Bright blue skies and blooming flowers mean winter has finally passed, but the harsh weather may have left its mark on your home. Even if you didn’t notice any issues over the last few months, ice, snow, and wind are hard on a roof, and it’s important to check closely for signs of wear.
Why should I check my roof now?
If you catch problems early, you can often fix them and avoid costly repairs later when small cracks turn into big leaks. Also if you do have any damage, check your homeowner’s policy, if the damage is covered, you’ll need to make your claim as soon as possible.
How can I check for damage?
You can see most of your roof from the ground with a pair of binoculars. We don’t recommend climbing on top of your house or perching on ladders. Also, look around your yard. You may find pieces of shingle on the ground – this is a sure sign you’ll need repairs.
What should I look for?
- Buckled, curled, cracked, or blistered shingles
- Missing or broken pieces
- Small blank spots on the surface of asphalt material
- Asphalt granules in the gutters
- Small dings or rust in metal roofing or flashing
- Flashing pulled away from the chimney or skylights
- Cracked rubber boots around vent pipes
- Moss or lichens
- Torn, misshapen, or leaking gutters
Where else should I check?
Sometimes, you can’t see small cracks in the roof, but you can detect the resulting water damage by checking inside your house and around the exterior siding. Look for these signs:
- Dark spots on ceilings
- Peeling paint under the overhang
- Dampness along fireplaces
- Water stains on vent pipes from the furnace
- Sagging roof deck in the attic
- Stains or marks on the siding finish
- What damage am I likely to miss?
Some winter damage is hard to spot from the inside or outside. For example, shingles have a sealing strip on the bottom that keeps water from coming up underneath them. But high winds can lift these and crack the seal. When they lay back down in calmer weather, you won’t be able to see the damage.
What can I do?
You can usually glue curled-up shingles back down with roofing cement. But any cracked, blistered, warped, or missing pieces have to be replaced. If flashing (thin pieces of material that redirect water flow) has small cracks in the seal, you can repair it with fresh caulking, but if there are rust holes or if it’s pulled away significantly, you’ll need new material.
For gutters that have detached from the house, you can re-attach the brackets so long as there isn’t significant damage. You can also fix leaking joints with gutter sealant. If they’re broken or badly bent, you might need to replace that section. Also, make sure they’re clear of debris so water can drain easily from the downspout.
If you’ve noticed granules in the gutters, it’s a good time to check the age of your shingles. Those granules could be coming off from natural wear or you might have had some hail damage. If your material is approaching the end of its lifespan (about 20 years for most asphalt), it might be time for a replacement roof.
Moss killer designed for roofs will control any moss or lichen, but keep in mind that these might be signs of decay, so consider having a professional take a look. Also, if you have any staining or damp spots that indicate leaks, call in help. The source of these problems isn’t always easy to find or fix.
Remember that you can cause or exacerbate cracks by walking around your house, and slate or ceramic tiles can break under a person’s weight. So be very careful if you decide to handle any repairs yourself.
If you’d like an expert to help you identify the damage, Dry Home Roofing & Siding offers free inspections. We can also help you decide the best course of action for addressing any winter surprises. Just contact us for an appointment.