How Roof Maintenance Can Improve Energy Efficiency and Decrease Utility Bills

Roof maintenance is an important task that can help prolong the lifespan of your home’s roof. It can also improve energy efficiency and decrease utility bills.

Roof Maintenance

Routine roof maintenance includes cleaning, inspections, and repairs. Roofing professionals recommend inspecting your roof at least twice per year. This helps catch problems early before they become serious. Contact Red Stick Roofing Of Louisiana for professional help.

The roof is a crucial element of a house, protecting it from weather conditions like rain and snow, as well as environmental factors that cause wear and tear. Oftentimes, signs of problems are easy to spot from ground level, including dislodged shingles and masses of colored granules, but there are some problems that require a closer look to notice. Climbing on the roof can be dangerous, especially if you have no roofing experience, but there are ways to inspect the roof without going up there.

Start with a walk around the property and look up at the roof to see any damage or visible water leaks. Check for moss, mildew and mold that could lead to more severe leaks or other damage. It is also a good idea to inspect the gutters and downspouts for any debris such as leaves, twigs or dirt that may be blocking the flow of water away from the roof.

If you have access to the attic, head up there for a more detailed inspection. If you can see any holes or cracks in the ceiling, dripping water spots or wet areas on the floor, these are a sign of water infiltration from the roof. You can also inspect the roof from the attic to see any areas where the roof meets the chimney, skylights or vents. These areas need to be sealed properly to prevent water infiltration.

A thorough inspection should include checking the flashings, as most leaks originate there. This involves checking to make sure that they are not rusty, dented or cracked. If they are, then they need to be replaced. Also, if the caulking is brittle or cracked, then it should be re-caulked.

Finally, it is a good idea to examine the chimney for any damage such as deteriorated mortar or crumbling bricks. It is also a good idea to clean the chimney flue with a brush and remove any build-up of creosote. Taking notes of the condition of the roof and any areas of concern is essential, as this information will be useful when discussing the issues with a roofing professional.

Trim Tree Branches

The branches of large trees can dangle over your roof, causing damage to your home and posing hazards during storms. Periodically trimming the tree branches can help prevent them from rubbing against your roof, as well as protect it from debris accumulation and heavy winds.

To trim a branch, start on the underside and cut about a foot away from the trunk. Next, move to the top side of the branch and saw about an inch farther up the stub. This allows the branch to break off naturally as it bends under its own weight and helps avoid tearing or ripping. Finally, saw through the remaining stub and remove it from the tree. For a safe cutting job, make sure to use sharp tools. Dull saws can cause unnecessary damage to the bark and create jagged cuts that expose the wood to disease and pests.

The type of cut you make will depend on the situation, and some branches may need more attention than others. For example, a dead or damaged limb should be removed immediately to reduce the risk of breaking during a storm or from further damage caused by the weather. You might also choose to thin a tree to encourage its natural shape and to enhance light penetration into its interior leaves and soil below.

Other reasons to prune include removing limbs that are rubbing against your house and those that grow at an awkward angle from the rest of the canopy. These branches can rub against your roofing system and erode its surface, as well as block airflow to your attic and roof space. In addition, they can be a fire hazard and block your view of the surrounding landscape.

It’s also important to keep in mind that young trees require regular pruning to train and promote proper growth habits. Prune the lower laterals on a new leader to a point above outward-facing buds, and shorten the upper scaffold branches to one-quarter of their height and eliminate laterals higher than that. Narrow angles of branch attachment to the trunk are a sign of future weakness, and you should remove water sprouts and suckers as soon as they appear to prevent them from draining energy from the roots and stem.

Clean the Gutters

Gutters play a vital role in protecting the roof and home from water damage. They collect rain and direct it through downspouts away from the house. Without gutters, water would run off the roof and cause damage to the siding and foundation. Gutters also prevent water from splashing back onto the windows and into the home. Standing water in the gutters attracts mosquitoes, so keeping them clean is important for pest control as well.

Gutter clogs can be caused by many things. The most common is leaves and debris that wash into the gutters during rainy weather. Over time, this clogs the gutters, which prevents water from flowing freely through them. It is recommended that homeowners clean their gutters on a regular basis, especially twice a year, once in the spring and once in fall.

While a homeowner can do some of the work of cleaning their own gutters, it is generally best to hire a professional. The job is often easier and safer when a professional does it, and the results are better. The professionals will have access to a ladder that is tall enough to get the job done, and they will be able to use special tools to clear out clogs.

In addition to cleaning the gutters, a professional can also trim overhanging tree branches. This is a good idea to help prevent the branches from rubbing against the roof and causing damage during storms, and it can also reduce the amount of leaf debris that gets washed into the gutters during rainy weather.

Lastly, a professional can inspect the gutters for leaks and patch them as needed. They can also look for any areas where the gutter is sagging and check that downspouts are properly draining and spilling water several feet away from the house’s foundation.

When gutters are cleaned regularly, they can last longer and provide a greater level of protection for the roof and the structure of the home. They can also help to prevent rotted fascia boards, mold growth, toxic mould spores, water damage to walls, windows and doors, sagging gutters and leaky roof tiles.

Inspect the Flashing

Flashing is the piece of metal (usually galvanized steel, aluminum or copper) that seals points of intersection between a roof and walls, dormers, chimneys and more. When properly installed it is an effective barrier that prevents water from seeping into the wall and home. But, over time and after being exposed to the elements, flashing can wear out and need replacement. Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy task to accomplish.

Flashing needs to be inspected regularly and, in particular, at all locations where the roof meets the wall. This includes the level junctions, called headwalls, and the corners where walls meet the roof, dormers or gable ends. Look for corrosion, holes or leaks. Also check the condition of the caulking.

Inspecting the flashings is a simple, straightforward process. It involves scraping away the old caulk and applying a new bead to the flashing. Be sure to use a caulk that is specifically designed for roofing.

When inspecting the roof, pay special attention to the areas where the flashings connect to the soffit or roof vents. Leaks from these areas are often hidden by paint or insulation and are easy to overlook. They are especially important to examine after a rain storm.

Examine the flashing around skylights as well, and note any leaking. Depending on the type of skylight, it may require a different kind of flashing than other areas.

Look for moss, mildew or algae growth in and on the shingles. These are signs that the underlying material is decaying, and if not addressed soon, will allow water to get under the shingles and into the house.