Residents in Southeastern Wisconsin occasionally must endure the random April flurry, but for the most part, come April, that snow has turned to rain. In fact, April is the month that claims, on average, the most days with precipitation in Wisconsin. One would think that with these levels of precipitation, paired with gutters filled with winter debris, repairs needed to the roof would be fairly obvious. However, little cracks and compromises can pass unnoticed and, by the time they cause attention, little fixes have turned into bigger projects.
The unforgiving Wisconsin winters can wreak havoc and cause lasting damage to any home, old or new. Water is the typical concern after the spring melt – making sure it stays out of the home. Foundations, rooflines and windows tend to be the greatest areas of concern when it comes to leaks; to cover all bases for waterproofing, top to bottom, arguably the roof is a great place to start.
One of the most common signs of a leak in the roof is water stains, either extending across the ceilings or running down the walls. Identifying the source of the leak can be tricky, as these spots may show up a fair distance from the actual leak. The easiest place to start is to look for any penetrations in the roof, the most common source of leaks, which can include plumbing and roof vents, chimneys and dormers. Homeowners with an easily accessible attic should periodically inspect the attic ceiling, looking for evidence of leaks such as black marks, mold or stains.
When it comes to seals around vents and chimneys, one would expect newly constructed luxury homes to be exempt from water seeping in, yet all it takes is a shiner (stray nail), a crack, faulty housing or seams to wreak havoc. Ice dams in the winter can be particularly damaging, with water working its way back up shingles and under the soffit, which is where good flashing on the roof becomes important. Evidence of damage caused during the winter may not show up until later; thus, spring checks are a great idea.
Regular inspections are the surest measure of protecting your home from roof leaks before they happen. The following is an easy checklist for areas to inspect and what to look for:
- Any areas on the roof where moss or lichen are growing.
- Missing or broken shingles.
- Misshapen shingles that are buckling or curling.
- Cracked or worn seals around vent pipes.
- Damaged chimney cap.
- Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.
Springtime is not only a great time to clean up the property in preparation for the warm days ahead, it’s also the perfect time to assess any damage that winter has inflicted and safeguard your dream home from future damage due to outdoor elements.