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Tip of the month

Summer roof tips.

Summer is a great time to check your roof for needed maintenance or repair. This is also a good time for cleaning and removing moss and leaf buildup. Extreme caution should be used if you plan to do your own roof repairs, working on a roof can be dangerous. I recommend hiring a licensed contractor. Certain roof materials should not be walked on because they can be damaged and others may just be too slippery.

The most common type of roofing material in the Northwest is asphalt/composition shingles commonly called three tab or architectural. Look for build ups of moss or debris. Debris can be swept off the roof. Moss should be killed and then swept from the roof. Chemical moss killers can be purchased (make sure they are non staining to roofs and concrete and are formulated for roof use) or powdered Tide with bleach. Power washing these roofs is not recommended.

Once the roof is clean start on the ground and look for fish mouths or arched bumps on the roofing. These are commonly caused by nails or staples that were not properly set or have worked their way loose. Left alone these will eventually work their way through the covering roof tab. To repair these simply separate the adhesive with a putty knife and hammer the nail or staple flush to the shingle surface.

The next step is to check for missing shingles on the field or ridge these can be easily replaced by separating the adhesive, removing the remaining parts of the old shingle and replacing it with a new one. Unless you have some of the original material, color match may be difficult.

Last check for exposed nails ( common in a few places on the ridge or on flashing) and any areas sealed with roof mastic. These can be repaired with roof mastic that can be purchased in caulk tubes or cans.

Flat roofs. Keep all drains free of debris, check these twice a year or more if you have trees close by. Most of these can be patched with roof mastic.

Shake roofs. Caution! Shake roofs can be extremely slippery. Power washing shake roofs is a popular method of cleaning shake roofs as it improves their appearance and makes them look new. I do not recommend this practice because it actually removes a layer of the shake making them that much thinner. Instead I recommend clearing debris from between the shakes with a screwdriver or a stiff brush. Replace any shakes that are worn through or are severely cracked.

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Discovery Inspections Inc. • Matthew Gill, President
phone: 503 806-5800 • fax: 503 233 2169 • email: mgill@discoveryinspection.com
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Last Updated: January 13, 2003