4 Maintenance Tips for Your Roof
Article revised on 21 January 2019
Severe weather events have continued to increase in frequency over the past few years, contributing to the increasing number of home insurance claims, particularly those concerning roof damage. Did you know that doing maintenance on your roof can reduce the risk of damage and extend the life of its covering? Here are some tips!
1. Keep an eye on your roof and have it cleared of snow when necessary
Generally, your roof should be able to handle the accumulation of snow during a “normal” winter. But you should remain vigilant throughout the winter:
- Check your attic and plumbing vents regularly to make sure they are clear of snow.
- When the temperature is milder, check to see if the water runs normally through the gutter or the drain (straight roof) and that it’s not accumulating on the roof.
- In the event of freezing rain or heavy accumulations of snow, pay special attention to the following signs, which could indicate that there is too much snow on your roof and that it needs to be removed as soon as possible to avoid a collapse:
- Your roof starts cracking
- The ceiling looks to be drooping
- Cracks appear on the interior walls
- The doors become harder to open and close
Your roof needs to be cleared of snow? Call a professional!
Clearing a roof of snow entails many risks: falls, injuries to passersby, damage to your roof surface or electrocution. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) recommend calling on a specialist who employs the right techniques and has the appropriate equipment and insurance coverage to carry out the work safely.
If you spot a potential problem and your roof surface is still guaranteed, contact the roofers who did the work. Verify what the guarantee covers and ask them what you should do to avoid disqualifying the guarantee.
Most asphalt shingle manufacturers guarantee their products for 20 to 40 years. But these guarantees are often limited. Usually, they only cover the shingle’s manufacturing defects, and when there is a change of home ownership, the new owners are not covered.
Decided to clear the snow off your roof yourself?
- Remain on the ground and use a roof rake with a telescopic handle.
- Set up a no-go zone to ensure the safety of others.
- Always leave a layer of snow to avoid damaging the roof’s waterproof membrane.
- Make sure your attic plumbing and vents are cleared completely.
2. Inspect your roof in the spring and fall and promptly have any necessary repairs done
This may spare you water seepage through the roof and an home insurance claim! Keep an eye on:
- Soffits: Located under the roof overhang, soffits provide good ventilation for the attic. To avoid humidity developing and extend the life of your roof covering, walk around your home to ensure the soffits aren’t obstructed and are allowing air to enter.
- Flashings and joint sealings: If the flashings and joint sealings are in good condition, you will avoid water seepage around plumbing and chimney vents. If they are damaged or missing, have them replaced or redone right away.
- Insulation of drainage pipes: To avoid condensation, check that these pipes, situated in the attic, are well insulated.
- Shingles: Be sure to check all roof surfaces since shingles wear out at different rates depending on exposure to sun and wind.
- If shingles are wavy, crumbling or loose due to wind, it might be time to redo the roof covering. Have your roof inspected by an expert immediately.
- If you notice black stains or moss on the shingles, or if the shingles are warped, have your roof inspected by an expert immediately. These are signs of humidity that you shouldn’t ignore. They often indicate there is a problem of insufficient attic ventilation.
- Nails: Hammer down any nails that are not hammered in all the way to reduce premature damage.
- Gutters: Take out all debris and dead leaves from your gutters to prevent blockage that could cause water seepage through the roof.
3. If your roof is over 20 years old, have it inspected
The IBC recommends you have your it inspected by a professional.
4. Notify your insurer if you replace your roof covering
Your premium may be reduced, since this would reduce the risk of water damage.
For more information:
Régie du bâtiment Québec Removing snow and de-icing
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