While people usually take good care of their homes, they can often neglect one extremely important area, the roof. This part of the home needs maintenance just as much as the rest, and perhaps sometimes more.
At the beginning of 2020, the UK suffered severe storms which caused damage to a third of property at a cost of £7.7 billion. It isn’t only the UK that is prone to storms, and the damage caused to roofing can be in the millions.
Even if you are fortunate enough to live in an area with relatively mild weather, your roof will still need some maintenance at some point, and if you take care of it, it should last longer and take care of you.
- How long does a roof last?
- How can maintaining these areas help your roof?
- What are fascia, soffits, and guttering?
- What happens if you don’t maintain these areas?
- Can’t you fix these yourself?
- Clean the soffits and fascia for proper performance- here’s how to do it
- What if you have to remove mould from soffits and fascia?
- Gutters need regular cleaning. A step-by-step guide comes next!
- Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a roof last?
This is a common question for homeowners and the answer differs depending on what type of roof you have. A simple answer to how long will your roof last would be around 15 to 30 years as that is the usual life of asphalt shingles which are the most common type of roofing used.
Other types of roofs last longer but without maintaining them, they will all fail quicker.
How can maintaining these areas help your roof?
Looking after your fascias, soffits, and guttering are important in their own right, but if you hire a professional to check out these areas they may spot other problems that would have been missed.
Storms can cause cracked and lifted shingles. Pests and water can get into any holes and cause damage to your attic. Mold can grow from water damage. A professional roof contractor can check that your flashing is still correctly in place and hasn’t warped or cracked.
What are fascia, soffits, and guttering?
While nearly everyone probably knows what guttering is, fascias and soffits might be more of a mystery to some.
The fascia is the main board that holds the guttering. It is a protective trim that is installed to keep out the elements. It is effectively a separating layer from the weather and your home and they are designed to give an aesthetic finish to the roof.
However, they are not expected to outlast the roof and they can rot. Because they are there to block the weather they are also susceptible to damage from it.
These are the boards you see underneath the fascias. If you stand in your garden and look up to the guttering, you will see the soffits next to them and under the fascia boards.
They help to provide ventilation to your roof which is vital to avoid timber rot and mold. Just like fascias, they can rot and perish. If you have vinyl soffits then they may crack, and wood ones may rot. If you see any of these signs then you need to call someone in.
What happens if you don’t maintain these areas?
If you ignore fascia, soffits, and guttering repairs then you are asking for potentially serious problems. At first, ignoring these may just make your roof look unsightly but over time it will start to cause damage to your home.
Ignoring blocked or leaking gutters means that water will pour down the side of your home making the ground flooded and possibly lead to foundation damage. Gutters that are blocked with leaves and water can cause mold and damage to the fascias, and sagging guttering is a sign that it may be ready to come away from its fixings.
Fascias and soffits can rot, and in the case of soffits, if they are not maintained damage can spread further into the roof that they are protecting.
Can’t you fix these yourself?
Many people clean their gutters or try to, but when it is high up it can be a tricky job and it is easy to cause damage unintentionally. There are many DIY tips for roof repair but the experts will generally tell you that this is one area best left to professionals.
Many DIY enthusiasts have inadvertently caused more damage while on their roofs, or simply missed other problem areas that would have been spotted by a professional roofer.
When searching for a good roofer, check online for reviews and also for accreditation. In the US there is the Better Business Bureau for recommended firms and in the UK they have the National Roofing Contractors Association although recommendations might be just as good.
Keeping your roof healthy means you will be keeping your home healthy too. The roof keeps out the elements, pulls the house together and allows the things you take for granted such as heating and light. If you don’t maintain areas around your roof you might find a far more expensive job will come along after when you need to replace the whole thing.
Clean the soffits and fascia for proper performance- here’s how to do it
When it comes to soffits and fascias maintenance, cleaning them is crucial for best performance. You can do it with or without a pressure washer. Keep reading for the details.
Cleaning with a pressure washer
Soffits and fascias can be challenging to clean, but you can use a pressure washer to reduce the time and effort.
Soak the soffits and fascias with clean water and rinse away all dirt and debris. Use the low-pressure nozzle so that you don’t spray debris and dirt into the soffit vents.
Get some detergent to get better results. Fill the tank with detergent and diluted it as recommended in the instructions. Begin spraying the soffits and fascia.
Allow the detergent to soak the dirt and debris and switch the nozzle to high pressure. You have to turn the tank off and spray towards a safe place to eliminate excess detergent left in the nozzle. Spray in the same direction as you applied the detergent. Spray steadily along the soffits and fascia to have an even finish. After you’re done, go back to the low pressure and rinse the soffits and fascia for the final clean.
Clean without a pressure washer
Just because you don’t have a pressure washer doesn’t mean you cannot clean the soffits and fascia. You can use the garden hose instead.
