Why is seasonal roof maintenance so important?
For the same reason you perform seasonal maintenance on your car. You need your car and your roof roof to perform day in and day out without fail.(If you happen to be cyclist I’m speaking to you as well.You’ll still need to maintain your bike.) The only difference is we are continually reminded to change the oil and fluids in our cars or change our tires for a change in seasons . Who reminds us to prepare our roofs for a change in seasons? The Canadian Roofsmith
When I speak of your roof I do not simply include what is covering your roof area and related flashing details but I include your roof drainage system and your attic ventilation as well. These are all components of the roof and each one needs to be addressed to ensure the system is functioning well as an integrated whole.
You may not think of having your eaves troughs cleaned and running freely as seasonal roof maintenance but it is. Clogged eaves troughs can keep water at the leading edge of the roof. When water and debris sit high in the gutter the roofing underlay that extend past the roof edge into the troughs can absorb moisture and wick it back up the roof. Over time this can lead to rotting fascia boards and rotting roof decking at the very bottom edge. This will lead to additional costs when it comes time to replace your roof system.
Another problem that arises when gutters are full and not draining properly is they become heavy. This additional weight can pull troughs away from the house causing the water to run behind them. It can also pull the gutters in directions that lead to even worse drainage and more standing water.In the Spring this standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
In the Fall and Winter it can lead to even worse ice damming when trapped water freezes and gets pushed back up the roof under the roof covering only to leak into the home when it thaws. Therefore, keeping your gutters clean and flowing freely is an important part of your seasonal roof maintenance.
A great way to make this part of maintaining your roof easier is to have The Canadian Roofsmith install a gutter guard such as this to keep debris from filling up the gutters.This makes cleanup so much easier and also allows water to pass through the debris into the gutter and still drain.
If the roof system is a low slope or flat roof system and there are no eaves troughs there will still be drains for the accumulated water to leave the roof. In this case an actual drain will need to be kept clean of debris by have strainers installed at the drain to catch debris that will flow toward it eventually clogging up the system. These strainers should be checked regularly to ensure positive water run off.
The Best Time To Perform Seasonal Roof Maintenance
So when is the best time to perform roof maintenance? Well it certainly isn’t the winter time or during your wet season. You need everything ship shape long before then. The Spring and the Fall are the best two seasons for this.The reason for this is in the Spring time your roof has just come through some windy,rainy conditions or some freeze/ cycles and you need to see how it has been affected by these elements.
As we roll into later Fall your roof will have had a lot of UV exposure not to mention summer storms. I’m not saying that roof maintenance cannot be performed in the summer time but it certainly isn’t the best time.I do not mind removing moss from roofs at this time of year however as the moss is very dry and will absorb the maximum amount of wash solution.One still needs to be careful when some roof systems are warm as damage can be done products that have granular surfaces.When these products are hot the granular surfaces tend to be easy to damage and traffic on the roof will cause such damage. The cooler temperatures of Spring and Fall make for ideal maintenance conditions.
What do you want to inspect when it comes to maintaining your roof system?
Previously we mentioned making sure your eaves troughs or drainage systems are always clean to prevent water backing up into the roof system. Let’s now take a look at some of the other components that make up your roof system and what can be done to keep them functioning optimally. There are similar components to both residential and commercial roofs. The main difference between these roofs is that more residential roofs are sloped and more commercial roofs are flat or low sloped.
A good place to start regardless of the type of roof or system installed is to inspect any penetration coming through the roof. These penetrations will be in the form of and not limited to:
- Plumbing vent pipes
- Roof/attic exhaust vents
- AC Units
- Electrical Masts
- Drains and Scuppers
- Roof/Wall Terminations
- Intersecting Roof Planes
A Plumbing Vent flashing will be a lead or aluminum flashing surrounding a pipe coming through the roof. These flashings can also be made from system compatible components such as rubber or thermoplastics in the case of EPDM or TPO Roofs. These flashings need to sealed properly at the roof level and at the top of the pipe. The best way to ensure a proper seal at the top of the pipe is simply to install a cap the same diameter as the pipe.
At the roof deck level,ensure the flashing is properly woven into the courses of the roof by making sure there are no overexposed rows that exceed the maximum exposure allowed by the manufacturer’s specifications.Ensure at least a “1/4 flow channel between the flashing and roof covering to prevent debris buildup and possible damming that could lead to water travelling under the roof system.
On a sheet metal roof system the flashing will be installed directly on the panel with a flashing embedded in sealant and screwed tight to the roof.Ensure continuous visible bead of sealant around the flashing on the panel as well as the proper number of fasteners distributed equally all around the base of the flashing. Ensure all fasteners are tight and not backing out of the roof deck and that they are sealed with a neoprene washer.
In the case of low slope and flat roof membrane systems, cap pipes as in previous section but at the roof deck level inspect the seals where membranes meet the vent and make sure the material is tight to the pipe with no lifting or breaching of the seal. Look for looseness of seal and possible bubbles that may look like water or air is trapped near the seal. In the case of breached seals,loosen the affected area arround the pipe making sure to release any trapped air or moisture.Remove any old sealants and re-seal with method particular to system.
- SBS will be sealed with a torch weld and compatible sealants
- TPO and PVC with hot air and compatible sealants
- EPDM with un-reinforced membrane and compatible sealnts
A Roof/Attic Exhaust Vent will be treated the same way as a plumbing vent pipe except it will not require a cap on top of it.