Roof maintenance: Simple steps for Atlanta homeowners

Many Atlanta property owners fail to provide regular maintenance on their roofs until they notice water...

Many Atlanta property owners fail to provide regular maintenance on their roofs until they notice water dripping from one of the ceilings. Roof maintenance is important to avoiding common roof problems. One common roof problem that goes undetected is ponding. This happens when standing water remains on the roof instead of draining properly. The water breaks down the roof's adhesive or asphalt.

Another problem is tenting. When tenting occurs, the roof's membrane shrinks away from the vertical surfaces such as the plumbing stacks, causing tears and leaks. Other common problems include failed flashings and splitting membrane seams. By the time these common problems occur, a roofing professional is lecturing you on maintaining your roof while he or she is taking your check. Common roof problems do not have to happen. Although you can't do anything to prevent roof damage due to severe weather in Atlanta, you can prevent future costly repairs by maintaining your home's roof.

Simple steps to maintaining a healthy roof

Get roof inspections

Start with an annual or semi-annual roof inspection. If you know what type of damage or potential problems a roof can have, then you can do the roof inspection. However, if you're inexperienced, leave it to the roofing professional. You have two options when hiring a professional: a home inspector or roofer.

These professionals both inspect the roof for problems or potential problems. For instance, they look around flashing, gutters and chimneys for any defects. They also inspect the interior of the home, such as the attic, for any existing problems. If the home is old, they check for any brittleness due to age. On a new roof, they check for settlement problems.

The main difference between a home inspector and roof professional is that the roofer can repair any problem. The home inspector informs you about how healthy your roof is. You can hire a home inspector to check the health of your roof and then hire a roofer to repair any problems.

The price differs for a home inspector and a roofer. Some roofers try to acquire customers with roof inspections for little to no cost. Thus, you may want to shop around for roofers who are offering roof inspections to find the one offering the right price without scamming you.

You can survey the interior even if you're not a licensed roofing professional. Look at the ceilings underneath the attic for any spots or leaks. This is a sign you may have a leaking roof. Also, look for black mold, rusted nails and damaged wood around the exterior of the property. These things can show leaks or roof ventilation problems.

Clean the gutters

Although you may not consider gutters important, they are. In fact, they are an important part of a roofing system. Gutters help the excess water flow away from your roof's surface and to the ground. You want to clean the gutters during the spring, fall and summer. Dirt and debris such as leaves and sticks can clog gutters. This causes the water to overflow, seep into the gutters and creating ponding.

Keep the roof clean

Cleaning the roof is another way to maintain a healthy roof. During roof cleaning, you're simply removing the debris and dirt from the roof's surface. It's not uncommon for debris to accumulate on slightly sloped or flat roofs. Cleaning doesn't require buying expensive power tools.

In fact, you don't want to use a power washer during roof cleaning. The water pressure can loosen and/or damage shingles or the flat roof's surface. Instead, use a long-handled broom to sweep away dirt and debris. Sweeping doesn't loosen or damage the roof.

You can use the time cleaning the roof to inspect it for damage. For example, look at the flashing or make sure the roof's membrane is still in good shape with no splitting or holes.

Roof maintenance is an important task for you and other property owners. Common roof problems can instantly lead to structural and interior damage. Thus, a regular checkup can save money and time. How you keep your roof healthy depends on how comfortable you are getting on the roof. If you have a flat roof, you may feel more comfortable cleaning it yourself than hiring someone. If it's a pitched roof, you may want to hire a professional to clean the roof for you. However, you should always consider having a roofing professional provide routine maintenance on the roof once or twice a year. Typically, routine maintenance should be done in the spring, fall or after severe weather.

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