that should be done on a regular and consistent basis. This will not only save you money in the long term, but also ensure the safety of you, your home, and the roofers who come to work on your roof. When your roof is regularly maintained, you will rest assured knowing that you are being responsible and thorough.
Having a residential roof maintenance checklist is a great way to ensure that you are being thorough with inspecting and repairing your roof. There are a lot of factors at play, and many different components of a roof to keep track of. Therefore, being organized and time is crucial in taking optimal care of all of your roof’s needs.