Inspecting Your Roof
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends you do a roof inspection at least twice a year -- spring and fall. In order to do your own inspection, you need to grab your flashlight and head to your attic.
Here are four things to look for on the inside:
1) Places where the roof deck is sagging
2) Signs of water damage or leaking
3) Dark spots
4) Seeing outside light through the roof.
Here are six things to look for on the outside:
1) Visually inspect your roof for cracked, torn, bald, or missing shingles.
2) Scan the roof for loose material or wear around chimneys, vents, pipes or other penetrations.
3) Watch out for a lot of shingle granules in the gutters -- it can look like sand.
4) Check for signs of moisture, rot or mold. Please remember that mold, fungi and bacteria can grow quickly -- within 24 to 48 hours of a water-related problem.
5) Make sure gutters and downspouts are securely attached, are all open and allow water to exit, and are free of debris.
6) Check that all bath, kitchen, and dryer vents go entirely outside of your home, not just into the attic space.
What could happen because of an ice dam?
Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. When that happens, the results aren't pretty: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
To prevent an ice dam, don't heat the roof, keep it cold. That way, the snow on the roof eventually melts without making large amounts of water at once. The underside of the roof deck should not exceed 30 F. The best way to maintain low temperatures include: adequate insulation and sealing gaps that let warm air pass into the attic from the house. The attic must also be ventilated, so that cold air is introduced into it and heated air escapes rapidly.
What to do if you get an ice dam
No matter what don’t… Hack away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel! This type of action can be bad for your roof. Throwing salt on them will also do MORE HARM to your roof than the ice.
How to manage the ice dam:
•Blow in cold air: Take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is currently leaking. This cold air will help freeze the water.
•Rake it: Pull off snow with a long-handled aluminum roof rake, while you stand safely on the ground. A rake with wheels won't harm the roofing.
How to manage the shadow lines:
Homes with ice dams on the roof also often get parallel lines of moisture on the ceiling. The dark lines in the ceiling are called shadow lines. Over time, this moisture traps dust and results in mildew growth, which shows up as shadow lines. How do I address the shadow lines? First, clean off the mildew with a solution of 1 quart of bleach and 3 quarts of warm water. Rinse the surface with clear water, then let it dry. If the surface has been stained from the mildew or is otherwise discolored, it will need to be painted. Apply a stain-blocking primer before applying a topcoat.
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