As the winter chill subsides, it’s time to perform essential spring roof maintenance to safeguard your residential roofing from water damage and protect your home. Cleaning gutters, inspecting roof shingles for wear, and scheduling a professional roof inspection are crucial steps for thorough spring roof maintenance.
Identifying and addressing issues like damaged flashing, missing roof shingles, or clogged drains can prevent costly roof repair services and extend the lifespan of your roof through proper waterproofing. Conduct a comprehensive roof cleaning, clear debris, and trim overhanging branches to maintain your roof’s integrity this spring.

Gutter Cleaning and Inspection

To begin your gutter cleaning and inspection, gather the necessary tools like gloves, a sturdy ladder, and buckets for debris collection. Start by visually inspecting the gutters from ground level, checking for any issues with the slope or alignment that could impede proper water flow.

  • Remove debris from the gutters by hand-picking leaves and pine needles, then use a garden hose to flush out any remaining dirt and debris.
  • Ensure good drainage by checking that each downspout terminates at an elbow, and install splash blocks if there is erosion under the downspouts.
  • Inspect for standing water in the gutters, which could indicate the slope is not steep enough (1/16-inch per foot or 1/4-inch per 5-10 feet is recommended) and the hangers/spikes may need to be re-secured.
  • Examine the gutter aprons for any gaps between the gutters and the structure they are attached to.
Gutter Inspection ChecklistDescription
Slope and AlignmentCheck for proper slope and alignment to allow water flow.
Debris BuildupRemove leaves, pine needles, and other debris manually or by flushing.
Downspout DrainageEnsure downspouts terminate properly and install splash blocks if needed.
Standing WaterIdentify areas with standing water, indicating improper slope.
Gutter ApronsInspect for gaps between gutters and the structure.
Gutter ConditionCheck for rust, dents, cracks, or separation from the roof.
Hangers/SpikesReplace any loose hangers or spikes securing the gutters.
Gutter SeamsExamine seams for leaks and apply new sealant if needed.

Considering hiring a professional gutter cleaning and inspection service can be beneficial, as they have the expertise and tools to thoroughly inspect and maintain the gutter system. Inspecting gutters at least twice a year, in early spring and late fall, is recommended.

Shingle and Flashing Examination

After inspecting the gutters, the next crucial step is to examine the roof shingles and flashing for any signs of damage or wear. Flashing, a thin metal material installed at roof intersections, plays a vital role in preventing moisture intrusion as per the International Residential Code (IRC). Here’s what you need to look for:

  • Kickout Flashing: This specialized flashing is installed where the roof eaves meet a wall, diverting water away from the wall. It works in tandem with step flashing, which keeps water from entering the walls.
  • Step Flashing Installation: Step flashing should extend at least 4 inches up the wall and 4 inches along the roof deck, overlapping the housewrap or weather-resistive barrier. For homes with rigid foam insulation, the kickout flashing should be installed first, followed by subsequent flashing and shingles. For wood sheathing, the kickout flashing should be installed first, with the housewrap installed over it.
  • Flashing Condition: Inspect the flashing around chimneys, vents, and skylights for gaps, rust, or deterioration. Corrosion-resistant flashing should be used, installed in an overlapped, shingle-like fashion.
Flashing Inspection ChecklistDescription
Step FlashingCheck for proper installation at wall and roof intersections.
Kickout FlashingEnsure it directs water into gutters and is properly integrated.
Boot/Collar FlashingInspect flashing around roof penetrations for gaps or damage.
Housewrap IntegrationVerify flashing is properly integrated with housewrap and siding.

As for the roof shingles themselves, start by identifying the type of material, which in this case is asphalt composition shingles. Inspect the following:

  • Roof vents, visible flashings, and signs of active leaks
  • Drip edge flashing, step/sidewall flashings (should terminate within 3/4 inch of shingle bottom)
  • Hail damage, ensuring nail heads are properly cocked
  • Roof penetrations like plumbing vent stacks (check rubber flashing condition)
  • Signs of roof waving or crowning, indicating moisture damage to sheathing

Begin with a ground-level inspection using binoculars if needed, looking for missing, cracked, or curling shingles, debris accumulation, and damaged flashing. Then, carefully climb onto the roof to inspect the surface up close, checking for damaged shingles, wear around penetrations, loose flashing, and moss/algae/fungal growth. If the DIY inspection reveals more advanced issues like cracked/rusted flashings, crumbling chimney mortar, sunken roof spots, or multiple damaged/missing shingles, it’s best to call a professional roofer.

Ventilation and Insulation Check

You should verify that the roof vents, such as ridge vents, meet the required ventilation standards based on the presence or absence of a vapor barrier in the attic. Inspect the roof ventilation points to ensure they are not obstructed, as proper ventilation is crucial. From inside the home, inspect the attic or upper floors for signs of water intrusion, such as water stains, damp insulation, or mold/mildew.

