Home & Garden

Maintaining your gutter and roof

Written by Mike Parsons

Owning your own home is one of the greatest blessings a person can have. You are the lord of your own castle, the master of your own little abode. However, this blessing also has a couple of caveats that go along with it. Namely, you need to also maintain your home, something that is not an easy feat. The more annoying and most important maintenance activities you have to do here is to keep both your gutters and your roof in good condition.

Namely, these two activities are especially important now when the climate is so messed up, when the weather changes so dramatically and so often. Violent weather conditions that change up constantly are a nightmare for your gutters, and for your roof. You want to get this under control as soon as possible. Snowfall, rainfall, drought, all this can lead to issues with your gutters and your roof, depending on the type of roof you have. So, with that being said, if you want to your house safe, dry, and stable, we suggest you put into practice some of the tips that can be found below.

First impressions

Let’s get one thing out of the way – you will have to climb a ladder and get to the top of your roof if you want to do this properly. In order to inspect your gutters and you’re the top of your house, you need to get up there. However, there are some signs that you should keep an eye out for, signs that indicate that you really have to get to work rather soon, almost immediately.

These signs are pretty clear, and they can be noticed from ground level. First of all, cracked tiles and actual dark spots on your roof are clear signs that things are falling off, and that holes might be formed. Another sign you can notice at ground level is some kind of dark, sticky residue in your drain. This most likely means that the outer layer of your shingles, or special adhesives on your roof, is being washed away. Of course, any damage you can see on your gutters also means something is up. These are clear indicators that you have to get to work on your roof very quickly.

Your gutters

Now with that out of the way, you now have to get to your gutters. Namely, most of the time, the main culprit when it comes to leaks in your roof isn’t the roof itself, but rather, your gutters. Fixing up your roof can cost a fortune, but a clogged gutter can be easily unclogged. As long as the clog hasn’t created too much damage, you can expect an easy fix.

So, first things first – get your ladder. Prop it up nicely, make sure its stable. Furthermore, check the ground onto which you placed this ladder. If it’s too soft, malleable, or uneven, you will practically be risking your life. Of course, never climb a ladder if you’re feeling woozy, tired, sluggish, or perhaps a bit inebriated. So, climb up the ladder, reach the gutters, and inspect them for any clogs. The most likely culprit will be leaves and maybe some accumulated dirt and mud. Put on your gloves, and get to work. If you can climb up on the roof, awesome. If not, don’t be lazy. Get down from the ladder, move it about, reposition it, and then start over until you cleaned everything around the house.

You also want to inspect for any damage. Are the gutters properly fastened to the house? Do you need to replace some part, maybe tightening a few screws, replace a couple of straps? If so, get replacement parts, and don’t go cheap. Rather, contact a good company, like Interline Manufacturing for example, and see what they have on offer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple overstrap or gutter spike, loose gutters spell disaster.

Flat roofs

As far as your roof is concerned, this one will vary a bit depending on the type of roof. So, first, let’s deal with flat roofs. The most common issue with this type of roof is that most often water pools on top. You can bet your bottom dollar that the accumulated pool of water found on top of your roof will find a way into your house. This can either lead to a leak right in the middle of your flat roof, or it will find and bore away right through the weakest spot there. The core reason this can occur is that your drainage system isn’t working. Either your gutters, or the special drain on your roof, are failing, and you need to unclog them. This is rather simple though, you just need to find the clog and remove it manually.

Shingles

Now, shingles (and tiles) are often used as protection for your roof. However, if they are to survive the elements if they are to weather the weather, Note that even one missing tile or shingle is enough to mess up the structural integrity of your entire roof. This one blind spot can attract snow and hail like magnet, it will pool up rainwater, and then either mess up the surrounding shingles or cause a hole in the roof. So, any cracked, warped, or missing shingles need to be dealt with post-haste.

Furthermore, if you hear any clinging or clacking of shingles and tiles it most likely means that they are loose. Tighten them up, add some more adhesive if you have to. While you’re at it, inspect them for moss. Moss can clog up the channels that lead water away from the tiles, and down gutters. It can also eat away at the tiles if left unattended long enough.

Flashings

Finally, you need to inspect your flashings. Now, flashings are pieces of metal that cover up weak spots on your roof, spots that are at risk of leaking. They usually encircle the openings of skylights, chimneys, and air vents.

Now, these are the most vulnerable spots on your roof as far as leaks are concerned because they are, well, openings. The seams around these areas are at risk, and you need to inspect them properly. If the flashings are gone, poorly installed, cracked, or simply fallen apart, you need to call a professional. Namely, flashings are difficult to set up, and difficult to fix. Unless you have several decades of experience in this field, we suggest you get somebody whose job it is to fix these up. However, caulk and mortar is another issue entirely.

Namely, sometimes all you really have to do is seal certain section quickly alone. Get some caulk, see if there are any minuscule openings or cracks, and fix them right up.

Take care of your trees

This one is often forgotten, but it’s very important. Namely, the trees in your area can damage your roof. Now, you might think doesn’t really matter – the trees are too far away, and the branches are small and thing. The problem here is that strong winds can push the branches much closer than you expect, causing great damage in the process. The other problem is that even if the branches are thin, continual movement will damage your shingles and tiles regardless. Finally, the debris that is carried from the tree to your roof makes clearing out your gutters much more difficult, and much more necessary. So, prune your trees properly.

Conclusion

And there you have it folks – how to keep your roof and gutters in good condition. Inspect your tiles and hinges, replace any that are missing, cracked, or warped. Clean out your gutters, just climb up there and get rid of all that excess gunk. Be mindful of your flat roof, inspect your flashings, and you should be good to go.

About the author

Mike Parsons

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