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While a roof is arguably the most important defense any home has against natural damage, it's also often the most neglected area when it comes to maintenance. Many homeowners don't think about the potential problems that a damaged roof can cause until the damage has already occurred, resulting in costly repairs.
Fortunately, a bit of regularly observed maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your roof in great shape for years without the need for major repairs or replacement. Here are three ways you might not have thought about caring for your roof.
Many people rely on roof rakes to remove leaves and debris from their roof in warmer months, and snow in the winter. However, the occasional sweep from the ground isn't enough to clear all the debris -- and when left in place, leaves, dirt, branches, snow and ice, and other natural refuse can deteriorate or even damage shingles.
The best way to care for your roof is to clean debris away thoroughly. This can be done at the beginning of spring when the snow has melted, and at the end of fall before the snow starts. Leaves and other debris tend to collect behind chimneys, pipes, and skylights, as well as inside the angles where roof sections meet. The gutters also need to be cleaned and inspected for damage.
During the winter in areas with heavy snowfall, ice dams can form and cause roof damage and interior leaks. Periodically clearing away the accumulated snow from your roof can help to prevent this type of damage and keep ice dams from forming.
Another good roof maintenance tip is to inspect your roof thoroughly a few times a year for any damage. Check all of your roof flashing to make sure it's solid, with no signs of deterioration. If you notice areas that seem open or damaged, thoroughly clean away any old caulk and scrub the area before sealing.
You should also inspect your shingles for loose areas, cracks, or other damage. Use roof cement to tack loose shingles back in place, and remove and replace any damaged shingles. Additionally, ensure that your chimney is solid, and replace mortar as needed.
Tree trimming is another good preventative maintenance step to take for your roof. Clearing away overhanging branches reduces the amount of leaves and debris that can fall on your roof, and also helps to prevent the growth of moss. Branches that overhang your roof can also provide a path for squirrels and other animals to get onto the roof, where they can cause damage and may even infiltrate your home.
A leaky roof can cause serious, costly damage to your home. Fortunately, detecting roof leaks is usually as simple as looking up. Roof leaks generally cause ceiling discoloration, especially after it rains. Check your ceilings periodically for yellow or brown stains, which are a sure sign of potential roof leaks.
Keep in mind that working on a roof can be risky, especially if you have a tall home or a steeply pitched roof. For many types of roof maintenance, it may be preferable to hire professionals such as Burke's Roofing for gutter cleaning, damaged shingle replacement, leaky roof repairs, and more. If you're not certain about the types of repairs your roof needs or how to go about fixing your roof, it's a good idea to consult a roofing professional. Typically, having your roof professionally repaired or replaced will save you money in the long run.