With warmer temperatures and blooming plants, spring is perhaps the most anticipated season of the year. But it’s also the time to complete all that outdoor work that you put off during the winter.
If you’re a homeowner, your spring cleaning to-do list won’t be short. Raking the yard, cleaning the gutters, washing your home’s exterior—the list goes on. And don’t forget about your roof.
During the winter, residential roofs face Mother Nature’s harshest weather. In colder climates, ice and snow can build up and damage your roof. Dramatic temperature shifts can cause flashing and shingles to contract and expand, leading to cracks that can leak.
According to the American Cleaning Institute, nearly 75 percent of U.S. homeowners practice spring cleaning each year. Among those households, 45 percent target the dining room, 61 percent the den, 69 percent the bathroom and 73 percent the kitchen. But what about the roof?
Your roof protects your home from debris and blocks heat. Failing to properly maintain your roof could lead to unexpected repairs and increases in energy cost. But inspecting your roof and keeping it clean can increase its lifetime and efficiency.
Inspecting Your Roof
Inspecting a roof can be dangerous. If you don’t have experience here, it might be smart to hire professional help. Climbing ladders and standing on a sloping surface can be particularly risky.
If you do choose to inspect your roof, make sure you understand the signs of disrepair that relate to the particular roofing material. If your roof is slate, the signs of damage will be different than those of metal roofs.
Here are a few spring cleaning tips for your residential roof:
- Examine any wear near the roof valleys. Water runs down these valleys and into the gutter, so they are prone to water damage.
- For asphalt shingles, look for cracks in the shingles. These will appear as black areas or lines.
- For shingle or shake roofs, look for curled pieces. They may turn upward or be broken, split or missing.
- For slate roofs, examine any black areas where the slate might be missing.
- Examine the area surrounding the vent pipes and chimney. Look for gaps, cracks or missing caulk.
- If you have binoculars, use them to examine the trim, flashing and area around the chimney for cracks, loose shingles and wear.
- Assess the eave overhangs for water stains.
- Inside the home, look underneath the roof for signs of discolored or stained ceilings.
Avoid Maintenance With a Metal Roof
One of the principal reasons why more homeowners and businesses are installing metal roofs is the lower maintenance cost. Asphalt roofs have long been the go-to roofing material, but they last about half as long as metal roofs.
Asphalt also expands and contracts dramatically due to temperature changes. This can cause leaks, which lead to expensive internal damage. But climate has less effect on metal roofs.
In fact, the most common metal roofing materials rarely need maintenance. These include stainless steel, copper and zinc. Most repairs and maintenance result from design mistakes, which is why it’s so important to hire experienced professionals to install your metal roof. Otherwise, they can last 60 years or longer.
If you have an older metal roof, one that is graded “Utility” or “AG,” you will need to recoat the surface once the original finish wears. This helps prevent corrosion. It’s important to use the right type of coating: polyester- or acrylic-based. These will maintain elasticity during shifting temperatures.
Paul Kazlov is a “green” home modeling enthusiast that understands the importance of going green. Paul writes for the Global Home Blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.