Fall and early winter are great times for getting outdoors and setting up holiday decorations. That often means hanging lights around the roof, which means it’s also a perfect time to check the condition of the roof and make sure the gutters and downspouts are clear.
Unfortunately, this is also a time when people are injured due to falls from ladders and roofs. Make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions while doing any work on and around your roof. Better yet, hire someone to do your roof work.
In a recent survey, we asked quite a few questions about what’s on your roof. Here’s what we’ve learned, along with tips on maintaining your home’s roof and preventing damage to the foundation.
Most roofs in our survey were asphalt shingles at 34%, followed by metal roofs at 18%, with tile and solar roofing both at 14%. An amazing 55% reported having solar panels on their roof.
Importance of Roof Maintenance
Asphalt shingle roofs typically last 20 years. Wood shake roofs last 30 years. Slate, metal, and tile roofs can last as long as 50 years. But to achieve that, they need to be maintained. That happens through routine inspections, followed by any needed repairs.
Our survey revealed that 40% had reported missing, cracked, or curling shingles, and 35% reported ceiling leaks and water stains. Soft spots or dips on the roof were found by 22%. Those problems all require immediate attention to head off more serious damage.
Roof Visual Inspection
As noted above, if you’re on your roof this holiday season, it’s a great time to conduct a visual inspection. In our survey, 40% said they conducted a visual inspection twice a year, 30% said annually, and a vigilant 20% reported inspecting four times a year. We advise you to seek professional assistance rather than climbing on the roof yourself. Ladders and slippery roofs don’t mix. Be safe.
We recommend conducting an inspection at least twice a year, ideally in the spring, to catch any winter damage, and in the fall to prepare for winter. This is also a great time to clean out gutters and downspouts.
Here’s a roof inspection checklist.
- Broken, curled, split, or missing shingles
- Loose or exposed nails
- Rusty, damaged, or missing metal flashing
- Excessive granule loss on shingles
- Rotted rubber boots on pipes
- Damage or rot on the fascia
- Sagging ridgelines
- Cracks in solar panels as well as the wiring
- Cracked or tilting chimney
It’s also important to have the attic inspected for signs of leaks or openings in the roof decking. Any inspection should also look for leaks around vents, solar panel wiring, and the chimney. There could further be signs of condensation or wet areas in the insulation. Plus, it may be time to clean out any creosote buildup in the chimney.
Gutters and Downspouts Maintenance
With any roof inspection, be sure the gutters and downspouts are reviewed closely. They need to be cleared of obstructions and any damage repaired. Our survey found that 42% of homeowners cleaned their gutters once a year, while another 38% cleaned them twice a year.
It’s our recommendation that gutters and downspouts be cleaned at least twice a year. Spring and fall are the optimum times.
Gutters and downspouts are a critical part of protecting your foundation from water damage and flooding. They move all the water or snowmelt off your roof and guide it well away from the foundation. That water flow also depends on the grading of the landscaping to ensure the water keeps moving and doesn’t pool around the foundation.
If the water does collect around the foundation, it will create hydrostatic pressure on the basement or crawl space walls, developing cracks, causing leaks, and leading to flooding.
We Can Help
We can help with a review of your foundation with a free inspection to identify what steps are needed to secure your foundation and protect your home.
Our partners across the country will complete a thorough evaluation of your foundation and recommend customized repair solutions. Contact us today for a free inspection and estimate.
Please note that we don’t recommend that you climb on the roof yourself. Ladders and roofs can be quite dangerous. It’s best to hire a professional to conduct roof inspections and roof repairs. That is also true for gutter and downspout installation, repair, and cleaning.