Canadian winters can hit you with everything from deep freezes under deceptively sunny skies, to torrential downpours in the middle of February. While it’s hard to predict how the weather will actually turn out until you’re in the thick of it, one thing you can be sure of is that your roof is going to need an inspection come spring. While you can do a basic inspection yourself with the help of a ladder and even a pair of binoculars from street-level, here are some common spring-related problems that that could warrant more than just a mere inspection if they aren’t addressed immediately.
Loose, Broken or Clogged Gutters
Gutter issues aren’t uncommon following a nasty winter. Even pretty little icicles can wreak damage that you might not notice until spring. Check to see if your gutters are loose or broken, as this can pose a hazard to people at street-level. Also make sure your gutters are clear of debris, as this can cause water to overflow. Persistently damp conditions lead to other problems, such as the growth of moss, mould and algae. Make sure
everything is clean and screwed in correctly to ensure that these problems are avoided in the future.
Moss, Mould and Algae
Damp conditions can lead to the growth of moss, mould and algae on your roof, in your gutters, and even inside your home. This is not only unsightly, but could be hazardous to your health. While you might be tempted to deal with these issues yourself, you’d be better off calling your local roofers to sort it out. Solutions like DIY power-washing can do damage to your shingles, and many off-the-shelf chemicals can stain your roof without being very useful in the long-term.
Debris and Plant Growth
With spring comes the eventual growth of plants such as trees and vines. While all that greenery can be very eye-catching, especially after a dreary winter, your home might not appreciate it as much as you do. Debris from trees such as twigs and branches can damage your shingles, and if they sit around too long, they create the perfect conditions for mould, moss and algae growth. Keep your trees in order to avoid an excess of debris, otherwise you’ll find yourself needing roof repairs before the first major thunderstorm of the season!
Damaged membranes, shingles, flashing and siding
If you notice that your roof is suffering from some slightly rougher problems than debris build-up, it might be time to give your roofing contractors a call. Damaged membranes, shingles, flashing and siding are often the result of winter’s freeze-and-thaw cycles. Not only are these issues often an eyesore, they can lead to some pretty catastrophic problems, including roof collapses in severe cases. These problems can lead to major leaks in your roof, damaging the outside and the inside of your home. If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to check your attic to make sure there aren’t any signs of moisture damage, such as leaks and water spots. If you can see cracks or light seeping through from the outside, call your home is going to need some immediate roof repairs.
You might not think to inspect your chimney from the outside, but they are just as susceptible to damage as any other outwardly-facing part of your home. Freeze-thaw cycles can damage your chimney, causing it to leak and to eventually break apart, which is why it’s important to make sure everything is in working order come spring.
Most cases of chimney damage come from not having a chimney cap, which has the sole purpose of keeping water out of your chimney. The same goes for your chimney cap, which ensures that the exposed tops of your bricks are kept safe from water damage. This is because while bricks are generally water resistant from the sides, their tops and bottoms are porous and prone to moisture damage if unprotected.
Brick chimneys also need to undergo “tuckpointing” from professional roofing contractors every 30 to 50 years or so, in order to keep the mortar in good condition. This means repairing your mortar when it is soft or partially damaged. Check for efflorescence, which is when the salts in your brick and mortar begin to leave traces on the outside of your bricks under moist conditions. Efflorescence is a sign that your bricks and mortar are susceptible to damage, if they are not already in bad shape. Soft and broken or cracked mortar joints can lead to loose bricks, which in turn means you’ll have to actually replace the bricks altogether, since tuckpointing only works if the bricks and mortar are in relatively decent condition. Total replacements and repairs can be a costly endeavour, which is why you should keep your chimney protected and in good condition throughout the year.
Animal and Pest Control
Spring brings more than just sun, rain and plants. Animals also start multiplying around this time of year, and your home might just seem like the perfect place for them to make their home. Damaged roofs are a perfect entry-way for small animals, including birds, raccoons, rats and squirrels. If you notice the pitter-patter of paws across your roof on a regular basis, animal droppings and odd noises, you probably have an animal hiding out in your roof. Call your local wildlife and pest control services to deal with the creatures, and once they’re out of the way you should have your roofing contractors come by to fix up the damage that gave animals access to your home in the first place.
While many of these common spring-related problems can seem merely irritating or ugly rather than severe, if you don’t nip them in the bud, you can be sure that your issues will multiply faster than the raccoons soon to be living in your attic. Keep your home safe by maintaining it in good condition and by scheduling biannual inspections, whether you decide to call your local roofers or prefer to the DIY route.
For more information, speak to a roofing contractor in your area. If you have any roofing questions you’d like to ask us please don’t hesitate to call us at (905) 387 3000 or contact us using the contact form on our website. We’d love to hear from you!