Your roof is the first line of defense into your home and a huge investment, so, understandably, you'll want to take care of it and keep it in tip-top shape. While some damage is preventable with routine maintenance and care, some is inevitable due to storms and other events. The following tips and tricks will help you to prevent the damage you can and take care of the damage you can't.
It's important to keep track of your roof throughout the year so you catch any small problems before they turn into big problems. It's a good idea to get up there and have a look around going into and coming out of stormy seasons to note any changes to the roof or minor repairs that need to be made. Keep an eye out for damaged or missing shingles, excess debris, algae growth, or any leaking into the attic.
Cleaning your gutters is messy and time-consuming, we know, but clean gutters are integral to the health of your roof. When gutters aren't working properly, water can't escape the roof and can cause leaks and rotting wood.
Yes, another somewhat tedious job, but it's important to keep tree limbs cut back from your roof. Limbs that are too close to the roof can swing into or break onto the roof in during storms causing damage ranging from missing shingles to full blown holes in the roof.
Any kind of build up on the roof can lead to damage. Snow buildup in winter weather may look beautiful, but snow is heavy and can actually cause your roof to collapse if too much of it is up there. Likewise, debris like leaves, sticks, and small limbs can cause damage to shingles by trapping water and causing algae growth.
Know where the most vulnerable areas of your roof are like joints around flashing and keep an eye out for leaks in these areas. Check for loose sealants and flashing on the exterior, and regularly check the attic for any leaks in these areas.
Whether there were simply strong winds in the area or a bad storm, doing a cursory visual inspection of your entire property is one of the best ways to catch damage quickly before it gets out of control. Inspect both the interior and exterior of your home to look for signs of damage. Water or light leaking inside the home anywhere they shouldn't be as well as mold growth or mildew are signs of exterior damage to the roof. Visual damage to the roof is obvious, but less obvious signs that the roof may have incurred damage are fallen limbs, excess debris on the roof and in the yard, and visible damage to other exterior structures like fences or decks.
If you have reason to suspect there was damage to your roof, don't delay: call a professional right away. Most roofing companies offer free inspections and a roofing professional will have the experience and equipment to safely and accurately assess the damage to the roof. A professional inspection will help you determine your next steps and whether your roof will need repaired or replaced.
If you have roof damage from a storm, or even if your neighbors have roof damage from a storm, contact your insurance company to file a claim. Your agent will help guide you through the steps, but having a professional inspection done will streamline the process. You'll want to take pictures and document any problems you're having both interior and exterior. Your adjuster will work with the roofing company to determine coverage and get your damage taken care of.
One of the most important things when dealing with possible damage to your roof: don't wait to address the damage. A small roof repair can quickly turn into a full roof replacement with a moldy attic and waterlogged home if it isn't repaired as soon as possible. The longer your wait to address the issue, the more complicated and pricey the problem becomes.
Understanding the steps to take to properly maintain your roof and what to do if it does become damaged can help save you time and money. Most importantly, it will keep the roof over your headstrong.