Saturday, April 18, 2009

Colorado Spring Storms - a bonus for home maintenance!

It might seem counter-intuitive that bad weather is good for home maintenance but it provides a wonderful opportunity to check out the most important parts of a home to be sure they are in tip top shape. I’m referring to roof, gutters and downspouts.

Weather like Colorado has had in the past couple of days, wet, heavy snow is ideal for doing an inspection of roof, gutters and downspouts. Once the snow starts to melt follow these simple steps to gain peace of mind or the information needed stop a small problem from turning into a big one.

Inspect the roof from the inside
What’s needed: Step ladder, Flashlight, Digital Camera

1. Look into the attic. Closely inspect around vents, pipes and chimneys – anything that protrudes through the roof. If there are any signs of moisture it means there is a leak. Signs of moisture are: material (wood, insulation, etc.) which is damp to the touch; rust marks on metal vent pipes; staining on wood or insulation.

2. Take pictures of everything, whether there is an indication of moisture or not. This will provide a photographic record to track and monitor any future changes.
If evidence of moisture exists plan to either get up on the roof or to contact a qualified roofing contractor to make the necessary repairs.

Inspect your gutters and downspouts.
What’s needed: Digital Camera, Binoculars

1. When the snow starts to melt take the time to walk around the house and look for any signs of problems.

2. Inspect the gutters – gutters are intended to gather the water running off of the roof and direct it to the downspouts.

Look for any leaks, focusing on seams, corners and transitions.

Look for any water running over the front edge, which may indicate a couple things: If the gutters are clogged with debris it will prevent the water from reaching the downspouts and it’s time to clean them: If the gutters were improperly installed or are damaged the water can pool in low spots and spill over the edge. All gutters should be installed to slope towards the downspouts.

Look for any water dripping behind the gutters, which can mean several things; a problem with the flashing (the transition between a roof and the gutters): A problem with the brackets that attach the gutters to the house. Damaged brackets allow the gutters to pull away from the roof and the flashing; other damage to the gutters such as holes or cracks that may not be visible from the ground.

3. Inspect the downspouts - downspouts are intended to direct the water, running through the gutters, off of the roof and away from the foundation.

Look for any damage such as holes, cracks or sections that have become disengaged. These should be repaired.

Look for damaged extensions. Crushed, broken or disengaged.

It is recommended that the downspouts extend 4 to 6 feet away from the house but if the landscaping is negative (sloped towards the house) they may need to be extended even further.

Check underground drainage pipes. Check that the downspouts are directing the water into the pipes and that the water is not backing up because of clogs.

4. Take pictures of any perceived problems to provide visual reminders for yourself or your contractor to make the necessary repairs.

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