When warm weather lures you into the front yard, take a few minutes to look up and inspect your roof to see if it needs spring maintenance.
Use these 10 tips from the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association to make sure your shingles are secure and functioning properly.
1. The best time for an inspection is the spring or summer after severe weather conditions (and the damage they may have inflicted) have passed.
2. Do your initial inspections from the ground or through upstairs windows if you can see the roof from them. Binoculars can help.
3. Keep gutters and roof surfaces clear of fallen leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other litter so rain water drains freely.
4. Trim back trees to prevent branches from scuffing the roof surface. This will also keep the roof surface drier, helping to inhibit growths such as algae, mold, fungus, or lichen. Keep climbing roses, vines, and ivy trimmed back from the roof.
5. Never paint or coat asphalt roofing materials to change the color or give the roof a new look because paint or coatings may void the manufacturer’s warranty. You can clean asphalt shingles if they are showing signs of staining from algae.
6. Never allow water from a downspout to pour directly onto a roof below, as this will create additional wear to the shingle surface. Connect all upper-story downspouts to a lower-level gutter with drains installed on the lower roof.
7. When removing snow or ice from a valley or other roof areas, use a soft-bristled broom or long extension pole — never allow shovels to make direct contact with your shingles. Never climb onto a wet or snow-covered roof.
8. Inspect the underside of the roof deck from the attic to detect leaks. Flashings are the most vulnerable points; therefore, inspect the underside carefully at all flashing points for evidence of leakage, such as water stains. Remember that in cooler climates, water stains may be due to condensation as a result of inadequate attic ventilation.
9. Limit walking on roofs to a minimum to avoid damaging the surface. When workmen have to climb onto the roof to service or install a chimney, solar collector, television antenna, or other roof element, require them to use care to protect the roofing. Avoid mounting satellite discs or other hardware to the roof surface to avoid future potential leak areas.
10. Whenever a new element is added to the roof, make certain proper flashing procedures are followed to maintain the integrity of the roofing. Be sure anchors are made of a non-corrosive material to eliminate the possibility of metal discoloration or “iron stains” on the roof.