Roof Maintenance

Roof Maintenance: How To Know What You Need (And When You Need It)

We get some pretty strong winds here at Lake of the Ozarks. And this Spring has had a bit of a blustery start. So if you notice that some of your shingles are missing, you may be worried that you need a new roof. And it’s true, you might. But really, you may just need some simple repair work done.

So let’s start out with a roof maintenance checklist. This will help you determine whether you need some basic maintenance, repair work, or whether it’s time to think about adding a layer of shingles or perhaps even doing a tear-off and installing a new roof.

How do you maintain a roof?

Many of our homes here in Lake Ozark, MO are second homes and sometimes the homeowners don’t give much thought to regular roof maintenance. Nonetheless, it is still necessary. Maintaining your roof improves its longevity and saves you money in the long run.

What to Look For When Inspecting Your Roof

The best times to do a roof inspection and maintenance are in the spring and fall.  Spring gives you the opportunity to see if any damage has been done over the winter, and fall is the time for making sure all is in order with your roof before the cold weather sets back in.  And, with the strong storms and winds that we sometimes get out here around the Lake of the Ozarks area, there’s always a possibility of having missing or loose shingles.

Inspect your roof whenever you clean your gutters.I usually do my roof maintenance when I clean my gutters.  I’m already up there so it’s a good time for it. Check the shingles on your roof for any damages or missing pieces.  You also want to look for signs of wear and tear, like shingles that are warped or curling. In most cases, you will only have to replace a few shingles.  Replacing shingles is a lot less expensive than having to replace a whole section of roofing because it was left to deteriorate.

Another thing you want to look for are signs of algae or fungus/moss that may be growing on areas of your roof.  A way to combat this is to install some control strips made from zinc, copper, or lead. You can buy rolls of pre-made strips or cut them yourself.  All that you need to do is slide them under a section of roofing shingles and they will kill off any moss or lichen that is growing.

Tip:  In most cases, it's overhanging tree branches that are the culprit when moss is growing on your roof.  They tend to keep the section of roofing they hang over moist, which makes it a breeding ground for moss and lichen.  So pruning back any overhanging tree branches will lessen the chances of moss growth on your roof.

You’ll want to inspect any metal on your roof for rust.  If you do find rust, you can repair this by brushing the rust off with a wire brush, and then priming and painting the metal with a protective coat.

Your next roof maintenance check is the flashing on the roof.  Over time, the caulking can break down and leave unsealed gaps.  Remove any old caulk, scrub down the area, and then reseal it with a new application.

Many of us in Lake Ozark have chimneys in our homes.  This means the chimney needs to be inspected along with any joints in the roof.  Look for cracked mortar and caulking that has degraded and patch those areas up.

This next roof maintenance step takes place indoors.  In your attic check for any signs of leaks, like dampness, dark spots, or mold.  If you do see signs of leaking, it’s important to tackle the issue right away. A roof leak will just get worse over time and you are better off spending a bit of money on roof maintenance as opposed to having to repair a whole section of the roof, along with any damage it may have caused to other areas of the home.

Some Other Roof Maintenance Issues to Look Out For

Okay, we’ve gone over the major things to look for with roof maintenance and roof repairs.  Now here are a few other little things to keep an eye out for.

Remove leaves and debris from your roof.Debris on the roof, like leaves and branches, can do some damage to shingles on your roof.  Patches of leaves left on a roof can cause moss and lichen to grow, and it will eventually clog up your gutters.  So you want to make sure any excess debris is removed from the roof. This also includes removing any thick layers of snow.  Heavy snow can cause your roof to collapse. A few years ago we had a 24” snow that caused lots of major problems here at Lake of the Ozarks.

I mentioned pruning back overhanging branches to protect against moisture gathering.  Doing this will also help keep those pesky squirrels and raccoons off your roof, too. Both of these critters can chew right through your roof shingles.  From there, they can work their way into the attic and leave holes in the roof.

Flat Roof Maintenance Tips

For those of you who have a flat roof, especially if they are of a more traditional style, they can be more easily susceptible to problems. So it is critical for you to have a maintenance plan and follow it if you want to maintain your roof’s integrity and appearance. To ensure that your roof will withstand our more extreme weather conditions you will want to be sure that you plan for regular evaluations and maintenance. Performing this routine upkeep gives a higher level of protection for your home or commercial property, as well as offering greater safety for you and your contents. So we’re recommending these tips to help keep your flat roof in good condition.

