Roof Maintenance: Stay Dry

Roofs need regular maintenance

Most people don’t think about a building’s roof until it leaks. By that time, it could be too late to avoid major water damage (and expensive repairs). When a roof leaks, water can damage not only walls and floors, but also mechanical and electrical systems.

By periodically inspecting and repairing your church’s roof, you can prevent hours of trouble. Here are some general maintenance tips (ask your contractor for tips on your specific roof type).

Inspect roof.  Have a qualified professional inspect your entire roof regularly to make sure that the roof surface, flashings, caulking, and sealants are watertight. Pay special attention to places where chimneys, pipes, and other items protrude.

If problems are found, repair them quickly. You may be tempted to ignore small problems until the church has more money, but they can grow quickly and lead to other issues. Then, they’ll be much more costly to fix.

Clean gutters, drains. Clogged gutters, downspouts, and drains can trap water or snow on the roof. If the weight of accumulated water, ice, or snow grows too heavy, your roof could fail.

Ventilate, insulate attics. Warm attics can lead to ice dams on sloped roofs. Ice dams form when heat rising from your building melts snow on the roof, and the snow runs down to the cooler edges of the roof and refreezes. Eventually, the ice buildup prevents water from draining off. This may force water under the roof covering and into your attic or building. To decrease the likelihood of ice dams, insulate the attic floor well and ventilate the space to keep it cool.

Remove debris. Debris tends to hold water, which expedites roof deterioration. Look for leaves, branches, and other material that has gathered behind HVAC units, pipes, skylights, and other objects on the roof.

Trim trees. Trim back any overhanging tree branches. This will reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep gutters and drains clear, and decrease the risk of limbs falling on your building.