Is Your Roof Ready for Fall?

Photo: Artur Staszewski/Flickr.comThe equinox has passed. It's officially fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, and while you might be making plans for Halloween, you should also be looking up to your roof. There are some things you may need to attend to before serious weather sets in, and you don't want to leave them waiting until the last minute. 

In the summer, it's easy to forget about your roof; the days are warm and long, and things like leaks, overflowing gutters, and lost shingles feel like miles away. You might not have done a routine check and maintenance to confirm that your roof is in order, and you might regret it once rain and snow start. If your roof does develop leaks and other problems in late fall or during the winter, you'll be paying a premium to have those problems fixed, because it's more dangerous and time-consuming for roofers to handle work in the middle of bad weather!

To simplify matters, here's a handy fall roofing maintenance checklist for you to follow:

Inspect for damage. Get up on a ladder and inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles, warped flashing, and other problems that might lead to leaks, mold, and rot. If you aren't comfortable climbing around on your roof, contact someone with the experience and equipment to perform an inspection. Generally, if your house is more than one story, it's a good idea to call in a pro. Any issues with your roof should be addressed promptly, so that it will keep your home snug and toasty in the winter.

Look out for pest infestation. This is also a good opportunity to check for pests like termites that might compromise the integrity of your roof. A pest control expert can conduct an inspection and provide advice about how to proceed if a problem is found. You might need to treat your home for infestation or take some proactive measures for pest prevention.

Make sure your roof is free of moss. Not only does moss look bad, but if left untreated, it might damage your roof. The moss roots can actually lift shingles! Not only that, moss tends to trap moisture, eventually corroding asphalt shingles and rotting wood. 

Check your gutters. Make sure that your gutters are totally clean, and watch for issues like sagging, which indicate that, in the winter, they might overflow or even fall off, spilling water freely along the foundation of your home.

Ensure downspouts are in shape. They should be clean with a clear area around their outlets. Check to see where they're draining. Do your downspouts just dump water to pool around the house? Or are they routed downhill to drain into a more appropriate location? If they're directing water at a neighbor's, you should adjust them out of courtesy. Consider an alternative to letting all that water go to waste -- like a rainwater collection system to gather water for activities like gardening and washing the car.

Have your chimney assessed for the fall and winter too. A Certified Chimney Sweep® can clean it out and check for any obstructions or other problems, such as a damaged spark arrester, which might lead to a chimney fire. Your fire department will greatly appreciate your proactive maintenance, and so will you; chimney fires are extremely common in the fall and winter when people light their first fires of the season and inadvertently discover that their chimneys aren't shipshape.

Especially if you live in an area with harsh weather like Philadelphia, roofing is a pressing issue. Professional roof inspection is usually low charge or free, and comes with a report on your roof's condition and a discussion of the options. Roofers can provide information about how many years of life are likely left on your roof, and how much it might cost to make repairs or replace your entire roof. You may find it helpful to get several quotes for comparison before undertaking a major roofing job.

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

Updated November 14, 2018.

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