Is your roof in good shape?
How would you even know? Short of venturing up a ladder every couple of months to physically examine the roof, homeowners typically don’t think about their roof until they see water (or signs of water damage) showing up where it shouldn’t. Much of identifying damage lies in understanding exactly how the roof functions in keeping homes shielded from the elements. Discover below the typical pitfalls for home owners and what should be done to best maintain your roof and other elements of your home’s top most exterior.
The soffit is located underneath the eaves or rafters. It is generally made of aluminum, though in older homes you will find that it is often made of plywood or particle board. Even the toughest soffit will eventually wear out. Any type of openings in the soffit will expose the home to some really undesirable guests, such as bugs, birds, squirrels or racoons looking for a wintertime homes or a springtime nesting spots.
The most effective way to extend the life of your soffit is to make certain that the air flow is as effective as it can be, particularly in a snowy or wet regions. Snow can become trapped inside the soffit or vents in the roof before it melts and causes water damage and/or rot.
If you notice any damage to your soffit or if you have any uninvited guests staying up there, then it’s time to change the soffit. This is a job that most home owners cannot undertake on their own. A couple of years ago, I had all of my soffits, ease troughs, downspouts and the rest all replaced. It wasn’t too expensive.
Ease troughs and downspouts
If your ease troughs (rain gutter) are obstructed, most homeowners can identify the problem rather quickly and handle this task by themselves. Inspect around the house and fix any locations where the rain gutter appears to be drooping or coming away from the home. See if you can spot any leaks around the joints of the rain gutter and caulk them with silicon. Of course, cleaning the leaves and other tree debris from your ease troughs is something you will have to do every fall – especially if you live in a mature neighbourhood surrounded by trees.
If the rain gutter is old and can’t be fixed, it may have to be replaced.
The better drainage your home has, the less likely it is that you will experience any water damage. Make sure your downspouts are connected, not blocked and draining far from the foundation.
Ice dams are caused by inadequate attic air flow. Ensure that your attic has enough insulation, roof vents and that there are baffles installed allowing for proper airflow.
Roof leaks often damage attics and since this part of your house is rarely visited, it can take a while for home owners to detect them. If you can see the top of the shingles, look for crinkling and curling, tears in the flashing (the material over the joints), or crumbling mortar around the chimney.
Inside, look for peeling paint, mouldy wallpaper or stains. If you see these signs, it may be time for a new roof.