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Roof and Gutters

A home is hardly a shelter without a roof. This covering for a home is one of the primary defenses against the elements. Rain, snow, wind, and sun are all kept out out and, in the case of rain, diverted by the gutters away from the house.

The surface of a roof is made up of shingles that may be metal, asphalt, ceramic, or another material. The structure is built on pitch to help funnel precipitation to the gutters. Water will travel along the gutters, through the downspout, and to a drain. This drainage systems helps prevent water from pooling around the base of a house and reduce erosion.

Roofs also help with the insulation of a home. In hotter regions the materials used are good at reflecting heat from the sun. For colder regions the insulation keeps heat inside the house for better energy efficiency and to prevent ice damming (i.e. commonly seen as icicles).

Roof and Gutter Maintenance Checklist

Roofs take a lot of wear and tear from the weather. The most common problems are damaged shingles, leaks, clogged gutters, and ice damming. Ice damming occurs when snow melts, runs down the roof, and gets trapped under more snow or debris. The water refreezes and can potentially damage shingles or the gutter.


  • Shingles - Use binoculars or a ladder to check for damaged shingles. Call a professional for repair if you are uneasy about climbing onto the roof. Use roof cement for loose asphalt shingles or replace them.
  • Flashing - The metal transition piece around all vents coming out of the roof is the flashing. Inspect the flashing for corrosion, deteriorated caulking, and other damage. Remove rust with a wire brush. Remove damaged caulking with a putty knife and reseal with a polyurethane caulking.
  • Insulation - Check the insulation in the attic for damage. Redispure loose-fill insulation to make sure it is even. A lack of insulation will result in heat escaping to the roof and creating ice dams.
  • Trees - Look for overhanging tree branches and trim them back.

Gutter Cleaning

  • Place a wheelbarrow or attach a bucket to the ladder to collect debris.
  • Use a ladder to reach the gutters. Wear gloves to protect your hands and start pulling out leaves, sticks and other debris from the gutters.
  • Pull out the downspout strainer and clear out the debris. Put the strainer back in place.
  • Use a garden hose to flush out the remaining pieces of debris.

Clean Moss and Algae off the Roof

For this task it is best to attach a brush to the end of pole to clean the shingles. It is safer than climbing around the roof. Do not use a pressure washer as an alternative. It can damage the roof and put water up under the shingles.

You will want to cover the plants below with plastic to protect them from the bleach. If plastic is not an option, heavily water down your plants before and after the task. The water will help to dilute the bleach.

  • Climb up the ladder with the scrub brush pole. Clean off as much moss and algae as possible.
  • Use the garden hose to clean off the remnants of the moss.
  • Mix an equal parts solution of water and bleach into a garden hose spray bottle. Spray the solution evenly on the roof. The bleach should help to kill remaining moss and prevent future growths.

References: 1 - Wikipedia

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