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Give the roof a spring checkup

June 8, 2012
The Daily News

So how's your roof? You don't know? You should.

Most of us don't know what's happening with our roofs because we never actually climb up a ladder and look at them.

But that "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" approach can turn into a costly roof maintenance strategy, warns the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Experts recommend homeowners conduct a simple roof checkup every fall and spring.

Doing so can help prepare your roof for the hot, humid and sunny weather that's ahead.

The following are some important tips to get you started.

Safety First

Cleaning your gutters and or inspecting your roof system can be risky business. So it's important to remember these important safety tips:

- Make sure the ladder is on solid, level ground.

- Secure the ladder at the top to prevent it from slipping.

- Extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the gutter, and angle it 1 foot back from the house for every 4 feet in eave height.

Removing Leaves from Your Gutters

Once or twice a year, it's a good idea to put on your work gloves, get on a ladder and clean out your gutters and downspouts. If your gutters are clogged, rain won't drain properly. Water can overflow the gutters and cause serious structural damage to your foundation over time. In addition, a gutter full of water is heavy and can damage the fascia boards on your roof.

- Remove leaves, sticks, needles and seeds from gutters, scooping out debris with a garden trowel or gloved hand.

- Don't try to remove the debris with a hose because that may cause downspouts to clog.

- Remove the pasty goo made up from the tiny granules from asphalt roofing shingles that have mixed with dirt and water.

- Flush residual matter using a garden hose.

- To clean downspouts, turn on the hose full blast and thread into drain opening.

- Check gutters after flushing for pools that indicate low spots. Gutters should be sloped about 1 vertical inch for every 15 to 20 horizontal feet so they drain properly. Adjust gutters as necessary.

What to Look For

Most roof damage occurs before anyone at ground level notices it, the National Roofing Contractors Association said in a statement.

The following are some signs that your roof (or parts of it) may need replacing.

- Shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering; this indicates the end of the shingles' life expectancy.

- Loose material or wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations.

- Excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutters; granules give shingles added weight and protect them from ultraviolet rays.

- Be sure to inspect the area around pipes and chimneys.

- Inside your home, check interior walls and ceilings for water damage.

Hiring a Professional

If you see a potential roofing problem, and decide to hire a professional, be sure the contractor has a permanent place of business, telephone number and tax identification number.

In addition, check references from prior customers and ask for proof of insurance (liability and workers' compensation).

Finally, be sure to ask the contractor to explain material and workmanship warranties.

 
 

 

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