Mix ½ cup of washing liquid/detergent with 2 gallons of warm water in a bucket. Add two tablespoons of bleach also to eliminate mildew.
Place the ladder so that you can reach both the fascia and soffit—cleaning them simultaneously saves you time and energy. Always double-check to see if the ladder is in a stable position. Use a large sponge and soak it in the cleaning solution. Scrub the fascia and soffits in the direction of your house.
Pay attention to the areas that typically collect dirt in the groves. Only clean the areas that are safe to reach.
Attach a squeeze trigger nozzle on the garden hose’s end and turn the pressure on high. Rinse the scrubbed areas until you no longer see bleach and detergent on your soffits and fascia.
Move the ladder to the next position and repeat the previous steps until you clean all soffits and fascia.
What if you have to remove mould from soffits and fascia?
You cannot leave mould on the soffits and fascia because it can make them rot. Additionally, it doesn’t look good and can cause roof rotting.
Mix three parts bleach and one part warm water per gallon in a bucket. You can use one bucket of this mixture for 30 to 50 sq. ft.
Place the ladder in a stable position so that you can reach both the soffits and fascia. Dip a stiff brush into the bleach solution and firmly scrub the areas with mould.
Move the ladder to the next area and repeat the cleaning steps. Make sure to disinfect all areas with mould.
Let the soffit and fascia dry.
Examine the disinfected areas after a week. If you still find mould, go over the disinfected process once again.
Gutters need regular cleaning. A step-by-step guide comes next!
Clean gutters are essential for your roof’s condition. Here are the steps to do it efficiently
Put on the proper clothes: a long-sleeved shirt, rubber gloves, and work pants. Cleaning gutters will get messy.
Always place the ladder on a sturdy surface and use a ladder stabilizer to improve safety and reduce the risk of damaging the gutters. We recommend you have someone help you if you drop something or simply need someone to hold the ladder.
Use a small, plastic scoop to remove the gunk from your gutters. You can buy gutter scoops in hardware stores or use an old plastic kitchen spatula instead. If that’s too much work for you, you can purchase and use a gutter cleaning robot!
Place a tarp underneath the workspace to collect the gunk; it will also protect the lawn and landscaping and reduce the amount of cleaning afterward.
Remove debris from the gutters and flush them with a garden hose. Make sure to get rid of all remaining residue. If you have leaks, you will notice when using the hose.
Repair sagging metal after cleaning the gutters. Install a gutter hanger so that your work is more accessible.
Prepare the gutters for winter
Gutters require cleaning at least once a year, and you should check them from time to time to see if they need cleaning. Additionally, you need to winterize the gutters. Here’s how to do it right:
Prevent leaves from getting into the gutters
The gutters are narrow that are prone to clogging. Sometimes, it only takes several leaves to clog the gutters. Enlarge the downspouts to make sure that the leaves so that don’t move throughout the system.
Remove leaves and debris
During fall months, leaves and debris collect into open spaces, such as gutters. If you don’t remove them before winter, they can cause dams to form on your roof.
Inspect the gutters for damage
When you clean the gutters, you can also examine them for damage—the winter can be harsh and extremely cold. Look for rust spots, sagging joints, and sturdiness of the joints. If any of these present issues, you should call the roofers for gutter repairs.
De-ice your gutters to prevent ice dams
You also need to protect the gutters from ice, as ice dams can ruin the roof. Once ide Dems form over the gutters, water will no longer flow properly. Instead, it will flow inside the ceiling and walls and cause damage to your house. Call the professionals to set up de-ice cabling that reduces the risk of ice forming on the roof and gutters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can gutters make fascia rot?
Inefficient gutter makes for the no.1 cause of fascia board rotting. An old, leaky, and incorrectly aligned gutter can make excess moisture go back into the fascia, which leads to rot after some time.
Should you replace the gutters or the roof first?
The most affordable option for roofing issues is installing new guttering while you also replace the roof. Roof replacement offers impressive access to guttering. It will make gutter replacement effortless and fast.
Is it possible to replace the roof and keep the gutters?
If the gutters are in good condition and don’t need replacement, you can replace the roof without removing the gutters. However, how the roof is installed affects the decision to replace/keeping the gutters. Either way, reliable roofers will know how to replace the roof without damaging the gutters.
Do your soffits need replacement?
There are many signs that soffits require replacement, with little to no ventilation in your home like one. If so, it means that the soffits and fascia are damaged or blocked. In case of damage, you shouldn’t postpone replacing the soffits and fascia.
How often should you clean the gutters?
In general terms, you need to clean the gutters at least twice a year. The foliage you have close to your house (pine trees, for instance) will affect the frequency of gutter cleaning. For example, if you have pine trees, you will have to clean the gutters every three months.