Posted on October 10, 2018 at 9:00 AM
Winter is nearly here. The trees are now dropping their leaves again for another Summer season end. Homes with older roofing are more likely to have a problem with hidden water leaks which can damage your roof and home. Is your roof rain ready?
Debris accumulation on roofing is normal and older roofs are also more susceptible due to years of build up of leaves, twigs, moss and other debris. Rain water can pool in these locations creating the opportunity for water to find a way to seep under the roofing tiles. You might not immediately know if a leak has occurred, but underneath serious damage could be happening to your roof.
If a leak reaches the felt underlayment the water may travel sideways on the wood battens. The wood battens become saturated and then hold moisture leading to premature rotting of the felt underlayment. The rotted felt underlayment will the fail to repel water and the resulting rot inevitably leads to more leaking, dry rotted lumber and serious damage to your home. You might not know this is happening under your roofing shingles because the leak might be small.
At some point, though, visible damage will begin to show. You may see small stains appear at upper or lower corners of your ceiling or floor. When heavy rainfall occurs water will pool and saturate the ceiling dry wall possibly causing it to collapse from it's own weight. When obvious evidence of a roof leak appears it is often too late - the damage to your roofing lumber will already have happened. At this stage of roofing damage, not only will it be difficult to put off a re-roofing job, but the costs will be higher because there will have been significant damage to the roof's lumber and underlayment.
Crown Roofing recommends taking proactive action to prevent roofing problems before they occur. Even if you have an older home, you can extend the life of your roof by annual cleaning of debris and accumulations. You might want to even create your own winter preparation checklist.
A checklist a good way to keep on track with any task. Your roofing checklist will be tailored to the individual issues and needs of your roof. There will be specific problem areas which need special attention, for example, plants taking root on certain areas of the roof will warrant weeding to be added to your checklist. Get started with a basic list to include the following:
• Clean the valley of debris and accumulations
• Check vents and chimneys for good seal
• Clear accumulations from animal presence and prevent access with chicken wire
• Hose down the roof and inspect for cracked or missing tiles/shingles
• Clear any build up of roof moss, algae or lichens
• Remove any growth of plants or weeds
• Trim roof overgrowth of trees and bushes
• Check gutters accumulations and clear channels and downspouts
• Blow out downspouts with hose
• Apply mastic to problem areas for maintenance or repair
If moss is a problem on your roof, you may want to take the time and effort to clean it up. For the DIY homeowner please see our blog on The Hidden Dangers Of Roof Moss if you need to remove moss from your roof. We provide some tips and basic instructions to get handle on moss overgrowth on the roof.
Start by inspecting known problem areas common to most roofs. The valley is the area at the base of the crown where rain water travels downward to and runs off the roof. If leaves are allowed to accumulate here dust and dirt will begin to pile up and obstruct free water flow. When water becomes dammed up in the valley is seeps up under the tiles and shingles and that's when the damage begins. Clearing the valley of leaves and accumulations of dirt and crud is going to be a necessary task to be performed on most roofs.
Another potential problem area is the gutter. Just as downward flowing water will deposit debris in the valley, so debris which does not settle in the valley will be deposited in the gutter. Smaller debris particles will exit through the down spout but leaves larger than the hole size of the downspout cannot exit and will accumulate in the gutter. Leaves which accumulate in the gutter must be removed annually or they will decompose, trap dirt and pool water. On most homes the gutter is made of metal and the water pooling there is acidic from the leaves and will cause rust and premature failure.
"It's a very common thing we find on most roofing projects. The gutter will be full of leaves and debris - the drain has become clogged and the pooling water there causes the gutter to rust. The weight of the leaves, mud and water often will cause the gutter to be pried off the fascia and fall to the ground. The usual case for a roofing renovation is to also replace the gutter and down spouts."
The best way to prevent leaves from accumulating in the gutter is to install a gutter screen. With a gutter screen leaves cannot become trapped in the gutter and will wash off the roof and go directly to the ground. While gutter screens work great, if they fail the can trap more leaves than a gutter without a screen because leaves which have worked their way under the screen will be be permanently trapped there, effectively blocking free flow of water through the gutter. Even if you have a gutter screen, it is important to check it from time to time to make sure it is functioning properly.
One other typical roofing issue to inspect for are cracked, loose, or broken tiles or shingles. Minor repairs can be performed by the handy home owner using simple tools and roofing mastic available from hardware stores. You can also check with roofing suppliers if you need to replace a particular type of tile or shingle. If this is your first time doing R&R to your roof, giving attention to small things like how to properly set and climb a ladder, what kind of boots work best, and what kinds of tools and materials are needed to take care of repairs are going to pay off by getting you heading in the right direction to successfully accomplishing roofing maintenance.
Prevention is key to preserve the health of your roof. We have covered creating a checklist and advise taking time each fall to follow up and do the roofing maintenance. It means getting out the ladder, putting on the boots and gloves, and getting on your roof to clear out the debris accumulations and things growing up there. Using your checklist as a guide, start at the crown of the roof and work your way down the valleys moving debris off the roof with a stiff push broom. Some of this debris you just pushed down will, of course, end up in the gutter and must be removed. A garden trowel is useful for this. Alternatively, wear some gloves and just scoop the debris out with your hand. To clear the down spout, insert a broom handle and push the debris down the pipe. Follow up by rinsing valley and gutter as well as blasting a stream of water into the down spout to flush it out. Always work slow and careful when on the roof. A wet roof is slippery and you may need to avoid walking on the areas you have sprayed with water.
Never hesitate to call us, your trusted local neighborhood professional. Getting up on the roof may not be for everyone. Indeed, some roofs are too steep or just too high up for the average person to safely manage. We're the roofing professionals and have the experience and equipment necessary to take care of your roofing needs whether inspection, cleaning, repair or roof replacement. We at Crown Roofing are a small and busy company and, for the moment, mainly focus our energies on roof replacement. If you are ready for a roof renovation we would be honored to have the privileged to be the company you choose for a new roof. In this case please do not hesitate to contact us for a free estimate on our contact page. For other roofing services such as annual cleaning or roof repair we would be happy to refer a qualified professional for the task.
Getting Your Roof Rain Ready Can Extend The Life Of Your Roof as well as prevent costly damage to your home from a roof leak. Most people think that think that roof inspection and maintenance is difficult. While true it can be tough to track down a water leak flowing under the roofing tiles or shingles, we recommend that home owners take proactive measures to inspect and perform minor repairs to their roof on an annual basis, and where the roof is not so steep as to prevent access without safety lines, it's really not as difficult as people might think to get on the roof and address common roofing problems that can occur. In this blog we talk about the importance of annual maintenance and of taking care of small roofing problems before they turn into big ones.