How to Keep Your Roofing in Good Shape

Roofs protect buildings from rain, snow, sunlight, and extreme temperatures. They are also a building’s most vulnerable part.


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Leaving debris on the roof can create many dangers. It can cause injury to people working at heights, damage the facility and its structure, and lead to expensive repairs. A knocked-over limb, flying construction materials, or even just leaves that have accumulated can all injure workers on the roof and hurt unsuspecting staff below.

Debris left on the roof can also create major trip and slip hazards. This debris can cover or block hazards such as open skylights, holes, and nails. Additionally, debris can introduce barriers and create obstacles that could lead to injuries by preventing people from being able to see hazards they’re working around.

While a lot of the time debris is just there from natural causes such as wind, rain, or the build-up of debris over time, it’s still important to clear the debris regularly. Debris removal is best done on a day with clear skies, minimal wind, and a moderate temperature.

The easiest way to remove light debris is with a long-handled brush that has a telescoping handle for more precise movement and safety. For heavy or large debris, a professional roofer should be hired to avoid the risk of injury and to prevent damaging the roof and its structure with improper removal methods. After clearing the debris, a cleaning solution can be used to clean up any leftover materials on the roof.

Clean the Gutters

Clogged gutters can add extra weight and strain to the roof, causing damage. They can also lead to water spilling over the side, causing leaks that may penetrate under shingles or behind siding and into the foundation. Regular cleaning is necessary to keep the gutters clear and functioning properly. It is best to clean the gutters twice a year, once in spring and once in fall. This will help prevent the buildup of debris and keep the gutters free flowing. If you are unable to get to the gutters with a ladder, consider hiring a professional to clean them for you.

To clean the gutters, start in one corner and work your way to the center. Use a gutter scoop, a ladder-safe vacuum or a garden hose to remove the gunk. When you are finished with the gutter, check to make sure there are no downspout blockages.

If the gutters are clogged with wet leaves, try using a garden hose to flush out the gutters. Be careful not to spray the hose or water into any cracks or crevices. This may cause the gutter to break down, leading to costly repairs.

Another option is to vacuum the gutters and downspouts. If you have a Shop-Vac or other vacuum with a long hose, place it into the gutters and turn it on. Move the hose along the gutters to vacuum up leaves, twigs and other debris. Be careful not to push the debris down into the downspouts, as this can clog them.

Another way to keep the gutters clean is to install downspout screens that will catch smaller debris and prevent clogging. This is especially important for homes with trees that overhang the roof and gutters. You can also trim overhanging branches to reduce the amount of leaves and debris that falls into the gutters. By maintaining a schedule of regular gutter cleaning, you can extend the life of your roof and keep your home in good repair. This is an important task that should be included in your annual maintenance checklist. Be sure to clean the gutters on a dry, sunny day and always use a ladder with a secure base and spotter when working up high.

Install Zinc Strips

Zinc strips are metal flashings that are designed to help reduce the growth of mosses, lichens, and algae. These unsightly organisms can not only detract from the visual appeal of your home but they can also cause serious damage to the roof if left untreated. By releasing small amounts of zinc when rainwater runs over them, zinc strips prevent the growth of these organisms, thereby protecting your roof and extending its lifespan.

Zinc is a natural anti-fungal and anti-microbial agent, which means that it is effective at killing mosses, lichens, and algal blooms. Zinc strip manufacturers claim that these strips are safe and environmentally friendly, and they are often used to prevent moss from growing on roofs. They can be installed as part of a new roof installation or added to existing roofing to protect against moss and other organic growth.

While zinc is a good preventative measure, it does not work well for treating an already-established problem. It is essential to clean your roof thoroughly before installing zinc strips, and it is best to do so with a bleach solution to ensure that all existing growth is removed.

A number of factors can affect the effectiveness of zinc strips, including their age and the condition of your roof. For example, the flat zinc material that is used in these strips tends to warp over time, which can result in uneven treatment of your roof. Water flowing over the warped area of the strip is not able to flow directly over and downward, as it should, which can leave spots under the strip vulnerable to moss growth.

Another issue is that zinc strips require nails to be nailed into place, which can break the waterproof seal of your roof. Additionally, nails can cause holes in the roof, which can lead to leaks. Moreover, if the nails are not nailed in properly, they may be exposed to the elements, which can also lead to corrosion and rust.

Schedule Regular Inspections

While some people may assume that roofs are in good shape as long as they don’t leak, it’s important to schedule regular inspections of the roof. These inspections are crucial for detecting damage, issues and vulnerabilities that can lead to more significant problems.

Regular preventive maintenance can also help extend the lifespan of the roofing system. For example, a roof inspection can uncover debris like accumulated dirt and leaves that can clog drains and cause deterioration of the roof membrane. It can also detect punctures in the roof that can filter water into interior walls and ceilings if not repaired. In addition, it can examine interior spaces for signs of water infiltration, such as staining on the ceiling tiles or a musty smell in the rooms below the affected area. It can also lubricate bearings on domestic water booster and circulation pumps, test downspouts and drains for proper function and remove outdoor hazards like fallen tree branches.

Commercial roofs are constantly under attack from the elements and structural movement, so a regular program of both inspections and maintenance is vital for maintaining a healthy and functioning roofing system. The smallest issues caused by neglect, misuse, contamination, improper installation or simple ageing can quickly lead to costly repairs or premature failure of the roof system. Regular inspections and maintenance can detect these problems early, avoiding the need for expensive repairs or even replacement of the roofing system.

The frequency of the inspections should be determined based on several factors, including the age and condition of the roof and the surrounding environment. For newer roofs, an annual inspection is sufficient to assess the condition of the roof and catch any issues. However, for older roofs or those in a more vulnerable location, biannual inspections are advisable.

The schedule should be agreed upon by all stakeholders and documented as part of the facility management plan. This will allow for consistency and improve communication between the team members. In addition, it will ensure that all inspections are performed within the required timeframes and that any unavoidable unforeseen circumstances can be handled appropriately.