How’s Your Roof?

Spring is here and the homeowner’s mind turns to outdoor improvements, maintenance and repairs. The roof of your home should play a big part of the maintenance and may even be a major project you’ll be undertaking this year if it needs replacing.

All winter long the roof has been subjected to elements which have taken their toll on the covering and in some cases the structure. And just because the “good” weather is coming, don’t assume that you’re ok for another year. The summer is even harder on the surface. The intense heat, the sun’s ultra violet rays, heavy rains and winds can have a worse effect on your shingles that the snow and ice. To determine the condition of your roof, an inspection is required.

How often should you inspect your roof?

Once or twice a year is a rule of thumb but that may not be enough. Severe weather, strong winds, sleet and other similar conditions can damage the roof at any time. Many roofs in the Vaughan and Woodbridge area were damaged from the strong winds that the area experienced this past March. Not only were some of the older roofs damaged but also many newer installations. It is always good practice to inspect the roof after severe weather along with bi-yearly inspections.

How to inspect the roof

There are several ways to inspect a roof. One way is to climb up onto the roof and walk over its surface taking every precaution and observing safety at all times. This may not always be safe to do so (such as in aggressively sloped roofs, wet or slippery roofs, metal, clay, wooden or concrete roofs). You may not be comfortable with climbing onto high places to do this. A good pair or binoculars may be all you need to seen the condition of the roof from all the sides of the home.
If you simply don’t feel capable of inspecting your own roof for whatever the reason, you could schedule a roofing contractor to come and do it for you. Many are willing to inspect the roof for you at no charge in the hopes of future business. Make sure they are qualified and can be trusted.

What to look for

1. Start by looking at the discharge of you downspouts and gutters. Asphalt shingles have their surface covered with granule looking very much like fine gravel. As the shingles age, small cracks develop which combined with the harsh elements, cause the granules to loosen up and fall from the surface. Rain water sweeps the granules down the roof, into you gutters. Some stay there while others flow into the downspouts and end up on your drive, garden and concrete splash pads. If you see lots of these granules in these locations it may be a sign that your shingles are approaching the end of their life span.

2. Look at the roof’s flashing. Flashing is the metal which is installed around chimneys, dormer windows, brick to roof meeting points and roof penetrations. Ice and winds can lift the flashing and in extreme cases even rip it off. When this happens, openings are created which can let rain and snow get at the wooden structure and cause damage. Gaps from missing or dry caulking around the flashing will also allow moisture to enter areas and cause damage to the roof structure and possibly even to the interior of the home.

3. Look for curling and cracks of the end of the shingles. Age and overheating of the shingle during summer can cause this to happen. In some cases patches or sections of missing granules can be seen due to aging. This is a sure sign the shingles may soon fail. Get them replaced soon.

4. Look at your chimney. Bricks sometimes get loose and fall onto you roof causing damage to the surface of the shingle.

5. Tree limbs can not only cause damage from rubbing over the roof and falling onto the roof, but also can get under the shingles. Look for these problems areas.

Get into the habit of looking up at you roof and shingles when you drive up or are in the back yard barbequing or enjoying the warm sunshine. You may just be able to spot something unusual the next time which wasn’t there last week. That little peek and a regular roof inspection may just end up saving you money and headaches in the future.

Next week we will look at whether replacing the roof covering is required or maybe just a small repair is needed instead. Until then enjoy the warmer and much anticipated weather ahead.