Winter can seem endless, but as the snow slowly starts to melt and the temperatures rise, it’s time to clean and inspect your roof.
Winter weather can impose some serious strain on a roof system. Removing debris and cleaning off organic buildup will not only make the roof look better, it will improve the roof’s longevity, too. Once the snow melts, handle the following accordingly...
Trim tree limbs.
Tree branches that rub against shingles will remove the protective granules or tear off entire shingles, allowing moisture to penetrate the roof system.
To keep limbs from damaging your roof, trim them periodically to keep them from ever touching or rubbing against your roof.
Remove leaves and pine needles.
A few trapped leaves and a handful of pine needles aren’t a serious detriment to your roof, but if they group together and are deep enough to trap moisture against the roof, they need to be cleaned off.
Debris that traps moisture against the roof will generate mold, mildew, and other problems.
Use a push broom or leaf blower to remove leaves and pine needles, but do so with caution in order to protect shingle granules.
Prevent moss growth.
Moss thrives on moist, wet surfaces, so if moss is growing on your roof, it means there’s excess moisture being generated.
Remove leaves and cut back any tree branches to allow sunlight to dry up as much moisture as possible.
You can treat moss with chemical solutions, but most will damage your yard. A popular solution is to install zinc or copper strips along the ridgeline. As rain washes across the strips, it creates an environment where moss can’t grow.
Kill any mold.
Any discolored shingles point to mold, fungi, or algae growth, all of which can deteriorate roofing materials and cause roof leaks. A firm scrub brush and a solution of either bleach or copper sulfate will kill and remove mold growth.
Many top-tier roofing manufacturers sell mold-resistant shingles, which may be appropriate if you plan on reroofing your home.
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Clean and inspect the gutters.
Heavy snow throughout the winter can cause gutters to collapse, and if you failed to clean the gutter system before winter set in, clogged gutters will lead to a number of problems.
Before the spring rain comes, carefully inspect your gutter system to make sure it’s still intact and can easily allow water to drain. Pull any loose nails and re-nail sections that are not sitting tightly along the roofline.
Check on roof flashing.
Severe winter weather can crack, loosen, and damage flashing around the roof. Carefully inspect flashing around the chimney, roof edges, and any roof protuberances.
If you notice any minor cracks, use roofing cement to form a temporary patch until a professional can inspect it.