The failure to conduct a yearly maintenance inspection is probably the biggest reason for some of the damage and early roof problems that exists today. Proper maintenance of your roof, and inspections in the spring and fall will go a long way toward saving you time and money if a small leak becomes larger.
Every kind of roofing matter will deteriorate when it is exposed to the weather over a period of time, particularly if you live in areas such as I do, that are prone to high winds and hail or icy conditions. The rate at which your roof will go down hill will of course be determined by a lot of factors, including the type of roofing material that was used, its age and how much inclement weather it has seen.
Even being exposed to pollutants in the air can cause the roofing to deteriorate and the salty air such as is found on coastal climates can further create damage.
When you are inspecting your roof, don’t forget to check the flashings to make sure they are still providing a junction that is water tight between the roofing and the projections, so that water can’t leak through. These areas are the most likely to become weakened and keeping them properly maintained is one of the most important aspects of checking the roof.
In many cases the problems that are seen are created by the flashings and sometimes, just replacing them is all that it will take to make your own roof leak-free again.
The methods that your roof uses to drain include all of the drain openings, the scuppers as well as the gutters and leaders. What they are designed to do is to keep water from pooling on the roof and causing damage to it, so it is important that every aspect of this drainage system be inspect to make certain that it is functioning properly. Make sure that every part of it, including the gutters is free of debris so that nothing prevents the free flow of the drain water and it can reach the ground.
Each time that you have a very severe storm involving large amounts of ice, a tree limb or tree hitting your roof, or large hail stones, you should probably inspect the roof as soon as weather permits, however assuredly not during the storm itself.
In many cases you will need to do some minor repairs to prevent them from becoming major ones as soon as the storm has passed from the area.
When you are inspecting a roof after a severe storm use extreme caution because the storm damage may have left behind more than damage, but also a hazardous condition on the roof itself.
It is not always easy to determine the leaks source, and may take some time to pinpoint it exactly. One method that will help is to locate the point on the inside of the house and then try to find that exact point on the outside roof. The leak may not be in that exact spot where it shows inside, but will usually be upward from it if it is not.
If you cannot find the source of the leak, you will have little other recourse than to control the water damage the best way that you can by using some inside controls such as buckets and so on until you have more time and assistance in finding the leak.
In some cases, tarping the entire area and holding it on with straps can work to prevent further damage until the leak can be found and repaired.
If you can find the source of the leak, you can usually patch it using plastic roof cement which is available to you in rain path grade that can be applied to a wet surface as well as a dry one. This is only a temporary fix and a permanent one should be effected as soon as it is feasible.
Steer clear of liquid asphalt repair methods. These don’t usually do the trick and in some cases will prevent you from being able to do a good job on the permanent repairs.
When you are about to repair, first take away all loose gravel or the grains from the surface, and scrape it lightly.
Once you have prepared the surface and make sure it is as clean as possible, Apple plastic cement with a trowel making sure that it goes at least 8-12 inches outside the area where you believe the leak to be.
Make sure that it is well worked into the surface of the roof by using your trowel with a slight pressure to push it into cracks and crevices.
Another method that can be used in a real pinch, is duct tape patching, although this is most assuredly not going to stick unless your surface is completely clean and dry.
All of these methods are absolutely temporary and when the time and weather permits must be made permanent and complete to prevent further water damage from taking place.