Maintaining Your Roof: 7 Things You Should Never Do
For a roof system that performs well with fewer headaches, heed the following advice.
Don’t ignore leaks, ponding water, and other defects.
It’s imperative that you perform routine inspections, preventive maintenance, and timely repairs. Ignoring problems – or your roof entirely – enables minor defects to become major problems. When you have punctures, leaks, or water is still present on the roof 48-72 hours after rain, take action. Moisture severely reduces the R-value of insulation and could lead to a rusted or rotten structural deck. Water that sits on the roof for extended periods of time causes premature aging, thereby shortening your roof’s life.
Don’t DIY repairs.
To make sure the repair is done right, use a roofing contractor approved by the roof system manufacturer. If materials are used that aren’t compatible or additional damage is done, you could void the roof system manufacturer’s warranty.
Don’t work on the roof without fall protection.
Unless you’re aware of the requirements for working on the roof safely and can utilize effective safety equipment, PPE, and procedures, leave the work to the pros. Roofing professionals are aware of and understand how to comply with OSHA’s safety regulations. They will assess risks and use equipment that’s inspected and appropriate for the task.
Don’t trust the satellite installer or plumber to modify the roof.
These professionals, while well-meaning, don’t usually know roofing. Put your roofing contractor in contact with the other trade professionals working on your roof and make sure the work is performed when both parties can be present. A commercial roofing contractor will make sure new penetrations, flashing details, sleepers, curbs, etc. are installed to manufacturer specifications and don’t impede roof drainage, cause unnecessary damage, or compromise the waterproofing.
Don’t remove snow and ice from the roof yourself.
Don’t let dirt, dust, bird droppings, and leaves accumulate on the roof.
Environmental debris and ponding water provide the ideal conditions for mold, mildew, moss, and algae to grow. Seeds can sprout, their roots damaging the roof system and resulting in leaks. Sticks and leaves often find their way to drains and block water. It’s important to keep the roof and drains clear. Even acidic bird droppings can corrode roofing materials. Make regular cleaning part of your routine general preventive maintenance.
Don’t add more sealant on top of the old in your leaking pitch pan.
One of your roof’s most vulnerable features is pitch pockets (aka pitch pans). If the sealant has become concave and dried out, it needs to be removed and replaced. Simply adding more sealant over the top of the old is not a long-term solution. Once cleaned out, add new sealant and a weatherproof sheet metal rain hood to protect the sealant from the elements.