Fall is here and it’s time to prepare for winter!
When living in an area with harsh weather like Michigan it is important to have a good quality roof. However a roof is more than just shingles and decking and there are multiple factors that go into maintaining a healthy roof.
The functionality of your gutters is important in promoting a long and healthy life for your roof. Especially in the fall it is important to make sure your gutters are working properly to limit the amount of damage causes by the harsh effects of winter. Gutters should be replaced every 15-20 years however they need to be maintained or they will decay more rapidly.
It is important to make sure all downspouts are properly placed to direct water away from the home. This helps to prevent water from getting into the basement and prevents dangerous patches of ice from forming and causing a slip hazard. Gutters should also be cleaned so they are properly draining and keeping water away from the home to prevent interior damage within the home.
Particularly if you have trees around your house, fall is a prime time to consider adding gutter protection to your home. Gutter protection helps reduce leaves, debris, and critters from blocking water flow and helps prevent ice dams from forming. They also help prevent the number of times you must get a full gutter cleaning performed.
Attic, Fascia and Ventilation Systems
It is important to inspect for moisture in the attic and make sure the ventilation system is breathing properly. An improper ventilated attic is a breeding place for mold and mildew. If your roof is older than 10 years old the ventilation systems may not be up to your city’s code and adding vents and fans may be necessary. Mold and mildew are not only detrimental to your roof but are also a serious health hazard for anyone in the home as well.
Examine the soffits and fascia all around the perimeter of the home and inside of the attic for possible pest infestation. Small holes and dents are a gateway for critters to enter your home. If you have wood fascia it also needs maintained with stain or paint to prevent wood rot and insects from nesting. Many homeowners get their fascia and trim wrapped with aluminum trim to eliminate this maintenance altogether.
Have you noticed ice dams occurring on your roof previous winters ago? When ice dams melt, they can cause water to pool on the roof which can lead to leaking through the wall and ceilings of the home. One of the most effective ways to minimize ice dams and keep the home warm is by installing or upgrading attic insulation. The DOE recommends R-49 for attics in Michigan due to its extreme weather. Many homeowners who increase their insulation see a significant drop in their heating and cooling bills.
A roof should be inspected at least once a year and any time there is extreme weather conditions. Inspecting a roof can be hazardous as a “DYI project” and requires skill and expert knowledge. Depending on the type of roofing materials installed and the quality of installation an average roof’s lifespan ranges from anywhere from 10-20 years.
When inspecting for damage it is important to check for granule loss, loose or missing shingles and any imperfections that could cause water seepage into the interior of the home. Improperly sealed flashing around vents and chimneys is a common spot for roof leaks in newer roofs. With every roof inspection the attic space should always be examined carefully as well to ensure the roof is in good condition.
If there are any imperfections found on your roof it is critical to get them repaired as quickly as possible. Be preventative by repairing loose shingles and sealing flashing and you may avoid a destructive roof leak. Unfortunately, some critical damage and wear-and-tear cannot be simply “repaired” and if your roof is severely deteriorating it may simply be time for a full replacement.