Roof Maintenance Tips For Your Home

roof maintenance

The roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. And when it’s damaged, it needs to be repaired fast. Proper roof maintenance can prevent costly repairs and extend the life of your roof. Learn what to look out for here at

Debris removal is a necessary part of any roof maintenance plan. Branches, leaves, and other debris collected on the roof can restrict drainage, accelerate membrane deterioration, and allow water to leak through the attic into living spaces below. This can lead to extensive damage that may be difficult and costly to repair. Debris removal should include cleaning all drains and scuppers, including those located behind HVAC units, pipes, pitch pans, and any other roof penetrations.

Regularly removing debris from gutters and downspouts is also important. Keeping them clear can reduce the chances that they will get clogged with moss, lichen, or algae growth. It can also make it easier to clean the surface of the roof, especially when it comes time for a professional roof inspection or a major roofing repair.

Rooftop debris can also be a hazard for anyone who climbs on the roof. It’s a good idea to have a spotter when climbing up on the roof and use an extendable ladder when necessary. It’s also a good idea to use a soft-bristle brush rather than a power washer when cleaning the roof. Using a power washer can wipe away the UV coating that protects shingles and may speed up their deterioration.

Debris removal should always be done on a sunny day when the roof is dry. This will help to prevent slips and falls and make the job safer and faster. It’s also a good idea when doing debris removal to make sure that any items that are buried in the debris are photographed before they are removed, so that they can be recovered later if needed.

When it comes to insurance coverage, homeowners insurance usually includes debris removal as part of the property insurance coverage. It’s an automatic extension that is included in most policies, and it covers the cost of removing debris from insured premises after a covered peril. The amount of coverage that is automatically included varies from insurer to insurer, but it is usually at least some percentage of the limit in place for the building/contents limit.

Flashing Inspections

One of the most frequent causes of roof leaks is old or damaged flashing. Flashing is a thin section of waterproof material that is designed to protect seams in building construction that are especially susceptible to leakage. Flashing is usually metal, but it can also be a variety of other materials. It lines chimneys and pipes, walls adjacent to roofs, window frames and siding, and other structural elements of a house. Essentially it is the barrier that keeps water out of places where it shouldn’t be.

Inspecting for flashing problems is part of the regular roof maintenance process. Since most leaks originate at these areas, this is a particularly important step in preventing costly moisture intrusion issues. It’s a good idea to have a qualified roofing professional inspect all flashings and other critical areas, ideally on a biannual basis.

This involves examining each area for physical damage and deterioration. It is not uncommon for flashing to be exposed to a lot of stress, especially at locations where people walk on the roof, such as perimeter parapet walls and access points (ladders and hatches). Flashing may also be exposed to accelerated deterioration due to weather exposure, particularly if it has been coated with asphalt shingle roofs. It is also not uncommon for shingles to cover the flashing, and this can be problematic, especially if it is not well done or is defective in some way.

Once the main sections of the roof are examined, it’s time to move on to large accessories, such as the chimney and all vent outlets. Inspecting for damage to the flashing at these areas is a good idea, as is checking all drains to make sure they are free of obstructions and are draining properly. Lastly, it is a good idea to clear away the soot-like substance called creosote from chimneys on a regular basis and clean open valley metal regularly, using a wire brush.

It is generally recommended that all drains and down spouts be checked on a monthly basis to ensure they are free of blockages and obstructions, and that the gutters are clear of debris and water test their ability to carry rainfall. This is especially important following extreme weather events.

Pitch Pocket Inspections

A pitch pocket is a sheet metal sleeve installed on the roof with flanges that fit around equipment and pipes on a flat roof. The sleeve is filled with a tar like material, referred to as a Pitch Pocket. It allows air conditioner pipes and electrical cables to pass through the roof, but keeps water out. Over time the tar in a Pitch Pocket can dry out, which leaves a hollow area where water can leak into the building. It is advisable to check a Pitch Pocket every two years.

Commercial roofs often use pitch pans to seal the penetrations of angle iron, bunches of pipes, and conduits that are impossible to flash with membrane alone. When these elements are not properly protected, they can penetrate the roof and cause significant damage to the underlying membrane and building interior.

Pitch pan problems are common on all types of roofs, but they are especially prevalent on built-up and modified bitumen roofing systems. Leaks can occur when the sealant on a pitch pocket dries out or shrinks, or when the roof penetration that is wrapped by the pitch pocket moves or vibrates.

The solution is to inspect the pitch pockets regularly and refill them with a compatible sealant such as urethane or silicone. This can be done by a qualified roofer or by a maintenance crew responsible for day to day housekeeping surveys and minor preventive maintenance. For specialized repairs or roofs covered under an active warranty, the services of a qualified roofing mechanic should be sought.

A regular roof maintenance program will maximize the major investment that a facility has made in its roofing system. In addition to protecting the roof from premature deterioration and prolonging its service life, this approach will help minimize operational costs by identifying issues before they become major problems that can be expensive to repair. The most effective way to accomplish a roof maintenance program is by signing up for one of the many available service programs that are offered by professional roofing contractors. The best companies also offer additional perks that go beyond inspections, cleaning, and standard maintenance tasks.


Gutters are essential for preventing water damage to your home. They collect rainwater runoff from your roof and channel it into downspouts, where it is safely deposited away from the house. Without gutters, this water would likely splash onto the sides of your home and into the foundation or landscape, causing costly damage.

Your gutters must be free of leaves, debris and other organic material in order to work properly. Clogged gutters allow rainwater to back up and overflow, resulting in damage to siding, the fascia board, the soffit and the roof itself. Standing water can also breed mold, which will affect your health and the value of your home.

Regular cleaning of your gutters is the best way to keep them functional, but if they are leaking or have other problems, it may be time to replace them. The most common gutters on homes today are seamless aluminum K-style gutters, which don’t rust and are custom fabricated on-site for each home. They come in a variety of colors and can match or camouflage the color of your roof and home.

There are many other options for your gutter system as well, including copper gutters, which add beauty and style to the exterior of your home. They are more expensive than other gutter systems but can last for years with proper care.

If you’re considering installing new gutters, it’s a good idea to have your roof replaced at the same time, as this is one of the most convenient times to do so. Your roofing professional can evaluate the condition of your gutters, as well as downspouts, and recommend the right system for your home.

If you decide to clean your own gutters, it’s important to use a ladder that’s tall enough for you to stand on comfortably. It’s also a good idea to wear sturdy footwear and work gloves as decaying organic material can often emit an unpleasant odor. You’ll also need a hosepipe, a bucket and a trowel to remove any accumulated debris. If you’re worried about the time and effort involved in cleaning your gutters, there are a number of companies that offer professional gutter cleaning services.