Maintain your roof this Spring: Here’s what we suggest.
Winter’s nearly over in Central Mass and the Greater Boston area. We can finally put away our heavy winter clothes and open our windows. It’s also time to pay attention to how our roofs have fared after months of punishing wind, ice, snow, and snow storms. And that’s not all. Now we face heavy spring rains, which can cause excessive leaks and damage to rooftops in disrepair. However, you’re a smart property owner. You know it’s not only time to smell the roses this spring, but also time to get your roof in order. Whether you’re a homeowner, commercial property manager, or the facilities manager for an industrial building, this 18-point spring roof checklist can help you get your roof in tiptop shape.
As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Failure to regularly maintain a roof can lead to even more damage, higher expenses, and possibly a premature roof replacement later on.
Follow this 18-Point Roof Checklist to Help Protect your Roof Investment in Massachusetts
It’s no secret that there are many types of roofs. Some are more common in homes, and others are used almost exclusively for commercial or industrial buildings. This checklist covers some items that apply to all properties, followed by sections specifically for flat-roof properties and shingled homes.
As you go through this list, keep in mind that you can do some items yourself, but others will require a high-quality professional roofer who can thoroughly and safely inspect your roof and consult with you about appropriate repairs.
The Spring Roof Checklist for every type of property
1. Visual property inspection to look for roof deterioration and damage
Even before going up on the roof, use binoculars to do a visual inspection from the ground for obvious signs of deterioration, animal damage, encroaching tree limbs, or other signs of trouble.
2. A roof inspection
If you can do so safely, take a tour of your rooftop for signs of damage or potential problems.
3. Look for trees and branches near your roof
During your ground and rooftop inspections, look for any branches touching or coming within a couple of feet of your roof, as they can easily scrape over shingles, fall on your roof, or puncture a roof membrane.
4. Inspect ceiling and walls for roof leaks
Check for stains on your ceiling or walls, which are often created by leaks in the roof.
5. Look for debris on the roof
Remove any debris that may have fallen on the roof during the winter, keeping safety in mind as you use ladders and walk on the roof.
6. Inspect roofing drainage systems
Clear out leaves, debris, and other blockages from gutters, scuppers, or any type of roof drainage system to help prevent future leaks or ponding water.
7. Look for ice dams and ice dam damage
If you suspect leaks caused by ice dams, a professional roofer can accurately identify the problem and suggest preventive measures, such as additional ventilation.
8. Inspect your roof for mold and mildew
Watch for discoloration from mold, mildew, moss, lichen, or algae. Call a professional roofer about cleaning these areas, identifying the cause (such as poor ventilation), and suggesting ways to avoid future growth.
The Spring checklist items for membrane roof systems
9. Membrane seams inspection of the roof
Check for separated seams or damage where membrane areas meet or overlap– including edges and corners.
10. Check chimney and roof flashing
Examine the flashing around each protrusion or penetration, such as skylights, HVAC stacks, and solar panels, to identify cracks, crevices, or splits.
11. Inspect your roof for drainage and rust
Water weight from ponding may weaken the roof’s structural supports. Check for cracks or rust throughout the drainage system, including drain domes, rings, bowls, piping, connectors, and fasteners.
12. Inspect the roof curbs
Check around the curbs that secure mechanical equipment such as HVAC units, skylights, AC units, and fans. Frequent temperature changes, which lead to the expansion and contraction of materials, can cause the material to thin—causing pin holes or tears.
The Spring roof checklist for shingled oofs
13. Sagging of the roof
Sagging indicates serious structural damage, such as rotting roof decks or damaged beams. If your roof is sagging, you need immediate help from a professional roofer.
14. Soft or spongy spots on your roof
Gaps in the shingles can expose the plywood sheeting underneath to heat, humidity, rain, and snow. If the sheeting is soaked, it can cause soft spots that signal trouble with the roof’s integrity. If you find soft spots, call a professional roofer immediately.
15. Misshapen roof shingles
Hot air in your attic may cause shingles (typically asphalt shingles) to warp, buckle or curl—causing leaks, poor ventilation, and compromised roof integrity.
16. Old, worn, damaged, or missing shingles on the roof
Missing, broken, or damaged shingles can allow water to seep through. For metal rooftops, check for corrosion, rust, stress wrinkling, or other signs of wear.
17. Attic check
Signs of moisture, wood rot, stains, animal or insect damage, or deteriorating sheathing are all signs of a leaky roof or another source of moisture or humidity. Make sure to check the floors and the bottom of the rafters.
18. Professional roof inspection
You can use this checklist to get a good start on spring maintenance. However, there’s no substitute for a thorough, professional inspection. Your roofer will be able to identify both visible and hidden problems, and discuss options for repairs.
Use this Spring roof checklist to ensure your roof will last much longer.
Experienced property owners or facilities managers can use this spring roof checklist to get a start on inspecting the roof and even making some repairs as winter winds down. However, roofing problems are often hidden, dangerous to investigate, and not always what they seem.
After your initial inspection, document your findings and schedule a professional roofing inspection. Your roof protects you and represents a significant investment in your property. It’s important to choose a well-respected roofing company you can trust to provide regular and emergency roof inspections, offer cost-effective solutions, and do preventive maintenance that optimizes your roof.