The Roof/ Gutter System is arguably the single most important system responsible for the protection of a home from water damage. Many homeowners, unfortunately, never realize this glaring fact until it’s too late; what could have been avoided by periodic maintenance turns into an escalating nightmare of drips, dollar signs and hand ringing uncertainty. More than likely you have invested a considerable amount of time and money in your home. So, having peace of mind is definitely desirable over a false sense of security. In other words; knowing that you have a roof and gutters on your house is a far cry from knowing whether the roof/ gutter system is functioning appropriately. The information provided here shall help homeowners to better understand the importance of how a home’s roof/ gutter system, together, can be maintained for proper functionality.
Annual roof and gutter inspection is an important piece in this equation. Always have a qualified roofing inspector evaluate the condition of your roof to assess the need for cleaning. This would include such items as; over-all condition, walk-ability, cleanliness, missing shingles etc.
Note: A qualified inspector would find such deficits at this time and make recommendations as necessary.
Debris removal is key for a few reasons and may be required on an annual basis (if not-more often). Accumulation of organic materials (leaves, pine cones etc.) may lead to; moisture trapping, debris stacking, algae and fungus growth and can present a trip/ slip hazard to anyone whom accesses the roof. Moreover, any debris, which falls or is blown onto a roof, may eventually wind up in the gutter system. So, it’s important to keep in mind that just because the roof is clear of debris, doesn’t mean the same could be said about the gutters. The slope of your roof may be enough to keep the roof relatively clear, but that may be because it’s made its way into the gutters and is potentially leading to clogging the downspouts. Water which backs up due to a clogged downspout will eventually seep under the flashing at the back side of the gutter, which will lead to water damage/ dry rot of the roofs’ wood decking and fascia board. Water may also spill over the front side of the gutters, causing erosion of the foundation and flooding of the basement. Worse yet, the water may back up into the structure, leading to rot and infestations of wood-destroying insects and interior paint damage. So, remember to take a peek in the gutters at least twice a year, or have a qualified agency do this for you as a measure of precaution.
Trimming overhanging branches can be of benefit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, by minimizing the amount of shaded area on a roof, one effectively lessens the possibility of moss and algae growth. These two organisms are most abundant in moist, dank and dark areas. This is especially important on any north-facing roof (Northern Hemisphere only) as the sun shines on the south side of the roof, leaving the north side potentially shaded to begin with. The other primary benefit is to remove any means of accessing the roof by small animals such as squirrels and other rodents; such animals have a tendency to gnaw/ chew on wood structures, which may lead to degradation of the roof.
Note: This work should only be done by a qualified individual and according to city code requirement(s).
The average cost of a roof nationwide is on the order of $12,000-$18,000, whereas the average cost to maintain a roof (annually) is under $300 in most cases. So, it’s easy to see the importance of a preventive maintenance program, which includes the roof and gutter system. This is one sure-fire way to get the most life out of your roof and the greatest real peace of mind.
In conclusion, remember to always have this work done by a qualified professional and never take unnecessary risks. Falls from heights above 10 feet are the number one cause of death around the home.