Finally, the snow and ice have melted, and spring has sprung. However, along with the beautiful weather comes the risk of some pretty severe issues regarding roofing. Between potential flooding and post-winter damage, you should look out for various structural concerns at your rental properties.
Here are the most common roofing problems you’ll encounter in the spring and how you can deal with them.
1. Misaligned Shingles
Roofs are built to last anywhere from 15 to 50 years, which means they can withstand almost anything you throw at them. However, they still need maintenance, especially after harsh winters. There are even times when you’ll need to replace certain materials.
That’s mostly true for shingles, which often curl, warp, and crack after chilly temperatures. When you first take a look at your property’s roof come spring, you should keep an eye out for potential shingle issues. It helps to clean your gutters since that angle gives you a closer view.
If you do notice damaged or missing shingles, you should fix them ASAP.
2. Blocked or Broken Gutters
Many people don’t bother to clean their gutters during the winter, new renters who are not used to home maintenance can be especially likely to forget this vital maintenance task. Landlords and property managers should ensure that the job gets done. Cold weather can have detrimental effects on drainage systems. Elements like ice buildup can weigh them down, which eventually causes them to crack and break.
Why should you fix a blocked or broken gutter? It may not seem like a big deal at first — but over time, roofs can endure significant damage from water and debris.
- Roof leaks: If your gutters can’t drain, they’ll cause moisture damage where they’re attached to the roof, which in turn leads to leaks inside and outside the home.
- Foundation damage: There are many ways for water to pool around a house’s foundation when there’s no direct route toward a different location.
- Mold: With excess water comes mold that leads to erosion — and even worse, health issues.
It’s usually pretty straightforward to clean gutters and drains, but you may need to hire an expert to fully replace the system. That depends on how much damage occurred during the winter. Either way, your best bet will be to practice maintenance throughout the year to avoid potential roofing issues.
3. Worn Membranes
Layers underneath your roof’s shingles or tiles, called the membrane, can erode due to changing temperatures and increased moisture. This part of the roof works to keep out water in the first place. If your property’s membrane has become worn down, you’ll likely experience damage during the spring from rainy weather.
Be sure to look out for leaks inside the house. If you or your tenants spot excess moisture, you should have a professional evaluate the roof’s condition, as that’s not a project you should attempt yourself. This way, you’ll know precisely why leaks are happening. It’s best to act quickly so you can avoid mold growth.
4. Chimney Damage
Your chimney likely takes a beating during the winter. If you have a particularly old property, it may have cracks and crevices that can make the situation worse. After a snowstorm, water can seep into the openings. That moisture will eventually become solid again as temperatures drop, causing the chimney’s structure to change.
This process can be trouble for your chimney and roof as a whole. The structure could crumble, which may also lead to roof damage in that area. Be sure to properly care for the chimney so you can deal with as few issues as possible come springtime.
5. Nesting Animals
When the cold weather arrives around November and December, you’ll see less wildlife activity outside. That’s because most animals seek warmer environments during the winter — and homes serve as the perfect locations. If you see openings in the roofing or siding, you could find that some wild critters have made their way in.
If you have tenants, ask them to keep an eye and ear out for signs that point to an infestation. These hints include strange noises, animal droppings, and pest sightings. There may also be issues with insects like ants and termites, which resurface in the spring and can cause further damage.
After you remove the pests from the property, you have to determine how they were able to get inside. That’s usually due to structural issues, which need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you’ll continue to have the same problems.
How to Keep Your Roof Protected
Keep in mind that some roof damage will be inevitable. It’s impossible to predict how things will look when spring arrives, especially after particularly harsh winters. However, you can take steps to ensure your roof stays structurally sound against common problems.
Aside from gutter maintenance, you should also remove debris from your roof entirely. Don’t let sticks, leaves, or twigs build up on the surface. Do this before fall ends. This effort will eliminate the possibility of objects being blown around by the wind, which inevitably causes damage.
Additionally, you should seal gaps and cracks as soon as they come to your attention. Fall tends to be a great time to fix these things so you can avoid moisture accumulation in the following months. This step prevents pest infestations, as well.
Try not to just focus on your roof, either. Conduct proper yard maintenance to ensure you eliminate all potential causes of roof damage. For example, you should trim surrounding trees to avoid falling branches. If you make lawn care a priority for every property, you’ll have a beautiful outdoor space and can also prevent structural problems.
Avoid Roof Problems This Spring
Don’t let roofing problems get in the way of enjoying spring. You should address them as soon as they arise so you can prevent further issues. After all, no one wants to be on top of a hot roof on a steamy summer day.
During the rest of the year, be sure to use the tips listed above to keep your roof strong and secure. Then, you won’t have so many headaches when the warm weather arrives.