Roof Maintenance GuideApril 23 Home Improvement moderator
As harsh winds, cold temperatures, snow and ice give way to spring thaw in Ohio, Michigan and surrounding areas, homeowners should perform springtime roof maintenance, inspection and repair.
Although we recommend you hire a professional roofer or roofing contractor, roof maintenance is something you can also accomplish on your own. Our do-it-yourself roofer’s guide to spring roof maintenance will show you how.
Loose Debris Removal
Remove any branches, leaves or other debris that can accumulate on a roof in winter. With another person’s help, if possible, setup an extendable ladder, and carefully access the roof and remove the materials.
Roofing Tip: Perform roof maintenance tasks on a day when it’s sunny and the roof has dried to help prevent slippage.
General Roof Inspection and Repair
Check the attic or other interior ceiling for stains that can indicate water is seeping into your home. Check the roof for missing, lifted or loose shingles and then check the rest of the shingles for moss and mold, worn spots denoted by missing granules, cracks, peeling and curling. Additionally, check for missing or loose flashing, nails and metal roof bolts. Replace and repair shingles or flashing, and replace or tighten roof hardware, as needed.
Roofing Tip: Peeling, curling and partially lifted shingles found in more than one area of the roof can indicate that the roof is at the end of its usability. If you don’t have experience with roof replacement and you see this level of damage, hire a professional roofer to determine if the roof needs more than do-it-yourself maintenance.
Moss and Mold Removal
Gently spray a roof moss remover and cleaner on affected areas. Follow the specific cleaner’s instructions to wait for the solution to do its work, and then gently brush away the moss and mold with a soft bristled broom and wide handheld brush.
Roofing Tip: Use of a power washer or hard-bristled brush can wear away granules that protect the shingles from harmful UV rays.
Soffits, Fascias, Gutters and Downspouts
Another important part of springtime roof maintenance is cleaning and inspecting your home’s soffits, fascias, gutters and downspouts. Wearing heavy rubber work gloves, carefully remove by hand, or with a small scoop, all debris from the gutters and downspouts. Then, gently scrub away dirt and grime from all areas with a soft bristled cleaning brush. Clear away remaining debris with a garden hose and then check for missing caulk and paint peeling; soffit and fascia rotting, holes and cracks; loose or missing gutter sections or hardware; and gutter-related leaks. Make replacements and repairs, and re-caulk and re-paint, as needed.
Roofing Tip: Leaning your body on the gutters while cleaning can damage them and potentially cause you to fall off your ladder. Installing gutter screens or covers can reduce yearly cleaning time.
Chimneys, Skylights and Vent Openings
Once you have finished the main sections of your roof, work on the chimney, skylights and vent openings. Close off the fireplace, clean creosote from the chimney with a chimney brush and then inspect the chimney for damage, such as a missing or cracked bricks or mortar. Perform repairs and then seal the chimney with a masonry or chimney water repellent product. Lastly, clean, inspect and repair the vent outlets, and skylights if applicable.
Roofing Tip: Using a roof safety harness can help prevent falls when performing any work on your roof.
Although springtime roof maintenance may seem like a lot of hard work, major roofing repairs can be a costly and time-consuming. Always keep in mind that preventative work now will benefit you not only this year, but also far into the future.