Today's guest blogger is Paul Jones, Project Consultant for HomeRepair by McClurg. Paul has worked in the residential construction business for 12 years. Prior to that he worked for 20 years in commercial construction. He has been with the McClurg team for over five years and specializes in small- to medium-sized home repair projects.
By Paul Jones, Project Consultant:
March 21 was the first official day of spring, but we Central New Yorkers know better. Winter can hang around here for several more weeks and yes, it can snow in May as it did last Mother’s Day.
Snow buildup on roofs, ice dams and freezing temperatures over the past few months have caused considerable damage to many homes in our area. If you’ve noticed water spots on your ceiling, it’s likely due to a leaky roof. Heavy snow loads on roofs may also be responsible for ceiling and wall cracks.
We recommend using a professional because climbing up on a roof can be dangerous and, if you do have a problem, walking on it could make things worse! If you do choose to inspect the roof yourself, choose a warm sunny day, not a hot day because you could damage to the shingles. Make sure the roof is completely dry, wear rubber-soled shoes for traction, stay clear of power lines and have someone nearby in event of an accident.
Here are the main areas of your roof that you’ll want to have checked for winter damage:
Shingles and roof tiles. Inspect your roof for damaged, curled or missing shingles or tiles. If you have a leaky roof that has caused water damage to your ceiling, check the shingles and flashing around that area for damage. If you don’t notice any damage, you’ll need to call a professional since the problem may be due to inadequate flashing or deterioration of the shingles. Ice may have caused the interior damage although you may not see signs of it on the roof. If you find curled shingles, they can be reattached with asphalt roof cement or compound in tubes used with a caulking gun. In warm weather curled shingles can be straightened out as they become softened by the heat. Apply roof cement generously to the bottom of the shingle at each corner, then press the shingle into place.
Flashing. Flashing is the metal or membrane strips that seal gaps and prevent water from seeping under shingles. Check around chimneys, vents, vent pipes and any line of roof cement where two surfaces meet. Look for breaks in the flashing. If the metal flashing is not thoroughly caulked, fill the joints with roof cement in a caulking gun. Along joints sealed with a line of roof cement, apply new cement with a putty knife to areas the look worn or cracked. Cover all questionable areas with roof cement and any exposed nail heads in the flashing.
Chimneys. Check your chimney cap for cracks or flashing problems. Also look for cracks in mortar joints and for stone or brick displacement.
Gutters. Clear all debris from gutters. You may want to use a hose or power washer to completely clear gutters and downspouts. Prune tree branches that may interfere with your gutters by depositing twigs or leaves.
Skylights. Check the security of the roofing material around your skylight and exposed fasteners to ensure tightness. Check for moisture between the glass. If you notice moisture, seals may be compromised. You may need to replace the seals and this should be done as soon as possible. Over time, moisture can freeze and refreeze to cause serious damage to the skylight and frame rot. Clean off leaves, branches and debris. Inspect for other roofing damage above the skylight. Clean the glass.
Rot. Signs of rot are brown staining on the interiors walls or ceiling of a home where water has leaked through siding or singles over a period of time. Common sites where rot can occur are “valleys” where the roof of the main house adjoins to the garage or dormers. Check the flashing in these areas for leaks. Leaks and rot will occur if the adjoining roof is not “step flashed” properly. Also check your attic for moisture and rot. Rot and mildew can cause major damage to a home if overlooked.
Did you experience damage to your home this winter?