How to Care For Your Roof

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Think of your roof as the protector of everything in your home. That’s a big job that deserves a lot of respect. Take care of your roof, and it will take care of you and your belongings! Regular maintenance is a good investment and can save you from expensive repairs down the road. When you’re confident your roof is doing its job of protecting your whole house, you can start on your interior projects with peace of mind.

Here are a few things you should do every year to keep your roof in good shape:

1.Clean off debris which holds water and causes deterioration.

It collects behind all penetrations, like pipes, the chimney and skylights, as well as in valleys where roof sections meet at an angle.

2. Inspect the flashing to be sure it is solid and not deteriorating. Seal if need be, removing all old caulk and scrubbing the area clean.

In keeping with minimizing accumulations of debris on the roof, accumulations of debris in the gutter are just as potentially problematic. Year-round contact with wet leaves and dirt building up in your gutter can Damage the roof. Roofs are designed to shed water from rain and snow – and then dry out. If enough debris stays in your gutters, it’s possible that they could stop the edge of your roof from drying out. This could cause corrosion on a roof that would otherwise last 100 years when allowed to properly drain.

4. Prune trees branches that touch or hang over the roof. This keeps them from rubbing on it, but also keeps squirrels and other climbing animals away from the house. It hardly seems possible most of the time, but constant abrasion from tree limbs and bushes moving in the wind can damage the finish of al roof – or worse. Given years of wind motion and a hard enough branch, it’s possible that a roof could be damaged beyond having its finish compromised. Keep your trees trimmed and well away from your roof!

5. Minimize foot traffic

Even though most roofs can be walked on (in fact, walking on them is required during the installation) without damaging the function or appearance, it’s not something you should be doing regularly. No manufacturer wants a constant stream of traffic leaving marks on his carefully made roof covering, and so be careful to keep any traffic to a minimum. And if you or someone else finds a need to walk on the roof, try to ensure that they are at least somewhat familiar with the manufacturer’s recommendations in that regard.

6. Secure loose shingle tabs with a bit of roof cement. Replace damaged shingles.

7. Inspect and repair the mortar on the chimney.

8. If you have any serious damage, hire a roofing contractor.

A Side Blurb

Watch out for bad electrical panels when buying a house. It’s not a deal killer but you will want to get them replaced. Many insurers won’t cover them and they can start fires!

The most common is Federal Pacific but you should also watch out for Sylvania and Zinsco brands. The circuit breakers in these panels have been found to be unreliable. If they don’t trip when they should, an electrical surge can melt wires inside your home or cause a fire. Even though it may have been working for years with no problems, it could fail unexpectedly. Replacing the breakers is not enough. Have a licensed electrician replace the entire panel. You may have to replace two panels as there is often a Service panel outside the house and a Distribution panel on the inside. One or both may be a faulty brand. Watch out for the words “Stab-Lok” on the panel.

From Phil Wise with Wise Home Inspections, LLC