A roof is a significant investment, so it’s essential to maintain it. Regular inspections can catch problems before they turn into costly repairs.


Some preventive maintenance doesn’t even involve climbing on the roof. Some of the most important roofing maintenance involves the attic, gutters, and landscaping.

Flashing is a strip of metal that connects the roof to the house at all of the seams (around dormers, chimneys, vent pipes, etc). It’s essential for keeping water from leaking into your home. It’s important to inspect and repair the flashing regularly so that it can continue protecting your house.

When a piece of flashing becomes damaged, it needs to be replaced immediately. This can be done by carefully prying up any shingles surrounding or covering the damaged area, and then using a hammer and chisel to remove any asphalt cement that has been holding the flashing in place. Once the old flashing is removed, it should be cleaned and then a new piece of flashing should be cut to size. It’s a good idea to also add some roofing sealant over the top of the new flashing to prevent water from seeping into any cracks or crevices.

Roof flashing comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some examples include valley flashing, which is ideal for protecting a middle section between two different roof sections, cap flashing, which protects the corners of a roof, and continuous flashing, which can be used around vent pipes or other penetrations.

Over time, it’s common for flashing to loosen and become disconnected from the roof. This can happen for a number of reasons. It may be due to a poor installation by a roofer, or it can occur because of powerful storm damage. Flashing can also deteriorate and break down over time, if the caulk that holds it in place begins to crack or peel. When this happens, a leak may develop.

Inspect the Attic

When it comes to attic inspections, a professional home inspector is the best option. These professionals can identify issues that are not easily spotted by homeowners with limited attic access or on one-story, low-slope roofs. They can also help you with complicated repairs, as well as provide you with a report that can be reviewed by potential buyers and bank lenders.

In addition to looking for water damage, home inspectors will inspect the attic to ensure it is properly ventilated and insulated. Poor ventilation can lead to moisture buildup, which damages rafters and creates a hazard for mold and wood rot. Proper insulation can maintain a comfortable temperature and save on energy bills.

Home inspectors will also look for spliced wires that are not in covered junction boxes, which can be a fire hazard. They will also make sure the attic has enough insulation and that vent stacks and exhaust ducts are free of obstructions and blocked with insulation.

A good attic inspection can last up to an hour, depending on the size of the attic space and whether it is cluttered or full of stored items. It is not a job for the novice homeowner, however, as climbing ladders to reach the attic can be dangerous. Proper safety equipment, such as a respirator, is recommended. The insulation used in attics contains particulates that can be dangerous to the respiratory system and are a source of allergens. The attic should be inspected on a cool day to prevent overheating. Also, it is a good idea to have the attic inspected after rainstorms to identify leaks. Leaks should be repaired promptly to avoid mold and wood rot.

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning gutters is an important part of roof maintenance that prevents water damage to shingles and fascia. It also keeps pests away from the house and prevents the build-up of grime on the exterior of the home. Clogged gutters often overflow, causing water to spill down the sides of the house. It can damage siding, foundations and landscaping. It can also damage the roof.

Most experts recommend that homeowners clean their gutters twice a year. Ideally, this is done in late spring and fall. During these seasons, wayfaring leaves and pollen are the most likely to clog the gutters.

During this time, it is also recommended that homeowners check for signs of sagging and leaks. They should also ensure that the downspouts are unobstructed. If the downspouts are clogged, a plumber’s snake or a hose may be used to clear the obstruction. For difficult clogs, it is often more effective to use a power washer. Just be sure to work from a ladder or from the ground for safety purposes.

It is also a good idea to check for adequate ventilation in the attic and to replace any insulation that is damaged or obstructed. Proper ventilation is essential for shingle roofs, as it allows hot air to escape, preventing the build-up of heat and moisture that can cause shingle damage.

A professional should be consulted for any issues with the gutters, especially those that involve leaking or sagging. The professional will be able to inspect the structure and determine whether it needs repair or replacement. They can also install downspout diverters to help with the drainage of water away from the home. The professionals will also be able to check for any damage to the shingles, roof vents and attic ventilation.

Trim Trees and Vegetation

Trees that hang over or near your home should be trimmed regularly to prevent the accumulation of leaves and debris on top of your roof, which can damage it or cause it to rot. The trees should also be trimmed to reduce the risk of them falling on the roof during heavy storms. In addition, bushes and vegetation should be trimmed to eliminate overgrowth that can block pathways and limit air flow around your house. It is recommended to trim during the dormant season, which can reduce the risk of disease, insects and decay, and may help trees heal more efficiently in the next growing season. This is particularly important for trees that are damaged by storms or frost. Moreover, pruning during the dormant season can help trees reach their full fruiting or flowering potential.

Inspect the Interior

During a roof inspection, it’s important to look at the inside of the house as well. This helps identify water penetration and other problems that could impact the interior of the home. A professional will examine the attic, ceilings and walls for signs of moisture damage. This includes looking for stains on the ceilings and walls, as well as identifying areas of rotted sheathing.

Inspectors will also check for rust or cracks in the thin metal flashing that lines penetrations like skylights, chimneys and vent pipes. This is especially critical, as leaks from these types of penetrations can be difficult to detect. Inspectors will also look for moss growth on the roof, which can impact ventilation and lead to water intrusion.

The gutters, downspouts and drains are another area that requires careful inspection. These are the main pathways for water and debris to flow from the roof to the ground. Inspectors will look for debris or clogs that can cause flooding or water runoff, as well as sagging or rusting gutters that require repairs or replacement.

In addition, an inspector will check the condition of the eaves and fascia boards, which are the horizontal boards that run along the roof overhangs. These are vital for protecting the wood and structure of the roof from water, pests and weather. Inspectors will check for rotting, warping or cracking and make recommendations as needed.

The roof is a barrier that protects the home and family from obvious dangers such as weather events and falling tree branches, as well as less-obvious threats like excess moisture that can lead to mold and poor energy efficiency. Regular maintenance of a roof helps ensure that it continues to provide this protection and saves the homeowner money on their heating and cooling bills.