You should add roof maintenance to your Spring cleaning checklist every year. Throughout the colder season, your roof kept you protected from elements like snow and freezing rain. Snow and ice, both fresh and melting, put stress on your roof and gutter systems. You should perform roof maintenance or schedule an expert to assist you with doing so to avoid any roof leaks or other roofing issues throughout the Spring season. The experts at Signature Exteriors have put together a few tips and tricks to help you.
How Does Winter Affect My Roof?
Winter poses a significant concern for roofing systems of all ages. Although Charlotte, NC, typically experiences mild winters compared to other parts of the US, the harsh weather can still affect your roof in serious ways. Below are the most common forms of roof damage caused by season.
Snow and Ice Damage
Although Charlotte may not get as much snow as other areas, even a few inches can cause problems. As snow and ice melt from your roof, there is a risk that the water can seep underneath shingles or into cracks and small holes to cause a roof leak. For the future, be sure to keep your gutters clean throughout the winter too! Gutters are vital to the proper drainage of your roofing system – if they’re clogged, it significantly increases your chance of a roof leak as the melting snow and water can back up underneath the shingles.
Snow is hazardous for flat or low-sloped roofing because the snow can’t fall off as easily. If you have a low-sloped, flat, or commercial roof, we highly recommend scheduling a local roofing contractor to assist with your roof inspection.
Wind damage during the winter isn’t uncommon. Old shingles, loose shingles, or even improperly installed new shingles can fail during winter storms. Additionally, freezing rain like hail or sleet can weaken and damage the shingles.
Ice dams occur when snow or ice build-up on the roof partially melts and then re-freeze at the eaves. This pooling at the eaves can cause water to work its way under the shingles. These ice dams can also keep any additional water from properly running off your roof, allowing more water to get under the shingles. The ice dams themselves also pose a concern for your eaves, flashing, and gutter system. Due to their weight, ice dams have the potential to tear these items right off of your roof.
Charlotte, NC, does not typically experience extreme winters, but that doesn’t mean our roofs aren’t susceptible to the damage that winter weather conditions can cause. As winter comes to an end, it’s important to perform quick maintenance to avoid more significant problems during the Spring.
Roofing Maintenance Tips
Although most homeowners don’t include roof inspections as a part of their yearly Spring cleaning, the roofing experts here at Signature Exteriors urge you to change your mind. Winter is tough on your roof, and there is no harm in performing a quick inspection or hiring a professional to do so. Not only will Spring roof maintenance make your home look better, but it will also help to extend the life of your roof.
Winter storms can leave debris on a roof, such as tree limbs, leaves, and pine needles. These items can knock the protective granules off of your shingles and clog your gutters. Excessive debris build-up can also result in damming where water is trapped on your roof, which will work its way underneath your shingles. If your house is underneath large trees, we recommend installing gutter guards onto your home to help reduce any clogs.
Moss and Algae
Moss and Algae are commonly present on older roofs that don’t receive a lot of sunlight. The relative darkness and coolness allow moisture to remain on the roof, providing the perfect growing space for those spores. If your house is positioned underneath many trees, see if you can cut those limbs back to allow more sunlight to reach your roofing system. Ensure your roof and gutters are free of debris to prevent extra moisture from collecting around or on your roof.
There are treatments available, composed of chlorine bleach, that you can spray onto your roof to help address the moss and algae, but be aware that the runoff may impact your surrounding shrubbery. There are also algae-resistant shingles on the market (see GAF’s StainGuard Plus Technology as an example) with special copper granules that inhibit algae growth. Another option is to install zinc or copper strips on the ridgeline of your roof. As rain washes across these strips and down your roofing system, it creates an environment where moss cannot grow.
Note: Do NOT pressure wash your roof. Pressure washing your roof can cause shingle granule loss and, likely, premature failure of your roofing system.
Heavy snow and ice commonly result in damaged or loosened gutters. As part of your Spring cleaning, clean your gutters and check to ensure that water can flow easily through them. Fix any loose nails that prevent your gutters from sitting tightly along the roofline.
Missing Shingles and Flashing
Scheduling a complete inspection by your local roofing contractor can help you uncover issues with missing shingles or flashing around your chimneys, vents, or other penetrations of the roof.
We hope this roofing maintenance guide helps you as you start your Spring cleaning for 2019. Your roof is one of, if not the most, important pieces of your home. Add roofing maintenance to your yearly Spring cleaning checklist, and it will help your roof stand firm through the next winter – and, hopefully, for many more years to come!