Spring is amongst us and with the temperatures on the rise, it is a perfect time to start checking our roofs for damage. We need to be reminded sometimes that our homes are essential for us and our families and that the roof over our head is something we rarely think about. With more time spent outside than in, spring cleaning checklists start developing and the projects begin. Most people start their lists by cleaning the garage, giving the landscape a makeover, or planting a beautiful garden to enjoy all summer. Rarely do people think about spring cleaning the roof. However, it’s important to remember that your roof needs some tender love and care too, especially after the harsh winter months.
Over the winter months, your roof system will no doubt collect twigs, leaves, and even the occasional animal nest! Clear your gutters first by hand to avoid clogging the downspouts. When it comes to cleaning gutters you don’t necessarily need specialized cleaning tools. Let’s review what it takes to get the job done step by step.
- Position the ladder at one corner of the house, making sure the legs are on firm, level ground
- Let’s be real, this is a dirty job! Wear strong plastic or rubber gloves
- Scoop the debris out with either your hand or a sturdy cup either onto the ground or in a bag that is tied to the ladder or somewhere safe
- Move the ladder down to the next position and repeat the process.
- Have a hose ready to go to rinse out the gutter canals as you go
For any clogged spouts use a plumbers snake and run it down the drainpipe until the debris is broken up, then rinse.
Pro Tip: Try gutter guards! Guards on your gutters can prevent debris build-up and minimize annual maintenance. An effective guttering system can include screen, topper, or insert guards and can save the hassle of deep cleaning.
Next, it’s time to clean your actual roof. There are a few different types of roofing material so let’s talk about how to clean the two most common ones here in Colorado.
Cleaning Shingle Roofs
Protect your yard (Move any furniture away from the work area. If you’re using a bleach solution, also cover your yard. Rinse down your lawn and plants before you begin deep cleaning so the water dilutes harmful bleach, then cover them with plastic to catch any spray)
- Safety first! Wear shoes with good grip
- Remove unnecessary debris
- Trim nearby branches
- Prepare cleaning materials
- Half water and half bleach is an affordable method
- Wet the shingles with water
- Put your solution in the garden sprayer or pressure washer
- Apply the cleaning solution on your roof
- Rinse your roof
- Scrub out any algae or residue
- Apply a stain blocker
- Specialized stain blockers offer resistance for up to three years. Search for roofing algae and moss blockers at a home improvement store. After you clean your roof, spread the stain blocker according to the directions on the label.
Cleaning Metal Roofs
- Always get the areas that are easily reached first with your ladder before taking all your gear up
- Remove unnecessary debris
- Trim nearby branches
- Use pressurized water to blast the dirt and muck away
- Plain water can be used, it is the safest and most cost friendly
- Clear a clean path first to avoid walking directly onto the debris and dirt
- If possible, start from the top and blast your way down
- For any stubborn areas use a scrubbing pad by hand then spray, repeat if needed
These step by step procedures are sure to get the job done, but of course, we always recommend getting a professional first. To reduce any further damage or injuries it is best to have someone who is experienced and knowledgeable do it for you. Once your roof is clean, you can move on to the next step, checking for damages.
Check for Exterior Damage
Naturally, it is easier to spot damaged shingles, water damage, gutter build up, mold and mildew, rust and blistering, cracks and holes, or loose flashing when the weather is clear, dry, and manageable. Whether you were left with roof and gutter damage or not, spring is the perfect time to do your due diligence. It is important for every homeowner to know the basics. Visibly inspecting all major exterior components of the home and roof including gutters, shingles, chimneys, vents, antenna supports, air ducts, solar panels, and flashing for:
- Water stains
- Blistering or peeling paint
- Sheathing decay
- Dark streaks on shingles
- Cracks in roof vents
- Dented, bent, or lifted flashing
- Sagging or drooping of the roof itself
- Mold and moss
- Lions, tigers and bears
While some damage may be obvious to the untrained eye, it’s best to call in a professional for a free inspection to ensure that nothing is overlooked. They will also be able to present you with certified documentation of their findings, should you decide to get work done, make an insurance claim, or sell your home.
Check for Damage from Inside Your Attic
Some damage is more easily identified by looking from the inside out. From your attic you can check for any light penetration, water leaks, or stains, as well as any mold or mildew growth. This is also a good time to inspect your attic insulation. In cooler climates, improperly insulated attics result in up to 50% of your home’s heat being lost directly through your roof. In fact, the US Department of Energy estimates that boosting attic insulation can lower heating costs by 10% to 50%, saving the average homeowner about $780 per year. To learn more about the types, costs, and benefits of attic insulation, check out this article.
Save Time and Money Now
Many local professionals get booked up quickly because people are not thinking ahead. Don’t get stuck with shady storm chasers or wait behind a long list of insurance claims. By being proactive you ensure you get the attention you deserve and the best solutions for your needs.
Let’s face it, despite best efforts, roofs just don’t last forever. Depending on the type and quality of its materials, a roof can last anywhere from 10 to more than 20 years. If you have harsh weather conditions, or a darker roof that absorbs more heat can get a lot of sun, your roof may age faster than expected. You’ll more than likely need to replace your roof sooner if you don’t have it professionally inspected annually, perform regular maintenance, and attend to issues promptly.
When choosing the right roofing contractor, you want the one you can trust. Here at Kapella Roofing, we pride ourselves on integrity, transparency, and professionalism. Our inspections are always free and we’ll walk you through every step of the process so you’re completely informed and never feel overwhelmed. If you need to have your roof cleaned, inspected, or replaced, give the professionals at Kapella Roofing a call today at 303.619.7640