Proper attic ventilation is important to prolong the life of your roof, prevent moisture damage, and improve energy efficiency and home comfort. Here are some tips for checking your attic ventilation:

  • Smoke Test: Shut all windows, turn off mechanical ventilation, and observe how smoke moves in the attic. If it blows in some places and out through vents in others, ventilation is working well. If smoke doesn’t move outward, soffit vents may need cleaning.
  • Vent Types: Attic vents come in two main types – intake (soffit) vents that pull in cool air, and exhaust (roof) vents that remove hot air. Both are needed for proper airflow.
  • Soffit Baffle Check: Look for wide open daylight at the bottom of soffit openings, indicating soffit baffles are functioning to allow intake ventilation.
  • Ventilation Openings: Check for the presence and adequate size/number of ventilation openings like soffit vents, ridge vents, gable vents, or turbine vents (at least 1 sq ft per 150 sq ft of attic space).
Signs of Poor VentilationPotential Issues
Excessive heat, condensation, musty odors, mold/mildew in atticAir quality issues, moisture buildup
Deterioration of roofing materials, ice damsReduced roof life, water damage
HVAC system working harder and less efficientlyHigher energy bills

If you notice any signs of inadequate ventilation, consult a roofing professional for a thorough inspection and to discuss solutions like installing new vents, improving insulation, or making specific repairs.

Scheduling Professional Inspection

If you encounter extensive roof damage, widespread leaks, or structural concerns, it’s best to consult experienced roofers. Document any issues found with notes and photos for repair estimates or insurance claims.

You should get an annual check-up of your home’s roof and exterior – roof inspections should be done at least annually to ensure the roof is in good health. Here are some key times when scheduling a professional roof inspection is recommended:

  • If you’ve never had an inspection of your current home – If you’ve lived in your home for over a year and never had a professional inspection, it’s time to schedule one.
  • When buying or selling a home – Get a full roof inspection before selling to identify any necessary repairs and provide documentation to buyers. Buyers should also get an inspection after moving in.
  • After a big storm – Hail, high winds, and other severe weather can cause roof damage, so an inspection is needed after such events.
  • If you notice any roof damage – Don’t wait if you see missing shingles, dents, or other visible damage, as it could indicate a larger problem. Call a professional for an inspection.
Inspection TypeDescription
Physical EvaluationA hands-on inspection of the roof surface, flashings, and penetrations.
Drone InspectionAerial footage provides a comprehensive view of the entire roof.

Roof inspections are typically free with reputable roofing contractors, and the data collected can be used for insurance claims, home appraisals, and future reference. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends inspecting your roof at least twice a year – in the fall and spring when the weather is milder.

Regular inspections can help prevent minor roof repair needs from turning into major problems that can cause leaks and interior damage. Many roofing product warranties and insurance companies require professional roof inspections, as professional roofers can spot problems a homeowner may miss.


What Does Proper Roof Maintenance Involve?

To maintain your roof properly, it’s crucial to remove any debris, especially around roof openings where accumulation is common. This step ensures that water can drain off the roof efficiently, preventing potential leaks and other issues.

How Can I Ensure My Roof is Prepared for Spring?

To get your roof ready for spring, conduct a thorough inspection for visible storm damage. Look for signs like curled or missing shingles, distorted flashing, or significant dents on the shingles. These could indicate serious problems that need immediate attention.

What Are the Best Practices to Prepare Roofs and Gutters for Winter Storms?

To minimize damage during storm season, follow these 10 tips:

  1. Get a professional inspection.
  2. Clean gutters and downspouts.
  3. Remove debris from the roof.
  4. Trim nearby trees.
  5. Check large trees for age and weakness.
  6. Take measures to prevent ice dams.
  7. Have tarps on hand for emergencies.
  8. Secure or store items around your house that could become projectiles.

How Should I Prepare My Roof for the Fall Season?

Getting your roof ready for fall involves several steps:

  1. Clear away any debris.
  2. Inspect and, if necessary, repair your flashing and sealant.
  3. Ensure your gutters are clean and unobstructed.
  4. Examine your shingles for damage.
  5. Check your attic or ceilings for signs of leaks or damage.
  6. Schedule a professional roof inspection.
  7. Arrange for any necessary maintenance.
  8. Regularly monitor your roof’s condition throughout the season.


[1] –

[2] –

[3] –

[4] –

[5] –

[6] –

[7] –

[8] –

[9] –

[10] –

[11] –

[12] –

[13] –

[14] –

[15] –

[16] –

[17] –

[18] –