Watch for water pools appearing on your roof.

Water Ponding on Flat Roof

Flat roofs are notoriously susceptible to pooling or “ponding.” Ponding occurs on a flat roof when pools or puddles appear as your roof becomes soaked from rain or melting snow. If ponding has occurred on your roof it will have a soft or spongy feel when pressure is applied.

Whenever pooling is not recognized and addressed, it can easily lead to leaks. And we know that when leaks aren’t repaired they inevitably lead to more serious issues and can even eventually cause roof failure. This can result in a great deal of damage and loss inside your home or business.

The main restorative measure that can be taken on the off chance that you have ponding, is to establish a tiny amount of pitch.

Often the best way to do this and to address a serious or recurring ponding problem is to consider a tapered roof system. This can be accomplished by creating a slight slope or pitch to your roof by installing tapered insulation which causes the water to run off more freely. To learn more about tapered insulation watch this video.

Check your roofing material for splits, cracks, and ridges.

Always search for long splits, cracks, ridges or breaks in the surface. Gently check to determine whether your roof has extra “give” in these areas, feeling somewhat soft or spongy. An aging flat roof will naturally develop cracks eventually from freezing and thawing cycles and normal surface stress. However, if you see splitting relatively early in the life of your roof, it may be caused by poor workmanship or low-quality materials. Buckling ridges in the membrane generally occur at the joints of the insulation when moisture condenses beneath the felt. This buckling can show up as long, narrow cracks. And it is generally because the roof membrane was poorly attached during installation.

Look for flat roof blistering or alligatoring.

Blistering or Alligatoring on Flat RoofThis is an easily recognizable and identifiable problem, and unfortunately, fairly common on older flat roofs. There can be various causes for these blisters such as trapped moisture, faulty installation, or excessive heat buildup from lack of adequate ventilation. Bubbles can even develop from trapped air in the layers beneath your roof membrane. So if you find spots in your roof that are raised and are soft, then these can also provide evidence of blistering.

Inspect Your Membrane Fasteners.

Some flat roofs use fasteners and fastening plates to secure the roofing membrane to steel or wood surfaces. Be sure to check for loose fasteners. In the event that the fasteners your roofers used were a little too short (which should never happen, but unfortunately, it sometimes does), they may have become loose. Fasteners can also occasionally become loose due to water saturation. Sometimes roofers will use a single thick layer of insulation when building a low-pitch or flat-pitched roof. And while it may seem to save money to be cost-cutting during construction, thick layers of Isoboard can be prone to thermal warping. This additional stress on your fasteners.

You may need a flat roof snow removal service.

Snow Removal from Roofs and DocksHere at Lake of the Ozarks, we live in an area where on occasion we can receive heavy snowfall. At such times you will need to make certain that you don’t allow too much snow to accumulate on your flat roof. The excess weight of the snow can create enough stress to cause a roof to collapse, especially if it has already been compromised. But even a healthy roof can be in danger when there 12 inches of snow (especially a wet snow) accumulates.

When this happens you will want to remove the snow. And though you could do it yourself, we do recommend to hire a roofer who offers professional snow removal. There are too many severe injuries that occur while removing roof snow or ice. It’s much safer to hire someone who has adequate experience and expertise, as well as the right equipment to manage snow and ice removal. Please feel free to ask us about our snow removal service for homes, businesses, and docks.

What's the bottom line? Roof maintenance helps you save money.

Using these roof maintenance tips will help the longevity of your roof and will save you a lot of money in the long-run.  And that’s something homeowners are interested in.

Typically, local roofing contractors offer roof maintenance services and will provide a free inspection to let you know where problems are.  From there, you can either do the work yourself or have someone take care of it for you. And just remember, if you choose to do the roof maintenance yourself, always follow safety precautions and don’t take unnecessary risks. Stay safe!

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(573) 693-1050
2140 Bagnell Dam Blvd
Suite 303B
Lake Ozark, Missouri 65049

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