If you’re thinking about inspecting your roof before the winter, you’re right – it’s a great time to do it. In September there was a very interesting piece in The New York Times by Bob Tedeschi (“When It Comes to Fixing the Roof, Look Before You Leap.“) The author confided that he had experienced bad ice dams the previous winter. For those of you who live warm climates, ice dams are those huge chunks of ice that can block your gutters and weigh them down. Mr. Tedeschi admitted to going at the ice dams on his house with a hammer, a chisel, and – gasp – a six-foot-long pry bar, unaware that he might be damaging his roof. In consequence, he had roof leaks during the spring and finally decided that roof repairs might be needed. Before you call a contractor, though, Mr. Tedeschi recommends doing a roof inspection to see if those leaks really are coming from the roof. He says – and we at MasterShield couldn’t agree more – that a careful inspection now could pay enormous dividends for the homeowner later on.
The article presents some very useful tips, including looking at your downspouts and checking them for roof granules (those little fragments that may be a sign your roof is having problems), checking shingles for cracking or curled edges, and checking around chimneys or roof ventilation pipes from the bathroom or kitchen. And we were happy to see that gutters were not forgotten: Mr. Tedeschi reported that he found gutter nails protruding by at least 3 inches, a sign that winter’s ice dams had weighed down the gutters enough to pull them away from the house, causing the roof to get more rain than it was able to handle.
All great tips – and we would add another: if you are up on your ladder cleaning the gutters this fall, it’s a great time to inspect the fascia board for problems. What is your fascia board, you ask? It’s the piece of wood behind the back of the gutter where the gutter is attached to your house. As you go down the gutter run, use an awl or a pointed screwdriver to press into your fascia board by your gutter. Does it feel spongy or give a little? This can be a tell-tale a sign of wood rot from water damage. Is the paint on it flaking? That is another sign of water getting on your fascia and the board may need to be replaced.
When you are checking the shingles, pay particular attention to the shingles around the gutters. Do the shingles hang down into the gutter? If they drop in too far, they could be wicking water up through them, particularly if they are sitting in gutter debris for extended periods. If there are signs of water damage, you will need to monitor the problem areas and think about repair work. Water damage problems are like teeth – they can be expensive to fix but the longer you leave them unattended the worse they are likely to get. If you do have to schedule roof repair work, think about installing a micro-mesh gutter guard such as MasterShield. MasterShield’s patented Hydrovortex technology will prevent debris from clogging your gutters and causing water damage problems.
If you have had problems with with your gutters or are thinking about a roof inspection, you may be interested in taking our survey. Happy Thanksgiving everybody–travel safely and enjoy the holiday!