(Updated from December 2015)
We’ve been lucky so far this year in North Georgia as far as temperatures are concerned, so the leaves are taking their time changing color and falling off the trees. But don’t let this fool you! Fall is still the most important time of year for roof maintenance. Freezing temperatures could be right around the corner. If you haven’t already taken action this season, here’s what you need to know to keep your roofing system performing well throughout the winter:
Debris on your roof can cause problems
Fall is the best time to perform an inspection because debris can accumulate and result in moisture build-up that wreaks havoc on a roofing system, especially when the moisture freezes. When leaves pile up on your roof, they hold in moisture, which causes the leaves to break down. This creates soggy, heavy, debris pile-up that’s capable of clogging drains, promoting mold, and adding too much weight to your roof. The water can also back up into your roofing system, creating leaks and structural issues.
Increased loads and decaying matter on your roof surface will eventually lead to degradation. Organic debris can foster plant growth, including rooting into the covering and penetrating the system which can result in substantial cracks or leaks. Fall roof maintenance typically includes removing all debris, making sure the drainage system is working properly, and inspecting the entire surface to identify potential problems before more rain, ice or possibly snow enter the picture.
Freezing temperatures can be tough on your roofing system
In the Atlanta area, it doesn’t snow that often but when it does, it sure can mess things up — you might remember the couple inches in January 2014 that brought the city to a standstill. But just freezing temperatures alone, whether snow is involved or not, can have a big impact on your roof, regardless of the type of roof you have.
Here are a few potential problems freezing temperatures can cause, especially when combined with debris:
- Small or large leaks
- Waterflow issues
- Material degradation
- Hairline cracks along roof penetrations
- Damage to the roof covering
- Pooling of environmental or other contaminants
- Mold and mildew when temperatures rise again
These problems can lead to expensive repairs down the road, shorten your roof’s lifespan, and even impact your property value. Fall roof maintenance helps prevent them.
Completing these tasks each fall will improve roof longevity
During your fall roof maintenance, the top priorities are debris removal (of course!) plus:
- Draining system clearing
- Material Inspection
- Roof penetrations inspection
- Identifying any potential problem areas
- Minor repairs and sealing
After the inspection, your roofing professional should discuss with you any damaged coverings, cracks, missing materials, and other issues that need to be repaired before freezing temperatures will make them worse. You should also receive a list of recommended next steps and information about any items of concern that need monitoring. All recommendations should be backed up with photos and include price quotes.
A minimum of two roof maintenance inspections per year is typically recommended, with the second-most beneficial time being in the spring. On average, a commercial roofing system will experience a 25% increase in duration of life when you maintain it properly. Taking care of small problems before they become big ones is key.
At Sentry Roof, we have seen countless examples of what happens when fall roof maintenance is not made a priority — it’s one of the reasons we provide the Sentry Roof Care program. Our team is here to help you develop the annual maintenance plan that’s right for your specific property and needs, and includes fall roof maintenance, comprehensive reporting (with photos), and a three-year capital budget for planning. Please let us know if we can be of service.