The fact is most people neglect doing roof maintenance until it’s too late. Basic maintenance goes a long way towards preventing potential leakage and interior damage. The easiest way to remember when to perform this work is in the Fall as soon as the leaves are gone from the trees.
#1) Remove tree debris: allowing accumulation of leaves and debris in roof valleys, behind skylights, around roof mounted heat and air units, solar panels, etc. is never a good thing. Trapped leaves decompose and block drainage causing leakage and dryrot damage that may go undetected for years. If you have large trees overhanging the house have the limbs trimmed back at least 5 feet or more from the roof surface to prevent damage during windy conditions. If your trees drop leaves year round than we suggest having the roof blown off twice a year.
#2) Clean gutters and drains: water backing up in gutters and overflowing is not just an inconvenience, but can cause wood damage and even leakage on some houses that do not have overhangs. Flat and low sloped roofs are especially affected by plugged up drains that can back up causing major leakage and interior damage. Water overflowing on to walkways may also cause a slip hazard.
#3) Exterior inspection: It is a good idea to stand back and look at the roof if possible to do a basic visual examination. If you find shingles lying around in the yard or other roofing materials don’t assume that they came from the neighbor’s house because chances are they came off of your roof. If something does not look right or normal to you it is time to get a professional to look at it.
#4) Interior inspection: If your roof is older and may have had some problems in the past it is advised to do a quick walk around inside the house and look at the ceilings. Most people start off with a small stain that is barely detectable possibly in a room they do not go into very often. If ignored this small stain can turn into a large leak and interior damages. If you have any doubts have the roofing inspected by a professional.
#5) My roof is old but has never leaked: Even with proper maintenance we suggest having a trusted professional roofing company check the roof every 5 years. If the roofing is deteriorating and close to its life expectancy a professional will be able to tell approximately how long you have left before needing replacement. Even roofs that are fairly new should be inspected to be sure there is no damage from storms, tree branches, rodents, etc. Also a roof that is possibly defective can be spotted early to begin the process of claiming a warranty if needed.