Whether you're a first-time homeowner, a long-time homeowner, or are simply curious about how to keep your roof in peak condition, knowing the in's and out's of roof maintenance is important. The fact is, even if you've purchased a warranty with your roof, there are certain things that you need to do as a homeowner to keep your warranty valid.
With that in mind, here are 7 roof maintenance tips that you should know:
1. Keep Your Gutters and Downspouts Clear
One of the most common maintenance tasks that homeowners are responsible for is keeping their gutters and downspouts clear of leaves, rocks, and other debris. There are several tools that you can buy for this very purpose, and they don't cost very much.
The reason why you need to keep your gutters and downspouts clear of obstructions is that when water starts to pool in your gutters, it can actually overflow and come into your shingles, and even into your house.
2. Check the Seals on All Your Pipe Flashings
The flashings around your vent pipes can quickly break down due to weather conditions — and this is especially true in Colorado's harsh climate. At least once a year, you should check all of your pipe jacks for one of two things:
- Are they starting to break down? If you see cracks in your pipe jacks, then water could easily penetrate them and damage your roof.
- Has the rubber pulled away? Pipe jack rubber may loosen over time, allowing water to creep down past the jack and boot.
3. Seal All Exposed Nail Heads
You're going to have exposed nail heads along the bottom of your pipe flashing, and also along your roof's ridges. While you can't avoid visible nail heads, it's important to seal them with silicone or another appropriate material. This will prevent water from leaking into the holes beneath these nail heads.
4. Prevent and Remove Ice Dams
Obviously, this point only applies to homes in colder climates. (If you live in Florida, you won't have to worry about this one!) If you see ice damming on your roof, you need to remove it as soon as possible. If you don't, water will build up around the ice dam and eventually flow back under the shingles. From there, the water will either travel to your soffit or come through to your house.
Of course, even if an ice dam hasn't already formed on your roof, you still need to eliminate the conditions that will lead to an ice dam, like a clump of packed snow.
5. Check the Connections on Your HVAC Pipes
Just about any homeowner will need to perform this roof maintenance task. Houses may have a furnace vent pipe, a water heater vent pipe, or a gas fireplace chimney pipe. It's important to periodically check the connections on these pipes (such as your pipe's collar) because (a) they may start to rust (and if they do, then over time holes will develop through which water can enter your roof and home) or (b) they may grow loose over time.
6. Keep Your Valleys Clean and Free of Debris
Most homes have valleys, or areas where two sloping roof pitches intersect. While re-roof jobs may not show it, all valleys have flashing to cover their sharp angles. If your valleys have debris in them (like pine needles, twigs, sticks, etc.) then water will begin to accumulate on top of the valley's metal flashing and cause it to rust.
7. Check the Flashing and Seals on Your Skylights
A skylight can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. From a roofer's perspective, skylights can easily become a nightmare. Each skylight has to have flashing along the top, bottom, and sides. When debris accumulates near the top or sides of a skylight's flashing, then standing water can cause rust to develop along the metal, which will eventually cause a water leak.
In addition, you need to check the seal between your skylight's frame and its glass. As your house moves and contracts, that seal can shift, and even break. To prevent this from happening you need to regularly check your skylights, reseal them around the glass, or replace their old seals with new ones.
For any questions about roof maintenance, or other roof-related issues, feel free to reach out to us via our website.