Spring Showers bring Flowers but they also bring costly leaks that can ruin your ceilings, insulation, roof decking and just basically everything in your home. For that reason once it is nice enough to get outside you should take a couple hours and inspect your roof and gutters for any damage that may have occurred over the winter.
No matter where you live winter months can be harsh on roof systems. The snow that kids love to play in can cause serious damage to your shingles, flashing and roofing cement. Snow can and does melt even on the coldest days and when it does it turns into ice which can act like a wedge and pry apart seams in flashing and get under your shingles exposing them to the elements.
However all of this damage may go unnoticed until the first few hard rains come in the spring.
Inspecting your Roof for Shingle and Flashing Damage
The first thing you should do is get an overall look at your roof shingles. Walk around your home and from the ground look closely at the edges of the roof and valleys for any lifting or missing tabs on shingles.
You also want to look for lifting of shingles around your plumbing vent pipes and furnace or fireplace chimney.
A good pair of binoculars can aid in your inspection and will help you find problems from the ground that you need to take care of by actually getting up on your roof and making repairs.
You may also want to inspect your roof from within your attic. You can usually find problems to the decking or plywood surface of the roof by looking for discoloration while in your attic. If you do see rotting then you do not want to step on these areas when you climb up on the outside of the roof.
You should also look for any light sneaking in around your plumbing vents or chimney. This will mean that flashing needs to be repaired or replaced.
Getting Up On Your Roof To Make Repairs
If you do find problems during your inspection you will have to take a closer look by climbing up on your roof with the aid of a ladder. This can be difficult and somewhat dangerous especially on two story homes or homes that are located on uneven ground.
When attempting to climb onto your roof you should use a good grade aluminum ladder that you feel comfortable on. Extension ladders that have two parts that are adjustable will allow you to reach a second story of your roof but whenever you are climbing onto your roof you should select the lowest possible point.
On single story homes you can often place a ladder on a deck surface in the back of the home and reach the roof in less then 10 feet of climbing. You should only do this if you can secure the ladder and if the top of the ladder can extend at least two feet above the gutter or lowest point of the roof you are placing it against.
Making Repairs To Your Roof and Shingles
Because there are a variety of problems you can come across purchasing materials before you can get to the problem is difficult.
On first inspection you should bring a caulk gun and some roofing cement with you. This will allow you to reattach loose tabs on shingles and reseal aluminum flashing that runs along your chimney.
If you find problems with your plumbing vents or ridge vent then a little caulking will not fix it. Most likely you will need to replace the items and this will mean a trip to the store.
While you are up there you should take measurements of any items you need to replace. Step flashing is often precut at your local supplier however you can also purchase flashing in a roll that you can cut to size.
If you need to replace a shingle take a close look at the color and texture of the shingle while you are on the roof. If you have a loose tab that is broke off you should bring it with you for color matching at your supply center but if you don’t then you should not really remove a shingle to color match your purchase of new ones unless you know how to do it without causing more damage.
Inspecting your home’s roof in the spring for winter damage is something every home owner should do. However if you never look up at your roof you are likely to let damage that occurs in other seasons go unnoticed and you will not have a comparison reference to know when things have changed.
When ever you are outside playing with the kids or just enjoying your home you should try to take a minute or two to notice anything that may have changed or got damaged so you can take care of it before it becomes a real problem.
After all if 20 minutes and a $5 tube of roofing cement can save water leaking in and trashing your computer, tv or other expensive item it is worth the time to take proper care.