As temperatures warm and snow melts for good, a homeowner’s thoughts turn to… all the cleanup chores ahead. Madison WI homeowners should start at the top with a thorough roof inspection. Winter weather throws a lot at your roof. Everything from freezing rain, the pressure of heavy snow and high winds to wind-blown debris and damming ice buildup. A tip-to-edge inspection of your roof not only spots areas demanding immediate attention, it is the best way to head off potential problems later in the season. After you’ve done a basic inspection, plan on calling in a roofing expert to confirm any problems you think are there.
Most people who do look up, think of their rain gutters. Are they clean – did you forget to clean them out last fall? Has ice and heavy snow damaged them? The gutters are a good place to start.
In Wisconsin winter weather is so unpredictable you cannot plan for everything. Even if you did clean your gutters last fall chances are good more leaves and debris has found its way in over the past few months. Before the heavy rains we normally get in spring, check and clean them again. It may seem like a never-ending job, but keeping gutters in good working order protects your roof, siding and even your basement. Has heavy snow or ice pushed the gutter away from the roof? A gap between roof edge and gutter means water escapes to the ground – or inside siding and the roof. Your first inspection should be from the ground. Look closely for sagging gutters, bad connections of missing fasteners. Here’s a tip, use a small set of binoculars to make a “close” inspection without leaving the ground.
Your Overall Visual Roof Inspection
If you take a step or two back you can do a more complete visual inspection of your roof without a ladder. Look for obvious signs of trouble – immediate or potential – including:
- Tree branches – tree limbs offer two potential problems: 1. Branches connected to the tree that scrape the roof will damage shingles; and 2. Branches broken off in a winter storm clog gutters, damage shingles and can fall on someone. Remove loose branches and trim any making contact with the house.
- Leaves, pine needles – Leaves or pine needles blown in during the winter are only a problem if they’ve collected deep enough to hold moisture. If the layer is thicken enough to trap moisture it’s a prime growth area for mold and mildew. The mass can shift and block gutters, too.
- Moss – moss is another sign of too much moisture on the roof. Get trees trimmed to allow more sunlight to hit the surface to dry up the moisture moss needs to thrive. There are chemical sprays to consider as well. New, high-tech shingles have internal chemicals to prevent the growth of moss.
- Mold, algae and fungus – not only do these stain the roof, they eat away at shingles and cause leaks. There are sprays and chemical treatments for these too. Shingles like GAF StainGuard® Plus have specially formulated granules inhibit algae growth and protect against stains. WARNING: Do not use a pressure washer to try and remove stains. They can damage shingles and make the situation worse.
Avoid Roof Damage – Protect Shingles
A shingle is a small piece playing a very large role in protecting your home. Any inspection of your roof must include a close look at shingles. Overlooking minor problems leads to large repairs. When it come to inspecting your roof this spring, look specifically for:
- Missing shingles – the most obvious sign of a shingle problem is a gap in coverage. Missing shingles must be replaced. They represent a weak spot and expose the whole roof to serious damage.
- Curling shingles – any shingles with edges turning up need more detailed inspection. There are several potential causes and all open the roof to future problems.
- Blistering shingles – show up when a great deal of moisture builds up inside the shingle. It will burst eventually. A blistered shingle is very hard to spot, even for a seasoned professional.
- Buckling shingles – also caused by too much moisture underneath and often connected to a problem with framing. A sign of a much more serious problem in the roof structure.
- Stains and streaks – as obvious as missing shingles, stains represent a different kind of threat to the roof. Stains and steaks may be signs of a leak or poor ventilation. A professional roofing contractor has to tools and training to know for sure.
Inspect The Roof From Inside Out
It is easy to overlook that your roof has two sides. As part of your roof’s spring checkup, get into the attic and take a close look at the inside. In a dark attic do you see any sources of light? Even a pin-point light source means there’s a hole in the roof – the more light, the bigger the hole.
If you don’t see anything, but smell something “off,” do not ignore it. Smells mean many things – anything from an animal to mold, fungus or mildew.
When you roof is covered with ice and snow and temperatures are extremely cold the attic is a prime place for condensation. Too much moisture condensing inside your attic leads to roof damage from the inside – problems like rotting wood in addition to mold.
Professional Roof Inspection = Peace Of Mind
It’s easy note general wear and tear like rust on gutters or sections of roof that seem to be sagging. It’s not easy to see the small things that lead to major roof repairs. And, even when you spot them, are you equipped to treat them correctly?
Even when you’ve completed what you think is a complete inspection there may be damage you cannot see or recognize. Small details are hard to notice, especially when you’re not trained in what to look for. Most people overlook early warning signs. When in doubt, call in a pro.
The importance of a reliable inspection cannot be understated. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling has decades of experience serving Madison and greater Dane County with a team of skilled, highly-trained, skilled installers.
When it’s time for a close look at your roof, contact Sims Exteriors & Remodeling by email or by calling 608-825-4500. We’ll schedule an on-site inspection and evaluation. Count on us for a reliable roof inspection and all the materials you need to protect your Madison WI area home.