November 5, 2011 - 12:10 am
Most homeowners do not think about their roof on a daily basis. They assume that it is performing its duty unless something happens that tells them otherwise, such as a leak. Realistically, there were probably signs of roof trouble well in advance. Luckily, there are some easy tasks that can be done to help you keep an eye on the condition of your roof so your home and investment are properly protected.
Do-it-yourself visual inspection
With all types of home maintenance, safety is paramount. The following five actions can be done safely and help determine the condition of the roof.
Look around the neighborhood for other roofs being replaced, especially if the homes were built about the same time as yours. Chances are if your neighbors’ roofs are showing signs of wear and tear or are being replaced, it may only be a matter of time before it’s your turn.
Also when doing yard work, look along the ground around gutter downspouts to see if there are abnormal amounts of granules washing off the roof. Granules not only give your shingles a distinct appearance, they also protect the asphalt against premature aging. Finding a small sprinkling of granules is normal, but large piles may mean that your roof is losing its ability to protect against UV rays.
Another easy action that can be done while on the ground is to look up at the edges of the roof for shingle curling. When the corners of the shingle start curling, your roof can be more exposed to the elements, and if a proper roofing underlayment is missing, the interior of the home is also at risk of damage.
While on the second floor of your house, look out a window that overlooks part of the roof and look for shingle wear and tear or missing shingles. If you are already on the ladder cleaning out your gutters, you can conduct many of the same inspections. Cracks or missing granules showing patches of black asphalt could mean it’s time for a new roof.
If you are not already in the practice of cleaning your gutters, you probably do not realize this is another element of protecting the life of your roof. By making sure gutters are clear of debris, you not only ensure proper drainage, but decrease the chance of ice damming in the winter. Ice dams can cause melting snow and ice to push under shingles and down through your roof deck into your attic or living space. There are special “ice and water” underlayment to help combat this issue. Owens Corning Roofing has several types called WeatherLock. Unfortunately, ice and water underlayment cannot be added to an existing roof, but is a great product to include if a new roofing system is needed.
Watch your roof’s back
An additional area that is often overlooked in visual inspection is what is behind the shingles. Whenever you are in the attic, take a few minutes to look for problems such as water stains on the back of the wood decking or holes in the insulation. Also, make sure your attic ventilation system has free air flow. A balanced system of air intake and exhaust is preferred. Often times, the air flow can get blocked off at the soffit, which affects the performance of the system and can result in poor ventilation throughout the home.
Leave the hard work to the professionals
If you conduct these inspections and you notice that there are problems, it may be time to call a professional contractor to conduct a thorough inspection and make a recommendation on the actions to restore or replace the roof.
A complete roofing system consists of roofing shingles, as well as other essential components such as felt underlayment, ice and water waterproofing underlayment, starter shingles, ventilation products and hip and ridge shingles.
Owens Corning Roofing offers insight into the things you should know about your roof on their website, including information about locating and selecting the right roofing contractor. The site also has videos as well as an interactive tool, called DesignEyeQ Visualization Experience Tool which allows you to upload a picture of your roof and “try on” different shingles and color combinations.
A healthy roofing system is important for providing shelter to your family and for protecting your valuables and financial investment. Being proactive in watching the condition of your roof before being surprised by a leak could cost you less in the end. These few easy tips can help you properly maintain your roof, which can result in long-lasting comfort, beauty and overall energy efficiency.