We call our homes the roof over our heads for a reason. The roof is possibly the most important part of a house, and it’s certainly the most exposed. Take a moment to truly think about all the damage your roof has to withstand. There’s the constant barrage of water everytime it rains, the weight of snow and debris that gathers during the winter, and the hot sun that beats down all summer. Taking all that into account, it’s a miracle roofs don’t cave in on us more often. If you’re wanting to get the most out of your roof and increase its longevity, you’ll need to maintain it properly. Since winter is the harshest season for those hard working rooftops, the majority of roof maintenance should be done before winter falls. You don’t want to be sliding around on your roof in the freezing cold, dodging snowflakes and trying to fix a leak that’s already occured. Take advantage of the last few weeks of fall to make sure your roof is winter ready.
Clean your roof
Not everything that grows on your roof is a disaster waiting to happen. Small deposits of algae are basically harmless. Moss, on the other hand, is basically a huge colony of sponges holding water on your roof and should be cleaned before they become a problem. If caught early enough, you can just knock the moss off with a sturdy sweep. If you have a whole field of moss growing up there, you may need to invest in a cleaner. Try non-toxic cleaners first and avoid letting them go down your storm drain as they can be harmful to the environment.
Leaves are another problem plant for roofs. At a glance, your home’s roof probably looks completely free of leaves most of the time, but there are less obvious problem areas that should be checked. Chimneys, for example, often accumulate leaves as to gutters and eaves. If leaves are left on a roof, they will eventually get rained on and start to decompose, which can cause water damage. Roof rakes are a handy tool for ridding your rooftop of that pesky tree dandruff.
Mind your trees
If there are any trees growing next to your house, make sure there are no heavy branches stretching out over your rooftop. Sometimes even smaller limbs can cause damage if they scrape against your roof in the wind. Small animals may also use overhanging branches to make their way onto your roof and wreak havoc. So before it gets too cold to drag the ladder out, give your trees a good once over and trim back any wayward branches that might pose a problem.
Handle small repairs
A little patchwork here and there can extend the life of your roof and postpone complete roof replacements, sometimes indefinitely. Check your roof in the fall while it’s still dry and reseal any holes or joints that need it. Silicone sealant is your best bet for most rooftops because of its strength and durability. Silicone is also water resistant, which makes it the perfect substance to have over your head during a rainstorm. Spending a few hours checking over your roof and sealing repairs now can save you thousands of dollars in the future.
Blast out those gutters
Gutters can easily get out of hand if they’re not properly cleaned at least once a year. Leaves and other debris crowd into your gutter and trap water and block the pipe. Sometimes that water can also work its way up onto your shingles if the debris in your gutters is thick enough. When freezing temperatures hit you’ve got a real problem. Removing already-formed ice from a roof can be tricky since doing so can actually damage the roofing underneath the ice. It’s better to not let the problem arise in the first place.
Clean your gutters at least every fall (and again in the spring if you can). Start from the bottom up getting all the easily removable leaves and debris. Then flush your gutters with water. If there’s still something stuck in the drain, try blasting water up from the bottom of the drainpipe and if that doesn't work, you might need a long plumbing tool to dislodge it.
Nobody likes having to install a new roof. Not only does it take a sizeable chunk out of your wallet, but it can be a lengthy process that inconveniences your whole household while it’s underway. Don’t subject yourself to that unnecessary stress and hassle. Prep your roof before winter hits and you’ll weather the snowstorms beautifully. There are still a few weeks of decent weather and daylight left, so take advantage of them.
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