The cold weather and storms of the winter season can wreak havoc on the exterior of a home and the surrounding property. Sometimes it isn't that there is significant damage, but simply the fact that it may have been several months since you last paid attention to or attempted any outdoor maintenance.
Now is the time to do a winter-end check to make sure everything is in order and your home is ready to withstand those spring-time showers and the pending heat of summer.
While all exterior areas should be checked periodically, one area that typically requires special attention at the end of the winter season is the roof. To identify possible roofing concerns, look for:
- Ceiling stains - A possible warning sign that your roof system needs repair or replacement. If localized, it may be an isolated point of damage or a flashing leak. Ceiling stains can also be associated with excessive attic moisture and/or ice dam conditions, which may require additional attic ventilation and/or insulation to prevent a recurrence. If there are stains on lower level ceilings, a plumbing leak could be the cause.
- Loose or missing shingles - Any loose or missing shingles should be repaired or replaced immediately to avoid additional leakage and damage to the roof deck or interior of your home.
- Loose, lifted or cracked flashing - This is the sheet metal or other type membrane found at the base of chimneys and roof penetrations. Damaged flashing should be repaired or replaced to prevent leakage. Any open gaps should be sealed with roof cement.
- Lifted or curled shingles - This may be an indication the roof is worn and at or near the end of its service life, or, at the very least, makes it conducive to wind damage. If found just in an isolated area, spot replacement may be possible, but if widespread, get a professional opinion on the roof's condition.
- Heavy granule buildup in gutters or at base of downspouts - The granules on roof shingles gradually wear away to the point where the underlying material is exposed over large areas. Once this happens the rate of shingle deterioration accelerates. If granule loss is excessive, it may indicate aging shingles that need replacement.
Any roof maintenance check should also include gutter cleaning. This is an areas often not paid attention to until an overflow creates problems. Gutters need to be checked year-round to help avoid expensive water damage to the siding or house structure. Extensions or splash blocks at downspouts help divert water away from the house, avoiding soil erosion and infiltration through basement or crawlspace walls.
If you have questions on your roof system, consider utilizing the services of a professional home inspector or qualified roofing contractor to determine conditions.