Home Maintenance Tip: Keeping Tabs on Your Roof

Although no one expects homeowners to climb atop the roof every single year to check for damage or concerns, this multi-layered surface of your home protects from insects, animals and the elements – and the structural and surface integrity of your roof is vital to the health of your home.

Depending upon the age and make-up of your roof, the climate you live in and the prevalence of pests in your region, it may be worth having a qualified inspector take closer look at your roof every 2-3 years.


Here are areas to keep tabs on:

Weathering                                                                                               Damage from hail, heavy rains or snow or other storm damage, also called “weathering,” can affect the integrity of your roof’s surface, even if there aren’t obvious issues like missing shingles, shakes or slate. Strong winds and major storms can weaken attachment points, allowing moisture to reach the roof’s underlayment or increasing the likelihood of shingles turning into projectiles during a storm, possibly causing damage to the rest of your home’s exterior. After a major storm, it’s a good idea to take a peek at your roof to the best of your ability, always making safety your top priority. Taking care of a minor issue now could help you avoid major repairs down the road.

Animal /Pest Damage
Carpenter ants, wasps, termites. Squirrels, raccoons, birds. Insects and other pests can wreak miniature havoc that grows over time, and larger animals will sometimes tear through shingles and roof sheathing to build nests and raise young. They often attack the roof’s eaves first, especially on homes that have suffered decay to the roof sheathing due to a lack of drip edges or from problems caused by ice damming, because decayed sheathing is softer and easier to tear through.  If you hear any activity of wildlife on your roof, check inside your attic for evidence of pest intrusion, such as damaged insulation, which pests may use for nesting material.  Darkened insulation generally indicates that excess air is blowing through some hole in the structure, leading the insulation to become darkened by dirt or moisture. Before you attempt a DIY on pest removal within the structure of your roof, contact a professional. You may need backup to get rid of pests and ensure they don’t come back.

Tree Damage
You know that big beautiful tree in your side yard that you suspect is a little too close to the house? If you hear it scraping against the roof or the side of the house on windy days, chances are it is damaging the exterior of your home. Wind blown or falling branches can create issues with your roof, siding or windows, and branches that overhang the roof should always be cut back to avoid damage from both abrasion and impact, and to prevent the accumulation of leaf debris on the roof and in the gutters, which will interfere with proper drainage and lead to pooling rainwater and snowmelt. It’s especially important to make sure that tree limbs near the home’s roof and exterior are a safe distance away from utility and power lines.

Shaping a shrub  in your side yard from ground level gets a big thumbs up, but major tree-trimming is a  task that should be undertaken by qualified professionals, as it can lead to accidentally cutting off the service or power from an overhead line, being electrocuted by an energized line, being struck by an unsecured tree branch, falling off the roof or a ladder, and any number of similar mishaps.

Biological Growth 
Algae, moss, lichen and even bacteria are types of biological growth that may be found on asphalt shingles under certain conditions. This growth  may be merely a cosmetic problem, or it may become destructive.

Almost all biological growth on shingles is related to the long-term presence of excess moisture, which is why these problems are more common in areas with significant rainfall and high relative humidity. But even in dry climates, roofs that are shaded most of the time can develop biological growth. If you believe there is a persistent moisture problem taking place in your roof, work with an inspector to determine the source of the problem and choose a qualified roofing contractor to make necessary repairs.

“Tobacco-juicing” is the brownish discoloration that appears on the surface of shingles, under certain weather conditions. It’s often temporary and may have a couple of different causes. After especially long periods of intensely sunny days, damp nights and no rain, water-soluble compounds may leach out of the asphalt from the shingles and be deposited on the surface. Tobacco-juicing may also appear under the same weather conditions if the air is especially polluted.  Tobacco-juicing won’t harm asphalt shingles, although it may run down the roof and stain siding. Although it’s more common in the West and Southwest, it can happen anywhere that weather conditions are right.  You can spray-wash or paint the exterior of the home to remove tobacco-juicing.

Are you ready to own the roof over your head, or to sell your current home? Give me a call to find out what your home is worth in the hot Denver real estate market. I’m here to help!

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
Twitter: @jackestate



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