As fall approaches, many of our clients in Delaware and along the Eastern Seaboard are beginning to think about preparing their homes for the cooler weather. One important task homeowners should complete at least once, but ideally twice, a year is roof inspection and maintenance. As summer days grow shorter and more comfortable temperatures begin to make their way into the forecast, the time is right to assess the condition of your roof and do what you can to maintain or improve its condition.

Assessing Your Roof’s Condition

The first step homeowners should take before performing any maintenance is to evaluate the condition of the roof. Inspecting the attic ceiling can give you some clues about what’s going on before you even have a look at the roof itself. Water stains on the ceiling can cue you into potential leaks related to your roof’s performance. As best you can, note stained areas so that you can look for signs of damage outside.

Once you’ve had a look at the interior ceiling, it’s time to check out the roof. Examine the condition of the shingles. Are they loose? Do they curl up? Have some gone missing? Do you notice that there are some “bald” spots of your roof, or areas where there is a clear lack of the granules that cover the rest of the surface?

After examining the shingles and larger areas of the roof, turn your attention to smaller details. Are the soffits cracked or rotted? Is the fascia showing signs of water damage? Make note of the condition of gutters. Are they sagging, taxing the conditions of your roof’s soffits and fascia? Lastly, check out the condition of your roof’s flashing–that is, the “material — usually aluminum or galvanized steel — that’s used over joints in roof and wall construction to prevent water seeping in and causing damage.”

Maintenance Tips for Your Roof

Once you’ve assessed the condition of your roof, there are plenty of things you can do to improve it and protect your investment.

Start with clearing any debris that has collected on your roof. Next, address any rust that has built up on metal parts with a wire brush, and then prime and paint those areas to prevent further rusting. Flashing may need some re-caulking to keep it in place and ready to protect your home from moisture leaking in over the coming months. Likewise, your chimney’s mortar or caulking may need to be freshened.

When it comes to the condition of the soffits, fascia, or shingles, proceed with caution. Small issues are to be expected–any roof will experience normal wear and tear. Replacing a few shingles is not a difficult job, but widespread damage of any kind might suggest that your roof has reached the end of its life cycle or needs a larger repair than most homeowners can complete.

No matter what kind of damage you notice, carefully weigh the scope of the issue and the amount of work you feel competent performing, and hire reliable professionals to make sure that the condition of your roof does not continue to deteriorate.