The roof is one of the most important parts of a home — but we don’t often think about them until something goes wrong. With the roof positioned so far off the ground, it’s difficult to keep an eye on areas of concern (or even remember to do maintenance!) until they escalate into much larger issues.
As winter approaches in the Midwest, consider these roof maintenance and safety tips to make sure your family can hunker down comfortably inside.
Essential Roof Maintenance
Your roof is a marvel of engineering, but it will need seasonal maintenance in order to keep its integrity. Frequent exposure to weather, debris, and animals can impact the longevity of your roof. Fortunately, some simple maintenance will allow you to correct small problems and prepare your roof for the season ahead.
If leaves and branches are able to work their way down your roof and into your gutters, they can cause additional blockages that prevent water from draining. At least twice a year, get out your ladder and a set of helping hands to clear debris from your gutters. See any other form of debris while you’re up there? Don’t let leaves or branches accumulate on your roof. If left unchecked, debris can prevent your roof from properly draining water, leading to troublesome leaks and ice dams.
Here’s a helpful hint: the best way to limit debris is to stop it at the source. Reduce the number of leaves and branches on your roof by keeping your trees healthy and well-trimmed. If your neighbors have large trees near your property, talk to them about regular pruning as well.
Check for Damage
While you’re up there, be sure to examine your roof for any loose, missing, or otherwise damaged shingles. The earlier you catch a problem, the easier (and cheaper) it is to fix. It’s always a good idea to check for roof damage after a major weather event.
Keep It Clean
If your roof is inconsistent in color, it may be time for a wash. Algae, moss, mold, and other fungi can accumulate on your shingles over time, eventually causing your roof to deteriorate. Prevent this problem by periodically spray washing your room with a mixture of 50% water and 50% bleach.
Call in the Professionals
It’s a good idea to have your roof professionally inspected every two years. An experienced inspector will be able to catch any potential problems before they have a chance to get worse. Your inspector can provide you with roof maintenance tips customized to your unique situation. These appraisals typically range between $200 to $700 dollars — well worth it for the problems they can save down the road!
If you think you can handle some of your roof’s maintenance on your own, follow a few safety precautions to minimize your risk of injury.
Preparations on the Ground
Before getting out the ladder and climbing up onto your roof, evaluate whether your roof is safe to access. Ice and snow can make it tough even for professionals to keep their footing — there’s no shame in getting help from an experienced restoration company. The best days for roof maintenance are sunny and dry.
Choose the Right Gear
Always use an appropriate safety harness when accessing your roof, even if it’s just for a quick project. If you have any doubts about your equipment, reach out to a professional to do the job for you. No missing shingle or pile of debris is worth jeopardizing your safety!
Make sure you’re protected from the elements up on your roof with the proper garments. Wind can feel much stronger when you’re exposed on a high surface, so take care to wear any necessary jackets, hats, mittens, and goggles to stay safe.
Use the Buddy System
Always have a helping hand to help with roofing safety — avoid accessing your roof when home alone. Have a friend hold the ladder for you and watch your back as you climb up. If anything does go wrong, they’ll be on-site to get help quickly.