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Keep Your Roof in Good Condition

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When Brad and Renee built their first house, they didn’t plan on having water damage to the kitchen floor a year later. It was even more of a surprise that the damage came from the roof. The problem came from loose flashing around the door which allowed water to seep in, damaging the floor and the wood around the door. Fortunately, the house was still under warranty and the builder fixed the problem, but if it was an older home, this would have been an expensive repair for them.

Roof maintenance is generally not something you think about until you start having problems, but it's something you need to do often. If Brad and Christina had noticed the loose flashing sooner, they could have avoided the amount of damage to their kitchen floor.

What to Check For
If you think you have to get on a ladder to inspect your roof, and ladders make you uneasy, no need to worry! Much of your roof inspection can be done from the ground. Besides, it's better for you and for your roof if you do not walk on it.

Let's begin with the flashing. (If you don’t want to use a ladder, binoculars will work just as well.) Flashing is a piece of material (usually sheet metal, aluminum, plastic or roofing felt) you will find around any roof openings like a chimney, skylight, vent pipe, dormer window, door, etc. Since flashing is used to keep water from seeping in to those areas, it should not be loose or it will not be effective.

It's also smart to inspect the shingles. After all, you don't want to see shingles that are curling at the edges, buckling, warped or blistering as this can mean that the shingles are getting older and may need to be replaced. Discolored, cracked or missing shingles are also concerning. If you have asphalt shingles, you may notice they are covered with a grainy coating that's used to protect it from the elements. If the granules come off, the shingle can crack or break, allowing water to leak under it and start to damage the roof's foundation.

Also, make sure your roof is not distorted in any way. Are there bulges, valleys or waves? There shouldn't be, and if you see any of those things, you might have a problem on your hands.

Keep it Clean
Do you see green? Mold or moss could be growing on your roof, and it needs to be cleaned off because it can be damaging. While it may be tempting to use a power washer, this can remove those protective grainy particles we talked about before from asphalt shingles. Instead, spray a moss removal solution on the roof and gently brush it off. Or even better, leave it to a professional.

Lastly, check your gutters and downspouts to be sure they have no debris. If they are clogged, it can cause water to back up, whether it's from heavy rain or from snow and ice melting. When water backs up, it can leak under shingles, damaging the shingles and the wood underneath them. That type of damage usually isn’t apparent right away —you only notice it by water marks on your ceiling. When it gets to that point, you have to fix the roof and the ceiling. If the water has been there for an extended amount of time, there's a possibility that mold may be present as well, so you should clean that out before it causes more damage.

The average lifespan of a roof is 20 years, and the average mortgage is for 30 years. To get the most life out of your roof, carry out regular roof inspections and maintenance so that small problems don't become bigger ones. With these tips and a good pair of binoculars, you’ll have everything you need to keep your roof in great shape for years to come.

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